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Online Safety

Cyberbullying: The Role Educators Can Play

August 1, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Jessica Carol, guest contributor

School-yard bullying has taken on a whole new meaning in this day and age. Those fat kids who harassed you and took your lunch money have gone digital and the Internet is largely responsible for it. On the surface this may seem pretty harmless when compared to facing a menace face to face but as witnessed in the Amanda Todd case the problem that started off as just a simple way to have fun while hiding behind a computer screen has gotten worse, thanks to our own negligence.

Justin Patchin Speaks OutThere might not be laws to prevent cyberbullies from harassing others but educators are certainly capable of advising students on how to avoid such scenarios.

In a recent Interview, Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Justin W. Patchin stressed upon the threats cyberbullying poses to kids. While comparing regular bullying to the digital version Patchin remarked that “Using technology can be just as harmful if not worse for some teens.”

With technology penetrating our lives more and more each day the risk of our kids getting exposed to these digital felons continues to grow bigger. Parents might be able to keep a strict eye on their child’s technology time at home but the advent of portable smart devices like iPhones and iPads means that our kids can go online from school at any time they want and indulge in activities which can have a long lasting effect on their life. This is where educators need to do their part and not just limit instruction to the boundaries of a classroom.

Act Responsibly

Since kids spend a good chunk of their time at school the effects of cyberbullying can be easily seen inside the classroom. Sudden odd behavior and short temper can be a symptom. An educator’s involvement at that point can help keep their students on track and prevent their grades from slipping. Teachers can organize after school classes to speak about the use of technology and how students can effectively tackle a situation where they are made victim of hate speech. There might not be laws to prevent cyberbullies from harassing others but educators are certainly capable of advising students on how to avoid such scenarios. Speaking about the role educators can play Dr. Patchin is of the view that “Educators need to be more educated about the problem so that they can respond to it more effectively.”

 

Offline Activities

A debate that has sparked up in recent years is that the internet and video games are preventing kids from developing hobbies and pursuing outdoor activities. Teachers can organize soccer or basketball games or encourage students to take up a hobby like drawing or skateboarding. This will not only provide the necessary mental and physical conditioning but will also keep them away from prying eyes.

Speak

Encouraging students to speak about their personal experiences with cyberbullying or reporting an incident to an adult to resolve an issue instead of keeping it bottled up inside is another useful technique educators can employ.

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Jessica Carol has been working on internet security related issues such as Cyberbullying. Her articles have mostly landed on the Mobistealth blog, where she’s covered several aspects of parental control. She tweets @jcarol429

Cyberbullying: The Role Educators Can Play

August 1, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Jessica Carol, guest contributor

School-yard bullying has taken on a whole new meaning in this day and age. Those fat kids who harassed you and took your lunch money have gone digital and the Internet is largely responsible for it. On the surface this may seem pretty harmless when compared to facing a menace face to face but as witnessed in the Amanda Todd case the problem that started off as just a simple way to have fun while hiding behind a computer screen has gotten worse, thanks to our own negligence.

Justin Patchin Speaks OutThere might not be laws to prevent cyberbullies from harassing others but educators are certainly capable of advising students on how to avoid such scenarios.

In a recent Interview, Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Justin W. Patchin stressed upon the threats cyberbullying poses to kids. While comparing regular bullying to the digital version Patchin remarked that “Using technology can be just as harmful if not worse for some teens.”

With technology penetrating our lives more and more each day the risk of our kids getting exposed to these digital felons continues to grow bigger. Parents might be able to keep a strict eye on their child’s technology time at home but the advent of portable smart devices like iPhones and iPads means that our kids can go online from school at any time they want and indulge in activities which can have a long lasting effect on their life. This is where educators need to do their part and not just limit instruction to the boundaries of a classroom.

Act Responsibly

Since kids spend a good chunk of their time at school the effects of cyberbullying can be easily seen inside the classroom. Sudden odd behavior and short temper can be a symptom. An educator’s involvement at that point can help keep their students on track and prevent their grades from slipping. Teachers can organize after school classes to speak about the use of technology and how students can effectively tackle a situation where they are made victim of hate speech. There might not be laws to prevent cyberbullies from harassing others but educators are certainly capable of advising students on how to avoid such scenarios. Speaking about the role educators can play Dr. Patchin is of the view that “Educators need to be more educated about the problem so that they can respond to it more effectively.”

 

Offline Activities

A debate that has sparked up in recent years is that the internet and video games are preventing kids from developing hobbies and pursuing outdoor activities. Teachers can organize soccer or basketball games or encourage students to take up a hobby like drawing or skateboarding. This will not only provide the necessary mental and physical conditioning but will also keep them away from prying eyes.

Speak

Encouraging students to speak about their personal experiences with cyberbullying or reporting an incident to an adult to resolve an issue instead of keeping it bottled up inside is another useful technique educators can employ.

——

Jessica Carol has been working on internet security related issues such as Cyberbullying. Her articles have mostly landed on the Mobistealth blog, where she’s covered several aspects of parental control. She tweets @jcarol429

Are You Concerned Your Kids are Sexting?

June 5, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Georgia Carson, guest contributor

If you are concerned that your kids are sexting, chances are that they are. Scary? Absolutely! An article on What Every Parent Should Know About Sexting reported that 39% of teens and 59% of young adults have sexted at least once. They also define sexting as the act of sending sexually explicit message via SMS or texting.

The huge risk is that if the child is under 18 years of age they can be charged with transmitting child porn, even if the pictures are of them. In addition, once the picture is “out there” it cannot be taken back. The boyfriend they trust today can turn into the X-boyfriend who is out for vengeance and their sexually explicit picture can be forwarded to any number of people, over and over again.

If you are seeing text messages you don’t understand, you can consult a sexting dictionary that will put the code slang in plain explicit English.

Sexting laws affect your child and can have severe consequences for you. Sexting is a felony in the second degree; the laws are very harsh and were put in place to protect children from exploitation, which can penalize the child even when they are engaging in consenting activity. Your child could be required to register as a sex offender. All states in the U.S. have laws to protect minors from exploitation through sexually explicit images. Some states have addressed separate sexting laws, but if they don’t your child could be charged with child pornography. If your child is arrested for sexting, law enforcement could show up at your door to confiscate all computers, cell phones and smartphones.

What your kids do on their cell phone or smartphone is far from anonymous. They can be tracked using GPS or their IP address and if found guilty could be subject to arrest, fines, imprisonment and being labeled for life as a sex offender.

So what is a parent to do?

First, have a serious conversation with your teen about the law and the possibility that the sexually explicit text message could be distributed much further than intended. Will they hate you for it? That is a real possibility! The teenage years have been defined as “Teenage – young enough to know you can, old enough to know you shouldn’t, and stupid enough to do it anyway.”

Second, make sure you know what they are doing! Stealth monitoring programs can let you see all of their text messages, so if you suspect they are getting into dangerous ground you can and should take their phone away. They may hate you for a very long time but you can save them from themselves and that is often the position parents must take.

Third, be consistent, firm and love them anyway. They won’t be teenagers all their lives and if you hold the line on behavior standards, someday they will thank you for it, maybe silently, but they will thank you all the same!

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Georgia Carson writes passionately about parenting and for PhoneSheriff an app to monitor text messages.