Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Massachusetts Cyberbullying Tragedy

As you may have already read, a student in South Hadley took her own life last week. The student was allegedly cyberbullied by other students in her school via text messaging and Facebook. This event again brings up the conversation of new anti-bullying legislature which has not yet been passed. Cyberbullying continues to be a growing issue for parents, students and school systems. If you feel that your child or student is a victim of cyberbullying, it is very important to talk to them. a lot of times, victims of cyberbullying will not talk to an adult about the problem. You may even want to talk to one of their friends about it if you can, but anything you can do to get information and try to stop the problem can be very important. While it is rare that victims of bullying commit suicide, they are negatively affected in other ways. Watch for signs of depression, anxiety, fear or anger especially after using the internet or getting a text message. The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use has some very useful resources for parents and educators. You can also look back at some of our other blog posts about cyberbullying for more links and resources.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Think Before You Post

Wes Fryer, author of the educational technology blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, posted a link to a very clever YouTube video about cyberbullying. The video, called RE: Cry of the Dolphins, is less than a minute but gets it's point across about how some people post hurtful comments to blog and video posts. Part of teaching our students how to be good digital citizens also includes teaching them how their online words effect others. This would be a good video to show your class if you were going to do a blogging project and you were teaching them how to make constructive comments to other student's posts.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Common Craft Video - Protecting Reputations Online

Common Craft is a company that makes very useful, informative videos using paper cut-outs that cover different subjects "in Plain English". They have recently released a new video entitled "Protecting Reputations Online". The two and a half minute video does a very nice job explaining what can happen when you post material online and how it may stay online even after you delete it. This would be a good video to show to both students and their parents. You can view the video directly from the Common Craft website.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cell Phone Security

Usually, when we talk about cell phone safety the conversation is about sexting, cyberbullying or the dangers of texting while driving (Don't do that!). However, CNET published a good article today about a different type of Smart Phone safety. It is a look at the most frequently asked questions about the biggest security threats for mobile phones including:
  • Theft/loss
  • Malware delivered through email or text message
  • Phishing text messages
According to security experts, the biggest threat for a mobile device is loss or theft. They suggest that if you store any personal or sensitive data on your phone that you should keep your device password protected. Also, just like with your regular computer, you should be very careful about who you give personal information to. Social security numbers, credit card numbers and PIN numbers should not be sent via text or email from your phone, especially if you received an unsolicited message asking for that information.