Saturday, June 28, 2008

Two Teens Charged For Facebook Identity Fraud

Two Norwell teenagers were charged with identity fraud after posting a fake Facebook profile, impersonating a female student from Norwell High School. According to an article from the Patriot Ledger, the two recent Norwell High graduates posted offensive and harassing information on the fraudulent profile. The profile was only online for one day, Facebook officials removed it when they were informed it was a fake. However, as many cyberbullying situations do, the problems stemming from the profile spilled over into school. The student has since transferred from Norwell High School. The students charged face up to two and a half years in a house of correction.

It is important for students to know that there can be serious consequences for their actions. While some of the things that students write about other students online might be protected by the First Amendment, identity fraud is against the law. As this story indicates, law enforcement isn't afraid to charge students who commit identity fraud online. Facebook is a great way for students to stay connected to their friends, be creative and express themselves. Unfortunately, parents and students need to be aware that these things can happen and that they should alert the authorities if they feel they are a victim of identity fraud or online harassment.

For more information about cyberbullying and cyberbully prevention strategies, check out these sites:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shield - Live at the Fifield!

We are live at the Fifield School for their cybersafety night. The Fifield invited parents and students to view "Jake's Cyber Adventure", the BPS produced cybersafety movie. The movie was written and performed by Boston Public School students last summer to help educated students about safe cybersafety practices. The movie follows the BPS Cybersafety Heroes as they help their friend Jake navigate through the internet and make good choices to help keep his computer and his information safe. In addition to watching the movie, Shield, a real life cybersafety hero is on hand to meet the students and give them tips on staying safe online. There are also other cybersafety activities happening in the school tonight. In one room, there will be an interactive quiz game on good cybersafety strategies as well as a classroom where students will receive some BPS Cybersafety trading cards. The students will discuss the tips and lessons that they can learn from the trading cards with each other. The entire event was planned by former BPS high school students, Vasantee Reddicks and Rachel Gaffney who have been hired as project managers this summer to work on the BPS cybersafety campaign.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Attorney General's Office Visits McKinley School

Chris Kelly, the managing attorney for the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office Cybercrime Division spoke to a group of high school students at the McKinley South End Academy last Friday. Chana Green, a counselor at the school, contacted OIIT earlier in the school year to try and set up an internet safety talk for her students. "I felt my students really needed someone with knowledge to speak with them about this issue", Ms. Green wrote to us in an email. Attorney Kelly discussed issues of cyberbullying and online predators with the students. He gave them strategies on what to do if they are victimized online. He also showed them some videos made by other teenagers about true stories of what happened to them online. The students responded to Attorney Kelly, engaging in conversations about what they experience online and asking questions about online safety. Ms. Green added in her email about the talk, "I thought it was good because he brought real life situations to the class. I think showing the film was helpful. I think it made them aware ...they are very vulnerable and don't understand about the dangers that are out there."

Attorney Kelly also told the students that he used to think that teenagers were tricked into giving out their information online to predators. He said that he now knows that teenagers who are being groomed online are willingly giving out their personal information and willingly meeting up with strangers online because they think that the predator cares about them. One of the strongest messages he conveyed to the students was that these predators will say anything and everything to you online to gain your trust. He also told them to really watch out for their friends, look for the warning signs. If a friend starts talking about this wonderful person they met online who is going to take them away from all their problems, they need to step in and contact an adult or law enforcement about that. He also told them that they can contact the Cybertip line to report anything that they feel is causing themselves or their friends danger.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

iSAFE adds new iDrive webcasts

I just received this message from iSAFE the other day:

June 1, 2008

June is Internet Safety Month, a month devoted to increasing awareness about safe and responsible online behavior. For i-SAFE, every month, every week, every day is dedicated to educating and empowering students of all grade levels to be safe online. The i-SAFE Safe School Education Initiative and Outreach Program continues to be adopted as a core program in schools throughout the nation. The program has increased ten fold – educating more than 6 million students to date – by responding to new technologies and current trends to provide teachers creative and fresh e-Safety lesson plans/activities, and innovative ways to reach students on their level. Our newest program, i-DRiVE TV ( ) has become a hallmark for the type of programming we are now providing – at no cost – to educate and empower students to stay safe online. We need your support.

Make Internet Safety Month the time to take action. Your charitable donation to i-SAFE is an investment in the safety of our nation’s youth. Your gift means that you are partnering with i-SAFE in our commitment to raise e-Safety awareness in classrooms, homes, neighborhood, and communities across the country – not just during Internet Safety Month, but every day of the year.

Please use the following link to make your donation:

Thank you for supporting the i-SAFE Program.

Teri Schroeder
CEO, i-SAFE Inc.

I took a look at the trailer of their newest iDrive webcast and recommend that you check it out. I found it interesting how they are taking the approach of weaving in internet safety education into webcasts about the latest technology news.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Media Companies Getting Involved in Internet Safety

The internet safety resources just keep on coming. According to a recent press release, Comcast is offering the PBS Frontline documentary, Growing Up Online free On Demand. This documentary is an excellent look into the online lives of teenagers and worth watching. has included new resources on its internet security website including a "for kids" page that contains games and downloads featuring Faux Paw the internet safety techno cat. Faux Paw is a character from has a very comprehensive internet safety website with a whole section devoted to Faux Paw. There is a section for educators which includes a quiz game that teachers can use in the classroom to test students' knowledge about the internet. The educators section also has downloadable resources for teachers to use in the elementary, middle and high school classroom. I haven't seen these resources yet, but I plan on downloading them and checking them out. There are also free presentations that teachers can download for students and parents.

Meanwhile, Information Week reports that Verizon has plans to provide free access to parental controls over the internet. Verizon Broadband subscribers will have free content filtering available to them that can block children from visiting inappropriate websites. The announcement was made at WiredSafety's International Stop Cyberbullying Conference.