Digital Citizenship

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Google Partners with Tech Group to Create Digital Citizenship Game

Two of the biggest champions of educational technology — Google and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) — have teamed up to create a new way to teach digital citizenship. Be Internet Awesome, a program developed in concert with the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe the Coalition and ConnectSafely, educates kids about digital citizenship in interactive ways, including an online game. Designed for schools, many of the materials on the site are also helpful to kids and their parents.

Google Partners with Tech Group to Create Digital Citizenship Game

Two of the biggest champions of educational technology — Google and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) — have teamed up to create a new way to teach digital citizenship. Be Internet Awesome, a program developed in concert with the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe the Coalition and ConnectSafely, educates kids about digital citizenship in interactive ways, including an online game. Designed for schools, many of the materials on the site are also helpful to kids and their parents.

How to Get Someone to Stop Sexting You

In a recent Pew Research study on online harassment, about half of female respondents ages 18-29 reported that someone had sent them explicit images they did not ask for. Parents of teens should consider having a discussion about what to do if this kind of situation arises, because chances are it is happening with younger teens as well. One place to start with getting the information you need is the Wikihow entry on How to Get Someone to Stop Sexting YouIt is broken up into four sections with step-by-step directions for each section. The four sections are: Getting Help if You’re a Minor, Blocking Their Message, Confronting the Person and Contacting an Authority Figure. These sections are followed by a very helpful Community Q&A touching on many of the issues faced by both parents and teens.

Get Up to Speed on Snapchat Ghost Mode

As you may have observed with your own teens, Facebook and Twitter are fading and Snapchat is the app of choice these days. Even if you are familiar with Snapchat, you may need to get up to speed on a new feature called Snap Map. The feature lets users see where Snaps (messages or pictures) are being composed from. If users want to keep that information private (versus letting the whole world know where they are), users must choose Ghost Mode. Need more information on how to set up Ghost Mode and Snap Map? See Talk to your teen about Snapchat Ghost Mode on the USA Today site.

Suicide Rates Rise Among Middle Schoolers

Researchers suggest that increased academic pressure, economic distress and social media may be contributing to the doubling of the suicide rate among middle-schoolers that statistics from 2007 to 2014 have shown. Some experts are concerned that there is so much pressure on young people that they can become overwhelmed because they have not yet developed the coping skills that adults rely on. This is a good reminder that an incident an adult can easily dismiss can be hard for a middle schooler to shrug off. Schools are being urged to target the issue by teaching students to handle conflict, creating a welcoming climate and training teachers about suicide prevention.

Your Silence Will Not Protect You – Get To Know Girl Nation

The nonprofit Girl Nation is helping young women between the ages of 8 and 15 understand and cope with the potential downside of social media and technology. Among other things, the organization seeks to help girls with confronting body image issues, "mean girls", and developing healthy social media habits. While the organization holds programs and workshops in the Las Vegas area, there are lots of materials on their website for young women and parents nationwide.

Online Harassment on the Rise

Harassment and abuse are becoming the new “normal” online: 41% of American adults have been personally subjected to online harassment — an increase from two years ago — and 66% have witnessed it, a new study released recently by the Pew Research Center found. Women were twice as likely as men to say they were harassed because of their gender. The study found that 21% of women ages 18 to 29 said they were sexually harassed online — more than twice the number of men in that same age group. About half of female respondents ages 18-29 also told Pew that someone has sent them explicit images they did not ask for, an issue parents certainly need to address with their children when discussing how to handle if these kinds of situations arise.

Overall, while there is widespread concern over online harassment (62% of respondents said they viewed it as a major problem), there is disagreement in how platforms should balance being able to speak freely and preventing abuse. While 53% said it was more important for people to feel safe, 45% said free speech should take precedence. Regardless, most respondents (79%), said tech companies have a duty to step in and prevent abuse on their platforms.

Would the President’s Tweets Get Him In Trouble at School?

Many of President Trump’s tweets have recently been scrutinized by bullying experts, notes a recent article on CNN.com. The article states that while his tweets about television personalities like MSNBC’s Mika Brezinski and Joe Scarborough would probably not be enough to get him suspended or expelled were he still in middle or high school, they would be enough for school officials to intercede and make him accountable for his behavior. The experts remind parents and teachers that the most important message to give young people who are fascinated by his questionable tweets is to remind them that other people stood up to him, including members of his own party, and pointed out that just because someone has a position of authority does not mean they are entitled to belittle and shame others online.

10 Social Media Issues That Landed Students in Hot Water

As a parent, when you sit down to have a discussion with your child about the ways social media can get them into trouble at school (or with the police), it can be really helpful to have some examples. Education Week has taken the time to examine ten such incidents that made recent headlines. From references to school shootings to racist rants to complaints about water quality, students’ social media posts this past school year have resulted in suspensions, expulsions, arrests, and lawsuits. It is an eye opening read including how much trouble students can get into for filming videos on school grounds (even if it was to expose the bad quality of the water supply in school water fountains, or as a backdrop for a rap video), or even for posting images of texts sent by others in an effort to expose racism. After you finish reading this article you may feel like telling your kids to refrain from posting anything at all! That, of course, is very unrealistic, but these examples do provide context to the advice “think before your post.”

Cyberbullying and the Future …and FLOTUS

Technology can be a wonderful tool that connects us with information and with each other, but we all know there is a dark side to technology use, including things like hacking, cybercrime and cyberbullying. Cyberbullying has been a hot topic in schools and in the news over the past decade, but these days we are finding debate about what exactly cyberbullying entails and what is the best way to tackle it.

Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers, leadership experts in the education field, note in a new opinion piece from Education Week that while FLOTUS Melania Trump has said she wants to make cyberbullying her priority cause, they feel that she needs to learn more about the topic. They hope she will come to understand that the only way to solve cyberbullying is to act as a role model, work on defining cyberbullying for the country, and lead us into a more respectful time. Berkowitz and Meyers also remind readers that the mindset  “if you are being hurt, hurt someone else worse” is something that parents and children are going to have to learn to turn away from if the problem of cyberbullying is ever going to see some kind of resolution.

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