Sunday, December 30, 2007

Teacher Loses Job Over Myspace Photo

This story has been around for a few months, but resurfaced again today in the New York Times. A student teacher was denied her education degree from Millersvile University because of a photo she posted on and she captioned the photo "drunken pirate". The photo can be viewed on this New York Times page.

Another source of the article:

Stacey comments to Lancaster newspaper

You decide? What would your school do? How would your parents respond to this article? Is it something to be concerned about, or a big deal over nothing?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Attorney General Tom Corbett

Pennsylvania Attorney General, Tom Corbett is interested in educating our children about being safe online. He has established a task force to fight predators and you can help. Visit his website for information to help you become educated too.

His link for cyberbullying:

In addition, you can click on the link: Kids, Parents and Schools for more information.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sign-up For a Newsletter

There are several great resources that you can subscribe to for free including:

Sunday, December 23, 2007

New Cyber-Bullying Video

This site is getting great reviews from teachers who are showing the video to their middle school students. The links offer good advice. I don't think you can have enough advice on this topic! I will try to order this movie for our school and let you know when it arrives if you wish to view it.

Adina's Deck

Friday, December 21, 2007

If I Copy it Wrong?

In a New York Times article by David Progue, he writes about how the youngest generation views copying others material as just fine. There seems to be a strong feeling that anything that is produced, audio, video, written or otherwise is fair game if you can figure out how to beat the copyright schemes on the media. He offers several examples during a talk to college students about copyright infringement, but they don't see it that way! For the full article, click HERE.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Teens and Online Content

According to a report done by The Pew Research and American Life Project:

"Think that user generated content is still only the domain of a relatively small few? Well a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that the next generation at least is switched on and producing content.

According to the study, 59% of all American teenagers engage in at least one form of online content creation. Of those 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys, and 54% of girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys. Boys however like their video, with 19% of boys posting video online vs. 10% of girls.

Other figures from the study:

  • 39% of online teens share their own artistic creations online, such as artwork, photos, stories, or videos
  • 33% create or work on webpages or blogs for others, including those for groups they belong to, friends, or school assignments
  • 28% have created their own online journal or blog, up from 19% in 2004.
  • 27% maintain their own personal webpage
  • 26% remix content they find online into their own creations

Interestingly the presumed dominance of social networking sites (such as Facebook and MySpace) amongst teens was not reflected in the study, which found that only 55% of teens online use a social networking site. The flip side to that is that the presumption that sites such as MySpace may have peaked may be untrue if 45% of teens aren’t using one of these sites already.

The full study is available here (pdf)."

Citation: Lenheart, Amanda, et al. "Teens and Social Media: The use of social media gains a greater foothold in teen life as they embrace the conversational nature of interactive online media." Pew Internet and American Life Project. 19 Dec. 2007. Pew Charitable Trusts, Pew Research. 20 Dec. 2007 .

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Internet Safety Speaker

Last evening, December 12, 2007, I had the pleasure to attend a program sponsored by my local school district about Internet Safety. The speaker was nationally recognized, Katie Koestner from Campus Outreach Services. Her talk not only educated the audience about the pitfalls of today's technology abuses, but scared many of them to go home and toss out all electronic devices!! Only kidding there, but it made me take a serious look at several things and you should too!
  • Where is your computer located?
  • Does your student have a cell phone with a camera? can it take video? Why?
  • Where is the cell phone when they go to bed? Where does it charge?
  • Have you ever seen the photos on your child's phone? the movies?
  • Do you have filtering and monitoring software for your home computer?
  • Do you have a laptop that your student uses? Where do they use it?
  • Have you ever sat and watched YouTube with your kids? Have them show you their favorite videos.
  • You should "Google Yourself and your kids" to see what information is out there on the web.
  • Teenagers listen to over 10,500 hours of music by the time they are 16. What is influencing them?
I found out that information your child posts on or or many of the other social networking sites actually 'becomes the property of the site"! That is why Rupert Murdoch has paid over $550 million for - content! If you have a budding artist, songwriter, actor, or writer, and they post their material on their own blog, the company then owns it! There is no payout for their intellectual property, just keeps it and can publish it for their own profit.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

More Resources and Books

Here are some statistics and resources for further reading:

The Internet Safety Resources for Parents

Articles to read

Texting Acromyns

These websites were mentioned by Lisa Thomas-Laury in her special about teens and texting.

Teen Chat Decoder


Special Report by WPVI's Lisa Thomas-Laury

(Article directly from website:

Decoding Text Messaging

An Action News Special Report

WPVI By Lisa Thomas-Laury

- Do you know what B-R-B means? It's text code for Be Right Back. It might come as no surprise that parents tell us it's difficult to penetrate the high-tech lives of teens. We cracked some of those text messages codes so parents are no longer left K-P-C.

"I say NVM for never mind if I changed or if I don't want to talk to them," said one teenager who spoke with Action News.

"ROFL...rolling on the floor laughing," explained another teen.

Parents, trying to figure out what a teen is texting, may end up feeling like their trying to decipher Morse code.

"I text during class, before school, in between classes, after school, before I go to bed and when I wake up," said 17-year-old Samantha Scott.

Scott said she uses lots shorthand in all that texting. What's more, her mother isn't aware of all the codes.

"I wouldn't know how to look for her text messages if I tried," said Samantha's mother, Dominque Bond.

"Learn how to text message and also how to respond to messages," said therapist Tim Barksdale.

Barksdale suggested if parents want to bridge the gap between themselves and their teens, then they have to familiarize themselves with the technology their children already mastered. Parents should also learn their children's texting codes.

Some of the most popular include: MOS. for mom over shoulder, and CD9, which is code 9 for unwanted parent or teacher.

Action News also found innocent abbreviations like LOL, for laughing out loud, and SLAP, which means sounds like a plan.

But, we also found others that would be alarming to parents.

"Like the number 420, which means let's get high or do you have any weed?" said Dr. Barksdale.

"And I'm curious if she knows that and now I'm going to ask her about that," said Samantha's mom.

So, we asked Samantha if she knew the code.

"No. I know at least at my school we don't really use codes like that," she said.

But lots of teens do use codes like that and also codes like A3. That's a code for any place, anywhere, anytime -- a reference to getting together to use drugs.

Although hesitant, Samantha did tell us the letters of a code used by some of her classmates that she thought might disturb adults. However, she would not reveal to Action News what it meant.

"LMAO, because it involves a cuss word," said Samantha.

We were able to decipher the code LMAO and determine the letters stand for laughing my **** off. There are many other codes for cursing phrases. Barksdale also said there are codes that have dual meanings. One is innocent the other is potentially dangerous.

"If you see PABG, that means "packing a big gun," said Barksdale. "So that could be a threat of a weapon or it could be something as innocent as playing a video game."

The best advice is to monitor your child's computer and cell phone use. Restrict it, but also become familiar with it.

"Embrace the technology, don't be scared of it," added Dr. Barksdale.

BTW (by the way) the code KPC meant Keep Parents Clueless.

(Produced by Cheryl Mettendorf)

(Copyright 2007 by Action News and 6abc. All Rights Reserved.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

National Crime Prevention Council Campaign

There are many good links and tips on this site for dealing with bullies and online crime.

McGruff Fights Bullying Too!

McGruff the crime dog has a website for kids and parents to learn how to deal with bullies. There are tips and games to get the message out to everyone.

Bullying in General

The Ad Council has a series of public service announcements on many topics: bullying, childhood obesity, asthma, second hand smoke, and violence. Most are very short but to the point.
Log in and see:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who is Reading Your Myspace or Blog?

Kids may think their friends are the only ones that read their blog, but this short video demonstrates otherwise.

Posting a Photo Online is Like........

This is a great illustration of how Internet photos can go around the web or other places!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Miss New Jersey

Miss New Jersey, Amy Polumbo has an online problem. She posted photos on her private Facebook account and someone is using these photos trying to cause her to drop out of the Miss America pagent. Read this story for the details.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Innocent Sports Photo Gone Awry

Senior pole vaulter Allison Stokke has had her photo hijacked. Read this article by Eli Saslow in the Washington Post to see how a simple sports photo has caused this 18-year old her privacy. She has maintained her dignity through it all and has set many high school records in California. You Rock Allison, don't let them get you down.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Oregon Stomps Out Bullies

House unanimous for squelching 'cyberbullies'

Behavior - Policies would be required on abuse with school-related new media
Tuesday, May 08, 2007

SALEM -- The Oregon House wants the state's schoolchildren to stop bullying each other electronically.

Taking on a distinctly 21st-century issue, the House voted 56-0 on Monday to require Oregon school districts to adopt policies prohibiting "cyberbullying," which it defined as "the use of any electronic device to harass, intimidate or bully."

The measure, House Bill 2637, amended an existing law that requires school policies outlawing more traditional forms of bullying.

The unanimous House passage of the bill reflects lawmakers' concern over how young people are using a growing array of electronic communication -- e-mail, text messaging and instant messaging, plus Web sites like MySpace and YouTube where they can post messages and videos.

"It's another tool to communicate and in some cases they don't use good judgment in communicating," said Kent Hunsaker, executive director of the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators.

The Washington Legislature recently passed a similar measure, which Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign.

Neither law would apply to cyberbullying done at home. The Oregon bill refers to bullying acts "that take place on or immediately adjacent to school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity, on school-provided transportation or at any official school bus stop.

Noting that school administrators can't regulate students' use of electronic devices at home, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Cedar Mill, called the bill "just a small step." She said school districts should be encouraged to teach students "about the responsible use of the Internet."

Rep. Betty Komp, D-Woodburn, said the growing use of the Internet means that students can be harassed in numerous electronic ways "and it's just as harmful as person-to-person bullying."

"Some of us just can't keep up with it," she added.

The Legislature passed the original anti-bullying measure in 2001. Chuck Bennett, a lobbyist for the school administrators group, said interest in that legislation was strong but was less so for the bill adding cyberbullying to the list of outlawed practices.

Hunsaker said, "With the spread of the Internet, it is another thing that school administrators are dealing with. It comes up often. Everybody has their MySpace."

Both Bennett and Hunsaker said the 2001 law directing school districts to adopt policies against traditional forms of bullying appeared to have been effective.

"I think school districts take this stuff pretty seriously," Hunsaker said. "It's one thing parents feel strongly about. They want their kids to go to school and feel safe."

Edward Walsh: 503-294-4153;

To Catch a Predator

I found this post on another educator's web page about the NBC Dateline Series: To Catch a Predator:
"This is VERY difficult to watch. Maybe you saw it on TV already. "To Catch A Predator" will shock you. Hopefully it will also scare you into talking with your kids about online safety. Maybe you should watch this WITH your kids.

The page is full of stories and videos of the confrontations they had with the ... "suspects." Start on the right side in the "As Seen on the Broadcast." Then check out those other links - if you can. Make SURE you watch The Legal Fallout section."

Friday, April 13, 2007

More resources

Now that cyberbullying, predators, stalking and myspace are popular, there is a wealth of information appearing all over the blog-0-sphere. Here is another person's blog on stalking and some state laws.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stop Cyberbullying Day

This Friday - March 30th, 2007 - has been declared Stop Cyberbullying Day by Andy Carvin. Also check out some of the recommended resources:

Safer Internet Day
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
Stop CyberBullying

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Saturday Night Live Skit

Leave it to SNL to create a twist on the craze. In this skit, the mom thinks she is in a class to teach everyone about Internet safety! Try these two links to see the short video.
LINK1 LINK2 - Enjoy the laugh.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tech Update

Things have changed a bit since the blog started last year. The main change is the use of video sharing. YouTube is so popular, teens watch it instead of television these days! Cell phones and PSP devices can be used to surf the Internet. Many laptops and computers have built in cameras. At the right is the new device from Apple Inc. which will become available in June. It will have cell phone, audio and video capabilities, a camera, text messaging, email, a notepad, and mobile web access. Many of these capabilities are already available on different devices. Make sure you know what is available on your family's device and learn how to use them properly so you can teach your kids how to use them. The amount of spam or junk mail, including solicitation to subscribe to pornography, which will be sent to these devices, will be astronomical. Stay informed about the new devices.