How to teach students about their digital footprint

Students must know about their digital footprint and the consequences of online actions

digital-footprintTechnology is an integral part of teaching and learning in today’s classrooms. While educators are aware of privacy concerns surrounding students’ use of the internet and mobile devices, students don’t always have a good grasp of digital citizenship, and don’t necessarily know the consequences of their online actions.

The average young person ages 8-18 consumes 7.5 hours of media per day outside of school.

“Media is a huge part of kids’ lives, and we’re seeing amazing things in what it can do for learning,” said Kelly Mendoza, senior manager of professional development for Common Sense Media. “But there are privacy issues in what kids are sharing and leaving online.”…Read More

More teens use smart phones to get online

One in four youths ages 12 to 17 say they get online mostly through mobile devices.

Keep computers in a common area so you can monitor what your kids are doing: It’s a long-standing directive for online safety—but one that’s quickly becoming moot as more young people have mobile devices, often with internet access.

A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 78 percent of youths ages 12 to 17 now have cell phones. Nearly half of those are smart phones, a share that’s increasing steadily—and that’s having a big effect on how, and where, many young people are accessing the web.

The survey, released March 13, finds that one in four young people say they are “cell-mostly” internet users, a percentage that increases to about half when the phone is a smart phone.…Read More

New online safety curriculum helps schools document CIPA compliance

An animated alien, Sammy Smart, guides students through a new online digital safety program.

As of July 2012, schools receiving federal e-Rate funding must have updated internet safety policies that show how they will educate minors about appropriate online behavior. Now, a new animated online curriculum is available to help schools fulfill this requirement and document their compliance.

The Federal Communications Commission last August amended the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to include the digital safety education provisions of the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act. Under the new rules, federal auditors may ask e-Rate applicants to produce evidence that they have educated their staff and students about internet safety. The e-Rate provides discounts of up to 90 percent of the cost of telecommunications service and internet access to eligible schools and libraries.

AUP Online, an instructional program created by California startup Lersun Development, helps schools document the digital safety education of their students, which could be helpful in the case of an e-Rate audit.…Read More

New site offers a whole new approach to online safety

"We noticed a large gap between the belief about what people are doing online and the research showing that the majority of youth are making good choices," said a FOSI rep.

Child predators, cyber bullying, and untrustworthy teachers are just some of the internet scandals often discussed on the news concerning youth and online safety. And while programs in schools are right in teaching students about the dangers that exist online, a new website aims to promote the benefits of internet use—as well as bridge the generational gap in online use and knowledge between youth and their teachers and parents.

“Research shows that the vast majority of youth are making good choices online,” said Nancy Gifford, special projects coordinator for the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), in an interview with eSchool News. “In fact, the dangers we often hear about on the nightly news, such as sexting, cyber bullying, and predatory behavior, are not engaged in by the majority of kids.”

The site, called A Platform for Good (PfG), will launch in September with a mission to help shift the conversation away from the negative focus that so often appears in the media about youth online experience to a conversation that highlights the positive opportunities the internet has to offer. Through this approach, FOSI aims to bridge the generational digital divide by increasing adult comfort with technology and understanding of the opportunities it offers.…Read More

10 ways schools are teaching internet safety

"The student’s job is to figure out which website is the hoax. After students have looked at all three websites and figured out which one is the hoax, they share what they found with their classmates," says one reader in describing a hands-on lesson.

As internet use has become a daily part of most students’ lives, students must know how to protect themselves and their identity at all times—especially when teachers and parents aren’t there to help them.

Teaching students about internet safety has been important for as long as the internet has existed, but it’s in the spotlight this year in particular as schools get ready to apply for 2012 eRate discounts on their telecommunications services and internet access. That’s because applicants must amend their existing internet safety policies by July 1, 2012, to include information about how they are educating students about proper online behavior, cyber bullying, and social networking sites.

To get an idea how educators are approaching this issue, we recently asked readers: “Do you teach internet safety at your school or district? If so, how?”…Read More

Facebook and Time Warner join to stop cyber bullying

Facebook and Time Warner's initiative will feature a town hall hosted by Anderson Cooper.

A new partnership between Facebook and Time Warner aims to expand the companies’ individual efforts to prevent online bullying. The initiative, called “Stop Bullying: Speak Up,” will combine broadcast, print, online, and social media outlets to get parents, teachers, and youth speaking about cyber bullying prevention.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of the people [who] use our site,” said Andrew Noyes, manager of public policy communications at Facebook. “Online safety is a responsibility shared among parents, teachers, teens, policy makers, and services like Facebook.”

The announcement came after a recent White House Convention on Bullying Prevention. The campaign will include a town hall meeting with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, which will focus on bullying issues and teaching adults how to cope with it. It also will coincide with Facebook’s Social Media Pledge App that encourages educators, parents, and kids to make a personal commitment to help stop bullying. Also featured will be Cartoon Network’s bystander-focused bullying prevention resources and expansive coverage of bullying from Time Inc. publications.…Read More

Survey reveals disconnect in online safety education

Nearly all administrators said schools should help students learn basic technology skills that incorporate safety and security, but many teachers say they're not prepared to teach these subjects.

A new report suggests that many schools are not adequately preparing students to be safe in today’s digitally connected age, and it cites basic online safety and ethics as two areas in which students need more education.

The report, “State of K-12 Cyberethics, Cybersafety, and Cybersecurity Curriculum in the United States,” was published by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and sponsored by Microsoft.

Although policy makers have urged K-12 schools to integrate technology into their curriculum and expose students to devices that will help them in college and the workforce, the survey reveals that administrators, teachers, and IT coordinators have different opinions on how best to ensure that children are adequately prepared for cyber safety and online security the digital age.…Read More

Memo to Facebook: Face up to security responsibilities

Young Facebook users still need protection while online.

The Queen of England is now on Facebook–as if the increasingly popular social network needed that extra endorsement to attract users.

After The Social Network (the movie) and the 500 millionth customer signed up for an account, what more is left for Facebook to do? Grant Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg an honorary knighthood? Sir Mark Zuckerberg—that doesn’t sound too bad.

But before Sir Mark gets too heady with his fortune and fame, maybe it is time for Facebook and its staff to spend a little more time understanding what may be the most neglected part of its enormous customer base: young people, and more specifically, those between ages 13 and 18, and the online safety practices around them.…Read More

Facebook ‘Groups’ could boost privacy, collaboration

Facebook launched an updated "Groups" application that allows for more collaboration.
Facebook "Groups" allows for easy communication and collaboration on projects, but is it an appropriate collaboration tool for students?

A new Facebook feature unveiled Oct. 6 gives users more control over which information is shared with certain groups of people, and it also offers an easy platform for online communication and collaboration on group projects—leading some K-12 educators and ed-tech officials to wonder if the social networking site might be a viable collaboration tool for students.

The Facebook “Groups” application lets users determine specific content to share with members of a defined group, as well as chat or work together on documents within a group. The feature could be a useful communication and collaboration tool for students outside the classroom—but concerns about online safety might keep many teachers and ed-tech officials from embracing the tool for such use.…Read More