Friday, November 21, 2008

Several New Studies

A recent study by the McArthur Foundation concludes that teens believe that their time online using social sites is very important to their peer relationships. Teens connect with their friends online rather than talk on the phone and in some cases rather than hang out together. Because of the Internet, teens have friends from great distances they have met through online gaming sites, or social sites. They are very content to leave comments for one another on their MySpace or Facebook pages as their form of communication.

As posted before, the Pew Internet & American Life Project has done extensive research on several topics of teens and online activity. "Teens and Video Games", "Networked Families" and "When Technology Fails" are a few of the research topics you can read at their site.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Site for Harassment

Blinded by the lightImage by
Kevin K. Photography
via Flickr
This article from the University of Delaware shows the danger of commenting without regard for someone's feelings or the truth. Since I do not know the truth of the entire story, the concern from my point of view is that students can post absolute lies on several sites and destroy someone's reputation, career, or mental well being. Visit this link to read the story from November 18, 2008.
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Kids, Safety, Online Identity

From the community:
"What does the upcoming Presidential Election have to do with students learning an e-Safety lesson? i-SAFE has just launched a new curriculum unit that features an activity which encourages students to vote for the candidate of their choice.

Check out the new unit – Online Identity and You – for middle and high school levels, available for download in the Online Personal Safety curriculum module. In addition to comprehensive standards-based curriculum on topics related to online personal safety and identity concerns, the materials provide step-by-step guidance on how adults and students can become verified and create online profiles that provide better levels of safety. Verification with will enable students to:

  • Learn about the importance of maintaining “levels of identity” online in order to be safe and secure in Internet activities and communications
  • Build and use safe online profiles
  • Engage in safe and secure online activities and contests

That’s where the voting for President comes in. But you’ll need to ACT FAST. Direct your students to and register, and then go to, where they can cast their online ballot today! This special voting activity for students ends on Election Day, November 4th."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Requiement to Teach Internet Safety???

According to an article in the newsletter on October 13, 2008, school districts who receive eRate funding may be required to teach their students about online safety. The bill titled "Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act" may be put off since it's sponsor from Alaska is under investigation. Even if the bill passes, the likelihood of it being funded is rather slim considering the current state of the economy, regardless of who wins the election.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Are We Doing Enough About Cyberbullying?

This is a simple link to a post created by Pat Hensley, a fellow educator and blogger. Take a moment to read her post, but don't stop there because there are some good follow up comments that deserve your attention as well.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

iPod Touch Can Send and Receive Messages

I was not aware of this until I went to the Apple Store and played with an iPod-Touch: You can have live wireless Internet if you are in an area with WiFi. I thought that was just for the iPhone. Well I must tell you that I was hooked and plunged in to the purchase. I love the applications, the way you manage the settings, the touch screen, it is all great. I was a big fan of wireless PalmPilots, but the screen was too small for me (sorry over 50). But this larger screen is just about as small as I want to get! Even my Classic iPod screen is too small. This is just right.

It leaves me to mention that if your child has one of these, they can use the Internet at a friend's home, the library, some malls, walking down the street, anywhere. Yes anywhere they can get unsecured Internet access. Be sure you are involved in what they are doing with that access. Ask them to show you how they use it, where they use it and what they are doing. Sit at the computer and have them teach you how to download Apps to their new device.

If you do not know how to text message, I suggest you get in to it right away. Teens prefer to text and you are more likely to get a response if you text rather than phone. Of course this depends upon your child and their preference. I think I will add the texting plan to my phone in September. I have two teens who want rides home or here and there, and sometimes I stay after school for something too and want to inform them.

Image from:

Playing Handheld Devices

On the Today Show this morning: Dangerous Games: Predators Using Gaming Consoles by Natalie Morales. This story reveals how predators are now using online gaming to lure their young victims into a deceptive relationship. They are using the chat option in handheld gaming systems such as PSP, NintendoDS, and the gaming systems connected to online players. This can be done ANYWHERE there is wireless access. NintendoDS has PictoChat that does not even need a wireless Internet, just a wireless message about 100 feet from each other. Kids can go outdoors with this device and get on to a neighbors unlocked Internet and bypass your home security/filtering software.
Bullying is on the rise through theses devices. Kids use them to seek revenge on classmates or initiate harassment. Students who spoke on the show told that they know kids who have been approached on the Internet by strangers this way. The are also aware of students who have been bullied or harassed.

  • Know who you can trust, what brands are responsible
  • Ask before you buy a device, can they communicate with others can other communicate with my kids.
  • Set ground rules for using the system, at home, at a friends, in public.
  • Learn safe practices and talk to your children about it.

Seduced by the Internet on Oprah

Oprah had a re-run of a program about Internet pornography today. The story involved a teenage boy who had a pornography business using his web cam from the family home. There is much more to this story including how a reporter investigating something else stumbled upon this and vowed to help the boy out of the business. Read the story HERE.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Instruction Required by Virginia

The state of Virginia has required Internet safety instruction to every k-12 student. There is no specific curriculum just yet, but most districts have elected to use the iSafe program. If you have not visited this site, you should. There are great resources provided for parents, teachers and students and it is FREE.

More Internet Safety Reading

This site crated by Qwest provides information about new changes in programming, virtual worlds, identity theft, and provides an Internet Wonder Certification. This certification is completed by visiting a series of sites to learn more about the Internet.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good Morning America Tips

Good Morning America had a segment today about keeping your child safe when they use Visit their site to see the whole story. Sometimes these stories are only posted for a short time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cyber Bullying Laws Proposed

Federal lawmaker targets cyber bullying
Bill would punish those who threaten or harass others online

Prompted by outrage over a Missouri teen's suicide after an internet hoax, United States Rep. Kenny Hulshof on May 22 introduced a bill that would impose federal criminal penalties for cyber bullying.

Hulshof, a Missouri Republican who is running for governor of that state, said the measure might prevent more tragedies like that of 13-year-old Megan Meier.

Megan killed herself two years ago after receiving cruel messages on a social networking web site from a fictional boy she met online.

Lori Drew, the mother of another girl in Megan's suburban St. Louis neighborhood, has been charged for her alleged role in the hoax under criminal statutes dealing with wire fraud. (See "Woman indicted in MySpace suicide case.") But no federal law deals specifically with internet bullying.

"The Megan Meier Act would give prosecutors the tools to protect kids from the most egregious of online predatory attacks," Hulshof said in a statement.

The effort in Congress comes a week after Missouri lawmakers approved a bill making cyber harassment illegal. The state measure revises Missouri law to cover harassment via computers, text messages, and other electronic devices.

Hulshof's bill would allow federal prosecutors to go after online messages meant "to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause emotional distress" to others. Those convicted under the measure would face a fine or up to two years in jail.

"This bill establishes a fair legal standard," Hulshof said. "It sets needed limits for online conduct while protecting free speech."

But Bruce Sanford, a First Amendment lawyer in Washington, D.C., questioned whether the federal proposal would pass constitutional muster.

"I don't even think that's plausibly constitutional," Sanford said. "Congress has a completely undistinguished track record of passing impulsively unconstitutional laws when it comes to new technologies."

He cited the example of federal laws trying to regulate decency on the internet, which have consistently been struck down when tested in the courts.

"It would be nice to think that Congress would act more intelligently when they try to regulate in an area of such constitutional sensitivity," Sanford said. "But their track record is they just don't. They pass bills that are politically popular but hopelessly unconstitutional."

Hulshof co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif.


Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif.

This article comes directly from
May 27, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

Directly from the CSRIU website:

"The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use provides research and outreach services to address issues of the safe and responsible use of the Internet. We provide guidance to parents, educators, librarians, policy-makers, and others regarding effective strategies to assist young people in gaining the knowledge, skills, motivation, and self-control to use the Internet and other information technologies in a safe and responsible manner.

Nancy Willard, executive director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, is a recognized authority on issues related to the safe and responsible use of the Internet."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Poll From March 27 Program

Here are the results from our program:
Do your kids know more about the Internet than you do?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Totally Wired

Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online is a book by Anastasia Goodstein. The reviews are complimentary about the information she offers for parents.
Available through Amazon and other book outlets.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March 27, 2008 Evening Program

Growth of the Internet
Statistics, Growth Charts, Pew American Life Research

What our kids are doing
Pew Foundation study on Teens and Social Media

What should we do?
From the Office of the Lt.Governor of PA Tom Corbett

What is ahead in the future?, Virtual Worlds (Club Penguin, Whyville, SecondLife, Habo Hotel, CokeMusic)

Links to our Internet Safety page at CFPMS. This link includes a copy of the presentation given on March 27, 2008 along with many links for parents and students to become more educated about safety and Internet issues. I also included the PPT presentation that is used with 6th grade students in our school.

Can You Believe This One?

"Video game glorifies bullying, say critics "
By Ben Leapman and Jasper Copping

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 20/01/2008

A violent new video game which is set in a school and encourages players to act out assaults on pupils and teachers has been condemned by anti-bullying campaigners and teaching unions. The game, called Bully, features a shaven-headed pupil who torments fellow students and teachers at his school.

Players gain extra points by terrorizing other pupils with a range of physical and psychological abuse, including dunking children's heads in lavatories and firing catapults at teachers.

Critics said the game was "glorifying" school bullying and called for it to be banned."

An article titled "Violent video games feed unhealthy ideas to young kids" in the News in Tacoma Washington author Jack Thompson states:
"On CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Microsoft’s Bill Gates recently observed, “The cool thing about these games is that they transport you to a world you think is real.” Yet Gates, Time magazine’s 2005 Man of the Year, has allowed Microsoft to contract with Take-Two/Rockstar for release of the Xbox version of Bully – this after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded a study that has identified “bullying” as a growing problem in our schools."

REMEMBER: In the USA you vote with your dollars! Where are you spending it in the world of electronic gaming?

Monday, March 17, 2008

College Site: JuicyCampus Gets a Subpoena

This college level gossip site has caused a lot of controversy and has been on the news all week. This site is full of hate, racial, sexual and malicious comments without regard to the effect of others. Quote from the eSchool News article: "JuicyCampus, a web site that publishes anonymous, often malicious gossip about college students, has come under fire from student groups at several colleges and universities who say it is ruining reputations. Now, state prosecutors in New Jersey have subpoenaed records from JuicyCampus in an investigation into whether the site is committing consumer fraud."

This is a case to watch in the news. Will anonymous bullying be allowed under the guise of free speech, or will it be shut down for libelous conversations? The best part of this is the fact that the students are the ones who want this shut down!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

PA Laws for Bullying

Here is the current law and it gets a rating of C+, check it out HERE. To see laws from other states and how they compare to PA, click HERE.

PBS Special: Growing Up Online

Follow the links to good information about the show "Growing Up Online" by PBS. You can watch the show online, chat with producers and learn more about how and what teens are doing with their online activities.