Protecting Students with a Cybersafety Plan

A vast majority of teens are online on a daily basis with most of them using their mobile phones or tablets to access the Internet. Combine this with schools pushing out one-to-one initiatives at a rapid pace. It is no wonder cyberbullying and sexting are most often done through mobile technology with this amount of mobile technology in the hands of teens. While most cybersafety incidents happen outside of school, they often start in school. This means school districts and their schools need to create cybersafety programs to counter these threats to the learning process. 

For a cybersafety program to be effective a school districts must:

  • Survey students yearly using an instrument such as Hinduja & Patchin's Cyberbullying &Online Aggression Survey (2009). 
  • Select programs for individual schools based on data from the cybersafety surveys and input from the students it is supposed to help.
  • Provide professional development for faculty and staff on implementing cybersafety education programs.
  • Adequate budgeting for cybersafety programs.
  • Provide necessary materials to schools.
  • Provide instruction to parents on research-based methods on keeping their children safe online.
  • Appoint a cybersafety coordinator to assist schools with developing cybersafety education programs, develop appropriate consequences for cybersafety violations, train staff involved in cybersafety programs, research the latest trends in cybersafety issues, works with parents, law enforcement, and the media on cybersafety issues.

Schools should do the following for cybersafety effectiveness:

  • Insert cybersafety instruction into the most appropriate courses all students are mandated to participate in. Not all students may take technology courses every year.
  • Create a school cybersafety response team consisting of an administrator and guidance counselor specially trained to handle cybersafety incidents.
  • Ensure all faculty and staff understand how to handle cybersafety incidents and properly report them to the cybersafety response team.
  • Provide an annual presentation to parents and the community on cybersafety concerns based on survey data, explain the dangers of cybersafety violations, explain school cybersafety initiatives, and explain what can be done to promote cybersafety in the home.

If school districts and schools fail to develop comprehensive cybersafety plans they run the risk of having the education process disrupted due to fallout from cybersafety incidents. These incidents could also expose school districts and schools to legal accountability if the school does not adequately respond to cybersafety incidents. Finally, schools may lose E-Rate discounts if they do not provide cybersafety education stipulated in the Children's Internet Protection Act of 2012.

For more information on this plan to protect students from cybersafety incidents click the link below: 

 Comprehensive District Cybersafety Plan

Life is Good, Sexting and Cyberbullying is Not!

I saw this video on today's Buzz Report by CNET. LG, a leading worldwide manufacturer of cellphones, is taking a stand against sexting and cyberbullying. The Korean company produced a video which has gone viral and website which urges viewers to "give it a ponder" before sending a text message. I applaud LG for taking a stand against sexting and cyberbullying. It is great to see companies encourage custom ers to use products in an ethical way. I am still disappointed in Apple in allowing a sexting app and nudity scanner (yes, I know it's a fake) on the iTunes App Store. Both apps on the popular iPhone and iPod Touch send the wrong message to the young people whom these devices are marketed to and desired by. I hope LG will continue their leadership in taking an active role in promoting ethical use. Also, I hope other companies will follow LG's (mangement principals) lead by promoting safe use of their products by not only young people but all people. Thank you LG for helping make Life Good! Also, thanks to Molly Wood and CNET for mentioning the video and site on the Buzz Report show. 


Teacherbytes December 24, 2009

TV in your pocket

Qik, a live streaming video application, now has an iPhone app to go along with BlackBerry and Nokia phones. Teachers could use this to live stream special events in their classes or school. However, students can live stream events in your class or what teachers are doing out and about. Tech Crunch

Safer Sexting?

Speaking of iPhone apps with cyberbullying potential, a new app called Safe Sexting promises to tone down those X and R rated pictures to very PG-13. Supposedly the app covers strategic areas but boxes cannot be moved around which makes this app worthwhile. Too bad there’s an app to give teens a false sense of security while they expose themselves online. Mashable

A new tablet that is not from Apple

Just when you thought OLPC receded from memory, they announce a new XO-3 which is a thin tablet design. The $75 device is supposed to come to market in 2012 which remains to be seen, both coming out and selling for $75. I still think this is the device which launched the inexpensive netbook craze that has helped the PC industry weather this recession. Mashable, Engadget

Get your students into books, really into books

Story Something is a web-based app that allows users to make children into the main character of a story. Teachers could use this to inspire children to read if the story is about them. This could also be used for special occasions such as birthdays or an illness. Tech Crunch

Is that what that means?

In the worthless survey deparment, a study shows that students who smoke pot like to listen to music about it’s use. You could ask a lot of teachers about that one. ARS Technica

And another winner is…

Mashable named YouTube the Top Social Media Innovation of the Decade. The reasons given for this honor is a combination of technology innovations, rise of social media, embeddable content, creation of the citizen journalist, instant fame possibilities made YouTube the domineering online media site. Start looking for mobile live streaming (see above) to maybe take it’s place unless YouTube joins in.

Free guide to online safety for teens

My Twitter friend,Sylvia Martinez of Generation Yes, shared a link to a free Federal Government guide to help teens stay safe online. Check this link out and share it to help promote safe Internet use.

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas! Don’t forget to check Santa’s progress on Norad Track Santa. Following Santa on this website has become a tradition for my son and myself and we are looking forward to all the social media and other innovations NORAD is doing this year.

Odds and Ends December 15, 2009

Teens and Sexting

The Pew Research Center released a study today on Teens and Sexting. The study claims that only 4% of teens aged 12 to 17 admit to sending sexually provocative while 15% of the same group claimed to have received a sexually provocative message. Older teens are more likely to engage in sexting. Apparently ownership of the cellphone makes teens more willing to engage in sexting. Guess they feel they don’t have to show the phone to Mom and Dad since they don’t pay. Surprise! There are three main reasons for sexting: Texts between romantic partners, messages shared outside the relationship, and messages sent to someone in hopes of starting a romantic relationship.

Finally the sub-$100 notebook

I have been predicting notebook computers would sink below the $100 level for a couple of years. The One Laptop per Child project came close but could not make the magical price point. Engadget posted today about a laptop called the CherryPal that goes for $99. Don’t expect a lot from this machine. It has a 400 MHz processor, 256 MB of memory and a 2GB flash drive. Beats nothing and its a start.

Interesting ways to use Google Wave

Mashable posted four interesting ways to use the new Google Wave. Some of these should provide thought for school projects:

  1. Manhunt: Keep track of news stories as they happen using a variety of sources. Sounds like Twitter.
  2. The Declaration of Independence: This could make for an interesting exercise for Social Studies classes. Think of all the historical documents that could be revised by collaborative groups of students.
  3. Role playing games: A creative teacher could make this work for studying all kinds of topics. Great Expectations: The Role Playing Game anyone?
  4. A way to share embedded video.

Making lectures come alive

Mashable posts nine ways for presenters to engage with their audiences with social media. One thing that intrigued me was an app called Hotseat. The app was created by Purdue University so collaborative discussions could be done in and out of the classroom. Students can use Twitter, Facebook, a web application, and mobile phones to interact with the teacher and other members of the class to provide input and additional discussion. Now a bigger reason for students to text in class.

Barbarians at the gate

Yesterday a teacher asked me for the key to our new wireless network access for a student who wanted to use his netbook in class. The problem is that it is a big secret amongst the technology staff. There is a guest access setup but a login was still needed. When I explained I did not have access to the logins she asked what good was our wireless access if students cannot get access. A good question.

Today I got a login for the guest access but was told it should not be shared with teachers or students. Apparently there is a concern that if a student loses or damages a personal laptop the district could be held liable. Also, it is feared students could use proxy servers to get around security to access forbidden sites.

With the proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices and more students getting their own netbooks the day is soon coming to reckon with giving access. Guess our district needs to start working up a policy for student use of district Internet access with personal equipment. My vote, have a form which students and parents sign that spells out how the network is to be used, what constitute inappropriate use, and release the district from liability if a student accesses inappropriate sites or bypasses security protocols.