Gary Kovacs delivers a compelling message, both as the CEO of Mozilla and as a parent, on the need to be aware of how our personal data is being collected and shared – with and without our knowledge or permission. Mozilla now offers Collusion, “an experimental add-on for Firefox that allows you to see all the third parties that are tracking your movements across the Web. It will show, in real time, how that data creates a spider-web of interaction between companies and other trackers.”
“Behavioral tracking” is big business, for good or for ill. An essential component of digital citizenship is understanding and pro-actively protecting our privacy. We commend Mozilla for providing a free tool to help keep track of who is tracking us. “It’s now time to watch the watchers.”
You would think that an app with a cute looking ghost for its logo would be pretty harmless, no? That’s not necessarily the case with Snapchat, a free mobile app that allows users share to images or videos that disappear (supposedly) after a few seconds.
Snapchat was created less than a year ago by a couple of entrepreneurial Stanford students for the purpose of making it safe to send silly photos to others without the long term consequences. Considering that the fact that anything you say online can follow you forever – the #1 lesson we should be teaching students about digital footprints and social media – it’s questionable that Snapchat content 100% “disappears.”
A January 10 CNN article raises a number of concerns about Snapshot that parents should be aware of, because, like any tool, it can be used for good or for ill. Common Sense Media sees a value but also adds a word of caution:
Though it sounds like a great way to control images shared with friends, trusting that online content can be kept private is never a safe bet. As with any media-sharing tool, users should be cautious and thoughtful about what images they send with Snapchat. The seemingly risk-free messaging might encourage users to share pictures containing sexual, violent, or illegal content.
Users can receive images in Snapchat from anyone who knows their usernames, so teens using Snapchat will need to be careful not to share their usernames in public forums. View our video The Truth About Sexting for more ways to talk to your teen about safe messaging practices.”
As always, regardless of the program or app, the best advice to our kids is to “think before clicking submit.”
With the new school year just starting, we thought parents would appreciate some strategies for helping kids deal with the uncomfortable position of being a witness or bystander to bullying/cyberbullying incidents. Dr. Michele Borba, educational psychologis, parenting expert, and author, posted a comprehensive article to her Reality Check blog on how kids can step up and “Be a Bully B.U.S.T.E.R.”
In our district trainings with parents and students, we always tell kids to “tell a trusted adult” about the bullying/cyberbullying issue(s) they are witnessing. Yet we know students are often uncomfortable with playing the role of “the snitch.” Dr. Borba makes an important distinction between “tattling” or “reporting”:
Teach students the crucial difference between “Tattling” and “Reporting” so they will know when they should step in because a child is bullied or when to step back and let two kids handle things for themselves because it’s just friendly teasing.
Also identify specific trusted adults children can go to and report bullying incidents if they do identify bullying. Here is the crucial difference:
Tattling is when you trying to get kids IN trouble when they aren’t hurting themselves or other.
Reporting is when you’re trying to help keep kids OUT of trouble because they may get hurt (or they are). Report bullying to an adult you trust. If the adult doesn’t listen, keep reporting until you find an adult who does listen.”
As she points out in the NBC Dateline special The Perils of Parenting (shown below), removing the bystanders is the key to eliminating the bully/cyberbully.
If you teach kindergarten – or know a kindergarten teacher – we wanted to share a lesson created by Mary Beth Hertz (@mbteach on Twitter), an elementary computer teacher in Philadelphia, PA, and a regular blogger on Edutopia. Mary Beth uses free resources from BrainPop to introduce her young students to Internet safety, with a focus of helping students transfer their face-to-face “stranger danger” skills to online environments. Here’s the link to her How to Teach Internet Safety to Younger Elementary Students post.
Although our district-adopted Internet safety program begins in 1st grade, this is only because many sites do not send their kindergartners to the computer lab. Currently our computer lab teachers are in charge of the Internet safety program at the elementary sites – but this does not mean that teaching digital citizenship is limited to computer lab time. We would love to have kindergarten teachers leading the charge! And we would love to hear back from any sites that are beginning Internet safety and digital citizenship in kindergarten – either in the classroom or computer lab!
If you or your students or your children use Twitter, we think you will like this news about new ways individuals can protect their privacy on the Internet.
Twitter announced it will support the new Do Not Track feature in web browsers, giving users one-click control over whether or not Twitter keeps track of which websites they visit. This action adds a boost to the Obama Administration’s February 2012 proposal for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. Although the White House has called on Congress to turn the proposal into law, and specifically enable the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce it, for now the measure remains voluntary.
Considering that Twitter is an advertising-driven business model, and according to eMarketer, “Twitter earned $134 million in 2011 from paid advertising, and is set to earn $260 million in 2012 from paid advertising,” we are impressed and pleased that Twitter is providing the No Track Option – one more teachable moment on the importance of protecting our online privacy!
If you’re looking for opportunities to take your students’ videos to beyond the classroom, check out this contest from the Digital ID project:
Digital Citizenship PSA Contest
Tell us/show us, as a (digital) citizen, how you exercise your rights and act responsibly.
To help make your declaration public, we’ve created an online opportunity. Check it out!
(Up to) 90-Second Video Contribution
All students in grades 4-12 are warmly invited to contribute a video to our Digital Citizenship PSA Challenge Contest. Teachers may submit up to 3 student-generated videos. The rules are simple:
For more information on the contest, along with guidelines to help building an award-winning PSA, visit the Digital ID – PSA Challenge page.
If you have questions, please contact Gail Desler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2WebWatchers had the pleasure of participating in “When Cyberbullying Spills Into School,“ a webinar hosted by edweek.org and sponsored by Talk About It Anonymous Communication Service. Presenters included two nationally-recognized experts on bullying: Nancy Willard, executive director, Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use and Barbara-Jane Paris, principal, Canyon Vista Middle School in Austin, Texas. Michelle R. Davis, senior writer, Education Week Digital Directions was the moderator for the event.
Much of students’ social lives outside of school these days takes place online, through social networking sites. And even though this form of bullying may happen most often after school hours, the impact from online conflicts and negative comments in cyberspace can directly affect a student’s in-school life, including the ability to learn. – edweek.org
Some of the questions addressed during the webinar included:
The webinar has been archived and you can access it here: http://www.edweek.org/go/webinar/Cyberbullying.
You can also download the PowerPoint presentation in PDF format here: http://www.edweek.org/media/2012-02-23-cyberbullying.pdf
We are already actively incorporating many of the thoughts and ideas shared in the webinar:
Tips for setting or updating your privacy settings
As social media users, it’s very important to understand the responsibilities and realities of posting to social media websites and to be aware of program updates and changes. Let’s take a look at recent changes to Facebook.
Facebook has introduced a new timeline layout, which will eventually be rolled out to all users. As always, in response to any Facebook changes, you should check your privacy settings to make sure Facebook has not changed your previously-selected privacy settings. You can check your settings by clicking on the arrow next to “Home” and selecting “Privacy Settings” from the drop down menu.
From the “Privacy Settings” menu, select the “Friends” radio button option.
We highly recommend that you set your “How You Connect” privacy settings to “Friends Only.” We’ve noticed that the default setting will be “Everyone” for the last option: Who can see posts by others on your timeline? Make sure you select “Friends” for that option.
Setting your “Privacy Settings” to “Friends of Friends” opens up a new level of concern, possibly making more of your information public than you would like. Setting your privacy to “Public” does not provide you with any safeguards – your information is just that – PUBLIC! Note: “Cover Photos” in the new timeline format are all PUBLIC – no matter what your privacy settings are.
With the above settings, only “Friends” can see your activity on Facebook and not “Friends of Friends” or any other users. By leaving “Everyone” as your selection for friend requests and messages, you are still able to receive friend requests and messages from people you have not currently “friended.”
Common Facebook Questions
Taken from Facebook’s finding, viewing and interacting with Facebook pages website.
How are Pages different from personal profiles (timelines)?
Profiles (timelines) represent individuals and must be held under an individual name, while Pages allow an organization, business, celebrity, or band to maintain a professional presence on Facebook. You may only create Facebook Pages to represent real organizations of which you are an authorized representative.
If I post or comment on a Facebook Page, who can see it?
Facebook Pages for businesses and brands are public spaces. When you post or comment to a public page, a story is published on your Wall and can also be published in News Feeds.
Can a Page see my information if I Like it?
Pages cannot see the profiles (timelines) of people who connect with them, only their profile picture and name. Pages also do not have access to a News Feed with information about the activity of the people who connect with them. Page administrators, however, will be able to see anything you’ve made available as “Public” on your profile (timeline) by visiting your profile (timeline). Pages can communicate with users that like their Page by sending messages. Authenticated Pages may also post status updates, which may appear in the News Feeds of users that like the Page.
What does it mean to “Like” a Page or content off of Facebook?
When you click “Like” on a Facebook Page, in an advertisement, or on content off of Facebook (any website), you are making a connection. A story about your “like” will appear on your Wall (timeline) and may also appear in your News Feed. You may be displayed on the Page you connected to, in advertisements about that Page, or in social plugins next to the content you “like.”
Facebook Pages you “like” may post updates to your News Feed or send you messages. Your connection to the Page may also be shared with Apps on the Facebook Platform. For example, if you go to EGUSD’s website and click on the “follow EGUSD on Facebook” link, you will be prompted to login to Facebook if you haven’t already. Your “Like” will then show up on your Wall (timeline).
To familiarize yourself with more Facebook terminology, click here to visit their glossary.
If you have additional questions about Facebook, please post a comment or send us an email.
“Protecting one’s equipment is not only a matter of personal responsibility but also necessary for protecting the community.” Mike Ribble
For students to practice good digital citizenship, they need to value their privacy and understand how to protect their personal information. Here are a few resources we recommend:
We will continue to add resources on the topic of guarding online privacy. Please join the conversation and add a comment if you have questions you’d like us to address or additional resources to share with our EGUSD community.
Kamala Harris, attorney general of California, wrote an excellent piece on cyberbullying for San Jose Mercury News. We encourage you to read the article, but if you’re pressed for time, a couple of standout points include:
California recently enacted two laws criminalizing certain forms of online impersonation and giving school officials the authority to suspend or expel students who engage in cyberbullying. These laws are crucial to promoting safety, but they aren’t enough.”…..
…Ultimately, it is young people themselves who must make the Internet a place of tolerance. They have the most at stake. Their generation is the first to be born into a digital, connected world, and they will have the biggest hand in shaping its contours. I hope we can all affirm that, while the Internet has changed how we interact, it has not fundamentally changed how we should treat one another.”
So how do we get the word out to our students/children that they must be the change? We warmly invite your input on this important topic. What questions or suggestions do you have? Where can we find strategies, resources, and models that are genuinely bringing about a decline in bullying/cyberbullying?