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?
A recent e-Schools News article on Tips for Reducing Bullying and Cyberbullying addresses so many critical issues and provides such practical tips that we thought you would want it available in a printable format.
Please share your thoughts so we can start a community discussion on best practices for addressing, reducing, and eventually eliminating the growing problem of 21st century bullying.
We’re living in a digital age with technology everywhere. People use the Internet for school work, research, banking, entertainment and even shopping. Most likely, everyone you know uses the Internet for one purpose or another. Because of the increasingly wide use of the Internet, 2Webwatchers wants to promote an awareness with students that online activity leaves a digital footprint. A digital footprint is the amount of content, whether it be words, photographs, audio, or video, that can be traced back to an individual. Students and their parents need to be aware that all photos and videos uploaded to sites like flickr and YouTube and all posts written on friend’s MySpace and Facebook web pages become part of their digital footprint.
So why care about your digital footprint? Digital footprints can have a long-term impact that many students do not consider. Besides providing information to potential predators or identity thieves, students may unknowingly provide a negative image to potential college recruiters or employers, who will definitely “Google” their future applicants.
Q: What can you do as a parent to help your child understand the importance of their digital footprint?
A: Create an open dialog with your child about the danger of providing too much online information. Set aside the time necessary to do regular Google searches of yourself and your child.
Q: What can I do if my Google search turns up negative or slanderous information about my child?
A: Take a screen shot* of the web page that houses the negative or slanderous information. Save the file and then search for contact information from the website. Work with the company (e.g., MySpace, Facebook, YouTube) to remove the material.
*A screen shot can be taken on a PC by pressing the “PrtScn” (Print Screen) key on your keyboard. This places an image of the computer’s screen on your computer’s clipboard. You can also use Alt+PrtScn together to capture the active window. The next step is to launch your favorite image editor or use the Microsoft Paint program that comes with Windows by pressing Start > Programs > Accessories and then Paint. Once you are in Paint (or your equivalent), go to the Edit menu and choose Paste. You should now have an image of your computer screen within your image editing program. Next, go to the File menu and choose Save As. Navigate to the folder where you want to save the image and then type a file name for the image.
On a Mac, you would use Apple (Command) Key +Shift+3 – This keyboard combination captures the whole screen to a file that is saved to the desktop as ‘picture #’. This option lets you capture the whole screen. Instead of using the keyboard shortcuts above, screenshots can also be taken by using the Grab application included with Mac OS X. It is located in your Applications folder > Utilities > Grab.
Want more background information on digital footprints? Check out the research from Pew Internet and American Life Project – Digital Footprints.
We welcome comments, questions and resources for promoting the safe and ethical use of the Internet.