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Monday, December 29, 2008

California's new law on cyberbullying

SACRAMENTO, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- The author of California's new law on cyberbullying at school says it will enable educators to head off situations that could be spinning out of control.


Starting Jan. 1, school officials will have the authority to suspend or expel students who use the Internet or text messaging to pick on fellow students, the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee reported Sunday.


Assemblyman Ted Lieu said his measure will help prevent fights and psychological torment.


"You're dealing with some very fragile egos at these age levels," Lieu said. "Some people can be driven over the edge and do some horrible things."


The Bee said California school disciplinary codes currently are restricted to direct verbal or physical harassment. But many principals said schoolyard altercations often start with insults on FaceBook or sent by text message.


The measure received the support of the PTA and other education organizations as well as Microsoft, which called cyberbullying a "a threat to creating a safe online environment for children."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Journal of Technology in Counseling

Technology has become an important and common occurrence in our everyday lives. Although technology has brought about ease of communication, it has also brought about complex issues. One significant issue is that of cyber bullying among school-aged children and youth. This article brings clarity to this topic, through a discussion of the incidence, definition, and identification of cyber bullying; an outline of school, parent and child responsibilities; and a review of traditional school programs such as zero tolerance. Specific emphasis is placed on the assessment of and therapeutic response to both the cyber bully and the cyber bullied. The Psychological-Educational-Social (‘PEAS’) program, developed by the authors, outlines a comprehensive therapeutic response to cyber bullying among children and youth.

Read the full article:

Helping Kids and Families Stay Safe: Workshops on Cyberbullying and On-Line Safety

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pandora Corp. Announces PC Pandora Free Holiday Giveaway

Pandora Corp. Announces PC Pandora Free Holiday Giveaway

Pandora Corp. is leaving a gift under every parent's tree this holiday season: PC Pandora absolutely free! The economy is tough, but Internet safety for children is one area that we cannot afford to let suffer. Monitoring software will help parents keep their kids safe from Internet predators, cyberbullies and other threats online.


 New York, NY (PRWEB) December 22, 2008 -- Most people will tell you that nothing in life is free. "Everything has a price," as the saying goes. But for the holidays, Pandora Corp. is changing the rules. Beginning at 12:01 AM on December 25th, and through New Years Day, the company will be giving away its signature computer monitoring software, PC Pandora, absolutely free.

"The economy is making the holidays difficult for a lot of folks this year," explains Pandora Corp. co-founder James Leasure. "Parents will probably dig deeper this year to make the kids and family happy, especially if they are planning to buy a new PC for the household. We want to make sure that kids using those PCs stay safe online, and so we're helping parents get the best safety tools for free."

Starting Christmas morning, parents can visit and use the code PCPANDORAHOLIDAY to get the current PC Pandora version 5.2 absolutely free as a download. The giveaway will last until 11:59 PM on January 1, 2009, or until 50,000 units have been given away. There are no strings attached; in fact, there is even an incentive: parents who take advantage of the giveaway will be given an e-coupon to use on the next release of the software.

In early 2009, Pandora Corp. will be releasing PC Pandora 6.0. The new version will contain standard upgrades and modifications plus many important new features including the optional Pandora LIVE, a web-based subscription service that will allow near real-time monitoring, as well as the ability to change or modify settings remotely. Leasure says he hopes that people find the software essential enough to come back and take a look at the new version.

"Internet safety can't be put on the back burner, so we're going to give our software away now when many people are telling us that they simply can't afford discretionary spending," says Leasure. "We want parents to see how incredibly efficient our program is and what a powerful tool it can be in 21st century parenting. Of course, our hope is that these families will remain loyal customers once the economy turns around, but even if not, it's critical that parents understand what's happening online."

PC Pandora is computer monitoring software that records all activity on a computer. The program's first-rate monitoring capabilities take sequential snapshots of everything that happens on the screen, thus allowing parents to see first-hand everything their child does both on and offline. Further details of user activity are made available in text-based files, including instant messenger chats, emails sent and received, websites visited, peer-2-peer files shared, keystrokes logged, programs accessed, Internet search queries and more. The IRIS feature will even send those text-based files right to a parent's email - invaluable for working moms and dads who can't always be home when the kids are online.

Leasure says the ways that computer monitoring software can help parents are so numerous they often don't consider all of them. "If your child is visiting websites you don't approve of, talking to strangers on social networks, creating and maintaining multiple social network profiles, downloading illegal music and movies, or falling victim to or - even worse - acting as a cyberbully, you will know about it if you are monitoring their internet activity."

Typical filters and standard blocks are easy for savvy young users to circumnavigate, "But if you have computer monitoring software like PC Pandora," explains Leasure, "you'll know what your children are doing and be able to act appropriately."

While almost every home in America with kids contains a computer, not everyone can spend the extra money on the protection they need right now. "The bottom line is keeping kids safe online," states Leasure. "Our Christmas gift to parents this year is giving them the tools they need to do just that."

Visit between Christmas and New Year's Day and use the code PCPANDORAHOLIDAY at checkout to get your copy of PC Pandora for free


School cyberbullying law takes effect Jan. 1

School cyberbullying law takes effect Jan. 1

Joe Nelson, Staff Writer

Posted: 12/21/2008 02:42:14 PM PST


A new law aimed at deterring the proliferation of cyberbullying at public schools goes into effect Jan. 1, bolstering educators' ability to tackle the problem head-on.


The law gives school administrators the leverage to suspend or expel students for bullying other students by means of an electronic device such as a mobile phone or on an Internet social networking site like MySpace or Facebook; the law, however, only applies to bullying that occurs during school hours or during a school-related activity.


The new law also incorporates the term "cyberbullying" into the lexicon of the California Education Code, which better equips school and law enforcement officials to educate students and parents on the issue.


California is one of only two states in the U.S., the other being Arkansas, that has passed legislation specifically addressing cyberbullying in its education code, said Assemblyman Ted Lieu (D-El Segundo), who authored the proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 86, signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sept. 30.


"We hope that other states copy this law," Lieu said.


"(Cyberbullying) is a growing problem."


Educators and law enforcement officials have taken aggressive steps to address the dilemma of cyberbullying and its potential deadly consequences.


Read more:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Study Links Violent Video Games, Hostility

Study Links Violent Video Games, Hostility
Research in U.S., Japan Shows Aggression Increased for Months After Play

By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 3, 2008; A18

Children and teenagers who play violent video games show increased physical aggression months afterward, according to new research that adds another layer of evidence to the continuing debate over the video-game habits of the youngest generation.

The research, published today in the journal Pediatrics, brings together three longitudinal studies, one from the United States and two from Japan, examining the content of games, how often they are played and aggressive behaviors later in a school year.

The U.S. research was the first in the nation to look at the effects of violent video games over time, said lead author Craig A. Anderson, a psychology professor at Iowa State University and director of its Center for the Study of Violence.

Read more:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hazelden tackles bullying in schools through development of curriculum, new web site

Hazelden tackles bullying in schools through development of curriculum, new web site




As a provider of violence prevention teaching plans and related materials, it made sense that Hazelden Publishing, Center City, would be involved in distributing a curriculum designed to decrease cyber-bullying. The publishing arm announced it has developed a curriculum that addresses bully tactics that youth are being exposed to via computers, handheld devices, interactive gaming and other encounters with "cyber" bullies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Teens' Online Safety Improved by Education, Research Shows

Teens' Online Safety Improved by Education, Research Shows


by Dian Schaffhauser


New research shows that teens' online safety is improved by education. Researchers from the University at Buffalo and University of Maryland surveyed 285 preteens and early teenagers, both male and female, to determine how important they thought it was to protect their privacy online and whether those beliefs affected what actions they took to protect that privacy.


Read more:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cyber Bullying Hurts: How to Prevent & Respond


Topic:  Cyber Bullying Hurts: How to Prevent & Respond
Recording date:  Tuesday, August 12, 2008 2:00 pm   Central Daylight Time (GMT -05:00, Chicago)
Panelist Information:  Dr. Patricia W. Agatston

Duration:  58 mins


Description:  This web conference will address the following questions:
· What is cyber bullying and why should schools address it?
· How does cyber bullying affect students and their ability to learn?
· What can be done to prevent it?
· How do we intervene and help students who have been cyber bullied, or who have cyber bullied others?
· What are effective school-wide approaches?


Cyber Bullying Case Law is Limited, But Consider Civil and Criminal Laws

Cyber Bullying Case Law is Limited, But Consider Civil and Criminal Laws

Educators and administrators often ask us about case law regarding cyber bullying to help guide them in policy and procedure. As far as I know, and I research it daily, case law is limited. One law suit, now in progress, is slowly developing (read article: Evidence of Megan Meier's death will be permitted in Lori Drew's cyber-bullying trial)

Regardless of case law, school personnel need to respond if a student harasses or bullies another student(s) using the school computer/internet system. A school also needs to be involved even if the cyber bullying was initiated off campus, but interrupts learning on campus. This is referred to as an off-campus/on-campus nexus.

A real challenge for administrators and teachers is when one student bullies another student online, but there is no connection to school computer use or an on-campus/off-campus nexus. They struggle when confronted by a parent of a student who is being bullied by another student at the school. Simply put, a distressed parent does not want to hear “The bully didn’t use a school computer, there is no nexus and therefore there is nothing we can do or required to do.”

In such situations, we do have some recommendations. First, we believe all schools should be preemptive and should teach all students, staff and parents about the different types of bullying, how to address it as a target, bystander, or parent, and consequences of bullying. This won’t stop all bullying from occurring, but can limit its affects.

Read more:

An Interactive Way to Teach Kids About Bullying

An Interactive Way to Teach Kids About Bullying

The Stop Bullying Now website is one of the most sophisticated sites I have found for teaching kids new social skills. The website uses a variety of animated cartoons, games, and informational pages to teach kids how to stand up to bullies, what to do when they witness bullies, and recognize bullying behavior in themselves. This is a great resource for parents as well as teachers and counselors.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Adina's Deck

Adina's Deck is the new, award winning DVD series about the fictional
detective club, "Adina's Deck" a group of friends who help solve
challenges current to today's young people. Currently, the DVD's are
being viewed internationally in Schools, Homes, and Organizations. In
addition, you can bring the Adina's Deck team to speak at venues Nationwide.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Department of Justice Unveils New PSAs To Combat Online Exploitation of Children

Department of Justice Unveils New PSAs To Combat Online Exploitation of Children

November 12, 2008

Know Where They Go PSA

On November 12, 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice issued the following press release:

Washington - The Department of Justice today unveiled an innovative national public service announcement (PSA) campaign to educate parents about the potential dangers that their children face online and, for the first time, warns potential online predators that exploiting a child online is a serious federal offense.

The four new PSAs were developed jointly by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and Project Safe Childhood partners INOBTR ("I Know Better"), iKeepSafe and the Hispanic Communications Network.

"One of our highest priorities at the Department of Justice is combating the sexual exploitation of children," said OJJDP Administrator J. Robert Flores. "Our message to parents is―know where your kids go on the Internet, and to would-be predators we say―your illegal activity will have lifelong consequences."

iKeepSafe developed one of the PSAs, entitled "Know Where They Go," to highlight the risks children face on the Internet. The PSA, illustrates how, in the digital world, children can travel anywhere and why it is important that parents monitor what sites their children visit and who they are talking to. Elements of this campaign include television, print, radio, and Web advertisements. For more on this PSA, please go to

INOBTR created a PSA entitled "Exploiting a Minor Is a Major Offense." This cutting-edge campaign is designed to warn potential online predators that exploiting a child online is a serious federal offense. Elements of this campaign include television, movie theaters, print, radio and Web banners. For more on this PSA, please go to

The Hispanic Communications Network (HCN) produced two separate series of Spanish-language PSAs for television, radio, print and the Web. The first targets parents, while the second targets potential predators. The potential predator PSA seeks to inform low-level offenders or individuals looking for child pornography images online or attempting communication with minors that law enforcement is actively pursuing them, and that their illegal activity could have lifetime consequences. Like the INOBTR ad, it gives a compelling message to stop and think about the consequences of this serious federal crime. The Spanish-language ads can be found on for the parent campaign and for the potential predator campaign. In addition, HCN produced an English-language short video for online distribution. The video, or Webisode, illustrates the dangers child! ren face online and urges parents to become informed and involved, and to supervise their children’s Internet and mobile phone activity.

Launched in May 2006, Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices, the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department's Criminal Division, and Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood and the public service announcements, please visit


An overview of the campaign with links to PSAs and other resources is available at


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Craigslist to crack down on prostitution ads

Craigslist to crack down on prostitution ads


By PAT EATON-ROBB – 1 day ago


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Under the watchful eye of law enforcement in 40 states, Craigslist pledged Thursday to crack down on ads for prostitution on its Web sites.


As part of Craigslist's agreement with attorneys general around the country, anyone who posts an "erotic services" ad will be required to provide a working phone number and pay a fee with a valid credit card. The Web site will provide that information to law enforcement if subpoenaed.


Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist's CEO, said the deal will allow legitimate escort services to continue advertising, while providing a strong disincentive to companies that are conducting illegal business.


Read more:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media is an invaluable resource for parents who want to know more about the media their kids are consuming. CSM offers detailed, clear-eyed reports on the content of movies, music, video games, and more, without resorting to rants or value judgments. You can write and submit those yourself! (They'll be posted in the reader reviews section, separated into "Adult Reviews" and "Kid Reviews.")

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TEACHERS' DESK | What's Up with Texting? A Teacher Asks Her Students to Clue Her In

TEACHERS’ DESK | What’s Up with Texting? A Teacher Asks Her Students to Clue Her In

By Allison Cohen


For most teenagers, texting has become an integrated part of their social networking.  It is, however, still a mystery and possibly a cause of concern for many parents and teachers not familiar with the phenomenon.


We see letters like “ttyl” and wonder what in the world these kids are saying (talk to you later). Teachers see kids who have become so adept at texting that they can send messages from the pocket of their pants to avoid detection, and we wonder what they are up to.


I recently had a conversation with about 90 of my students (all high school juniors and seniors) and asked them to give me the heads up on current texting practices.


Read more:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Judge: School was Right to Suspend Student over Fake MySpace Profile

by Andy Carvin


A court has ruled that a school was within its rights for suspending a student who created an offensive fake MySpace page for the school principal. The ruling brings together a number of legal precedents regarding the difficult question of what happens when students’ actions take place beyond the schoolhouse gate, but reverberate back through it.


Read more:

Felony charges for teen nude-photo sharer

from NetFamilyNews by Anne

A 15-year-old girl in Ohio has been arrested and charged for "taking nude cell phone photos of herself and sending them to high school classmates," reports. "On Monday, she entered denials to juvenile charges of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and possession of criminal tools. A spokeswoman for the Ohio attorney general's office says an adult convicted of the child pornography charge would have to register as a sexual offender, but a judge would have flexibility on the matter with a convicted juvenile." A prosecutor told Fox News that authorities are also considering charging students who received the photos. The girl spent the weekend in jail, the Arizona Republic reports. [Thanks to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for pointing out this story.]


Saturday, October 11, 2008

How do I unfriend someone on Facebook? :: Free Tech Support from Ask Dave Taylor!

Bullying of teenagers online is common, UCLA psychologists report / UCLA Newsroom

Kids Aren't Telling Parents About Cyberbullying

According to the latest UCLA study, 3 out of 4 teens were bullied online last year, yet only 1 in 10 reported it to their parents or another adult. The most common reason for not telling an adult, according to the teenagers, was that they felt they "need[ed] to learn to deal with it." In addition, 31% didn't tell their parents because they didn't want their Internet access restricted. UCLA Newsroom, 10/2/08

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bullying of teenagers online is common, UCLA psychologists report

Public release date: 2-Oct-2008

Contact: Stuart Wolpert
University of California - Los Angeles

Bullying of teenagers online is common, UCLA psychologists report

Nearly three in four teenagers say they were bullied online at least once during a recent 12-month period, and only one in 10 reported such cyber-bullying to parents or other adults, according to a new study by UCLA psychologists.

Of those who were bullied online, 85 percent also have been bullied at school, the psychologists found. The probability of getting bullied online was substantially higher for those who have been the victims of school bullying.

"Bullying affects millions of students and is not limited to school grounds," said lead study author Jaana Juvonen, a professor of psychology and chair of UCLA's developmental psychology program. "Bullying on the Internet looks similar to what kids do face-to-face in school. The Internet is not functioning as a separate environment but is connected with the social lives of kids in school. Our findings suggest that especially among heavy users of the Internet, cyber-bullying is a common experience, and the forms of online and in-school bullying are more alike than different."

The research is based on an anonymous Web-based survey of 1,454 participants between the ages of 12 and 17, who were recruited through a nationally popular teen website from August through October 2005. The psychologists' findings appear in the September issue of the Journal of School Health.

Forty-one percent of the teenagers surveyed reported between one and three online bullying incidents over the course of a year, 13 percent reported four to six incidents and 19 percent reported seven or more incidents, Juvonen said.

Many teenagers do not realize how many of their peers are being bullied online and think cyber-bullying happens much more to them than to others, she said.

"When kids start thinking, 'It's just happening to me,' they likely blame themselves, and once they do that, it increases their risk of depression," Juvonen said. "Kids don't know how common cyber-bullying is, even among their best friends. Cyber-bulling is not a plight of a few problematic children but a shared experience."

Why do so few teenagers tell their parents about being bullied online?

The most common reason for not telling an adult, cited by half the bullied participants, was that teens believe they "need to learn to deal with it." In addition, 31 percent reported that they do not tell because they are concerned their parents might restrict their Internet access. This concern was especially common among girls between the ages of 12 and 14, with 46 percent fearing restrictions, compared with 27 percent of boys in the same age group. One-third of 12-to-14-year-olds reported that they didn't tell an adult out of fear that they could get into trouble with their parents.

Many parents have little understanding of their children's Internet use.

"Many parents do not understand how vital the Internet is to their social lives," Juvonen said. "Parents can take detrimental action with good intentions, such as trying to protect their children by not letting them use the Internet at all. That is not likely to help parent-teen relationships or the social lives of their children."

Most children are using the Internet mainly to connect with friends, not to meet new people, previous research has shown.

"Kids are mainly using the Internet to maintain relationships like we used to in the old days when we called a friend or walked to someone's house," Juvonen said. "It's a way for kids to maintain connections with their friends."

Seventy-three percent of the participants who reported being cyber-bullied said they knew, or were pretty sure they knew, who was doing the bullying.

"This finding is counter to the prevalent myth that cyber-bullying is anonymous," Juvonen said.

The research does not support the assumption that the Internet is dramatically changing the nature of bullying.

Of those participants who experienced bullying, 51 percent said the bullying was done by schoolmates, 43 percent said they were bullied by someone they knew only online and 20 percent said they were bullied by someone they knew, but who was not from school.

The most prevalent forms of bullying online and in school involved name-calling or insults. Password theft was the next most common cyber-bullying tactic. Bullying also includes threats, sending embarrassing pictures, sharing private information without permission and spreading nasty rumors.

Both in-school and online bullying experiences were independently associated with increased social anxiety, said UCLA psychology research fellow Elisheva Gross, co-author of the study and co-president of Barnraising Inc., a new media and art education and youth-development company.

Electronic communication devices are not the cause of problem behavior among teenagers but are tools that can be used to interact with peers in both antisocial and healthy ways, Juvonen said.

Parents and other adults may overestimate the risk of bullying online and downplay the risk of bullying in school, said Juvonen, who recommends that schools try to reduce both. Schools are getting better at taking action to reduce bullying — including teaching students strategies for coping with and responding to bullying — and some of them address cyber-bullying as well, she said.

"There is no reason why cyber-bullying should be 'beyond' the school's responsibility to address," Juvonen said. "Rather, it seems that schools need to enforce intolerance of any intimidation among students, regardless of whether it takes place on or beyond the school grounds."

Many children are using the Internet in the privacy of their bedrooms, which Juvonen does not consider a good idea, because it makes it harder for parents to monitor.

While name-calling and spreading rumors may look rather benign, children often find them hurtful, Juvonen and Gross said.

In research from 2005 by Juvonen and Adrienne Nishina, an assistant professor of human development at the University of California, Davis, nearly half the sixth graders at two Los Angeles-area public schools said they were bullied by classmates during a five-day period.

"Bullying is a problem that large numbers of kids confront on a daily basis at school; it's not just an issue for the few unfortunate ones," Juvonen said.

The earlier research by Juvonen and Nishina showed that children are emotionally affected on the days they get picked on. The students who were beat up and those who were called names were equally bothered.

"Students reported feeling humiliated, anxious or disliking school on days when they reported incidents, which shows there is no such thing as 'harmless' name-calling or an 'innocent' punch," Juvonen said.

Bullying occurs across ethnic groups and income brackets, said Gross, who has received funding from the UCLA Children's Digital Media Center.

In another 2005 study, Nishina and Juvonen reported that middle school students who are bullied in school are likely to feel depressed, lonely and miserable, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to further bullying incidents. Harassment at school interferes with the ability to learn and makes many students want to withdraw, Juvonen said.

Children who are embarrassed or humiliated about being bullied in school are unlikely to discuss it with their parents or teacher, Juvonen and Nishina found. Instead, they are more likely to suffer in silence and dislike school.

Juvonen advises parents to talk with their children about bullying before it ever happens, pay attention to changes in their children's behavior and take their concerns seriously.

Students who get bullied often have headaches, colds and other physical illnesses, as well as psychological problems.

Of the 1,454 participants in the recent survey, 75 percent were female, 66 percent were Caucasian, 12 percent were African American, 9 percent were Latino/Hispanic and 5 percent were Asian American. All 50 states were represented.


UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 323 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize. For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom.


NetFamilyNews: 'Cyberbullying' better defined

'Cyberbullying' better defined

This is important, people, because we've heard the one-third-of-US-teens-have-been-cyberbullied figure a lot (I've shared it too), and it's not in the best interests of online youth for the now-subsiding predator panic to suddenly now turn into a cyberbully panic. It's not that the one-third figure, arrived at by two highly credible sources (Pew Internet & American Life and Profs. Patchin and Hinduja) is wrong, of course; it's that "cyberbullying" really needs to be more clearly defined. Are all those kids actually bullied?

Read more:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Free Children's Internet Safety Webinar

Creating iLANDS™ of Safety for Kids Online




Free Children’s Internet Safety Webinar

Thursday, September 25th

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. est


Guest Speaker Debbie Johnston, People Magazine’s “Hero Among Us”

Join this mom, teacher and internet safety advocate to learn how to

protect your child from online dangers


Thousands of children a year are victims of cyber bullying, on line predators and exposure to unwelcome content, yet the internet is crucial to our children’s future success.


A true solution is needed


In this free online conference (“webinar”) participants will learn how to:


Stop cyber bullies


Protect children from online predators


Prevent inappropriate material from reaching children online


Give children FREE and SAFE access to the benefits of the internet


Participate in a live Q&A with Debbie Johnston and other experts



To Join This Free Webinar go to

on Thursday, September 25th   At 2:00 p.m.



R.S.V.P.s are appreciated to



No special equipment or software is needed other than your computer and speakers. During the webinar your computer may prompt you to download the latest version of Flash Player.


Future live re-broadcasts will be announced at


Brought to you by and  1-877-iLAND5-0




Monday, September 22, 2008

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum do you do with a drunken pirate? Throw her in the brig--or, if you're Millersville University, deny her a teaching degree. That's what happened to Stacey Snyder, a then-27-year-old student teacher who posted a self portrait to her MySpace page under the caption "drunk pirate," even though it was not clear from the photo exactly what liquid was in her plastic cup. The Pennsylvania-based university decided the picture was "unprofessional" enough to rescind Snyder's degree, just days before it was to be awarded in May 2006. Snyder sued the university in federal court, claiming it violated her First Amendment rights (not to mention, of course, her Right to Paaaaar-tay). As of publication date of this story, that suit is still active.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Texting

By Jace Galloway-Shoemaker

What Is Texting?

Texting is a form of wireless communication where users send or receive short, digital messages electronically.  Texting is also known as SMS (Short Message Service).  Although the bulk of texting is done via mobile-to-mobile devices, websites and companies are also jumping on the bandwagon.  Some companies allow users to “web text” by sending and receiving text messages to mobile devices from their computers.  Many provide the service for free. 

Read more:

Wakulla County Schools Offer iLANDS of Safety for Kids Online


Editor's Contact: Linda Chaney, LLC
Tel: 1-877-ILAND5-0
Cell: 727-481-0096

Wakulla County Schools Offer iLANDS of Safety for Kids Online
First Free, Safe Children's Website.

August 6, 2008

Clearwater, FL, August 6, 2008…SafeWave LLC, creators of, a
new children's internet safety network, announced today that the Wakulla
County school system has taken a proactive role in offering the secure
network to their student body.

Last year the Wakulla County school system joined the Attorney General's
cyber safety program and is now delivering that commitment within the
school walls to protect their students on line. Florida is among a long
list of Attorney Generals nationwide who look favorably on this solution
to protect children on line. was launched just a little over
a year ago and currently has schools in four states, and children as far
away as the UK as part of their secure network. is the only free network to offer children ages 5-18, five,
age appropriate "iLANDS" to explore fun and educational games, enjoy
protected socializing with other children their age, homework help, art
and many other activities.

Unique to is the security process that only requires a
school's verification of the child's age and identity to access the
website. Predators cannot pose as children on Once assigned
an age appropriate iLAND, children can't be exposed to inappropriate
material or conversations. The iLANDS are monitored by filters and "eyes
on" to prevent bullying or other unwelcome advances. Additionally, links
taking children off the secured iLANDS are not available. They are safe
on their iLAND, free to play, explore, learn and interact with other
children their age worldwide at home and in school.

"We welcome this partnership to help our schools overcome the threats
that sites like MySpace pose, particularly cyber bullying which is also
a disruptive force in their education" says Alan K. Rosier, Director for
Technology Services Wakulla County School Board. Mr. Rosier was
instrumental in bringing the iLAND5 network to the seven schools in the
Wakulla County School system. "The internet is an important part of a
child's learning, but we must protect them from the unsavory side of the
internet" says Mr. Rosier.
Headquartered in Pinellas County, Florida, created the
iLAND5 network in response to the seriousness of online predators and
the growing scholastic and parental concern for children's online safety.

"This is not just filtering software, or a program of pre-selected
choices" says Randy Stafford, President of, former school
psychologist and contributing developer of the site's content.
" offers a dynamic, environment on a secured website that
promotes healthy social, emotional and intellectual development of
children – and kids think it's fun!"

Earlier this year, Florida Governor Crist signed "Jeff's Law" requiring
schools to deliver cyber bullying prevention and education programs to
their staff and students or risk loosing certain state funding. Debbie
Johnston, initiator of Jeff's Law, recently joined at the
National PTA Leadership Conference to introduce "Cyber
bullying is a pandemic that must be addressed by schools and parents"
says the mother, teacher, and internet safety advocate. "I believe helps schools and parents work together to stop cyber
bullying and other on line dangers."

By age 14, 77% of children have been contacted by a predator. Only 25%
of those children tell their parents. Thousands of children a year
succumb to cyber bullying by taking their own lives.

"We applaud the proactive efforts of the Wakulla County school system to
protect kids at school. The single most important thing parents can do
to protect their kids on line at home is to put them on" says
Safe Wave LLC founder and CEO Steve Schechner.

The company's mission is: To provide a free, safe and secure
collaborative network for students, protecting them from inappropriate
or harmful influences. The network promotes creative individualism, fun
educational activities, fiscal responsibilities and community
involvement in a safe and secure social environment between peers.

Visit to register your child or school, or call
1-877-iLAND5-0 for more information.

Additionally, is hosting a free webinar "Creating iLANDS of
Safety For Kids Online" including guest speaker Debbie Johnston on
September 25th at 2:00 p.m. EST. Reservations can be made at


Monday, September 1, 2008

Sticks and stones: A new study on social and physical pain

Public release date: 27-Aug-2008

Contact: Catherine West


Association for Psychological Science

Sticks and stones: A new study on social and physical pain


We all know the famous saying: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," but is this proverb actually true?


According to some researchers, words may pack a harder punch that we realize. Psychologists Zhansheng Chen and Kipling D. Williams of Purdue University, Julie Fitness of Macquarie University, and Nicola C. Newton of the University of New South Wales found that the pain of physical events may fade with time, while the pain of social occurrences can be re-instantiated through memory retrievals.


The researchers set up four experiments to demonstrate this finding. In the first two experiments, participants reported the amount of pain they felt while trying to relive a physically or a socially painful experience. After writing detailed accounts of each experience, the participants reported how they felt.


The last two experiments were similar to the first two, except participants were asked to work on some cognitive tasks with different levels of difficulty after reliving a socially or physically painful event.


The results, published in the August issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, are clear. Participants who had to recall a socially painful experience reported stronger feelings of pain and relived the experience more intensely than those who had to recall a physically painful event. Furthermore, participants who only had to recall a physically painful event performed better on the difficult mental tasks in comparison to those who had to relive a socially painful event.


A possible explanation for these results could be the evolution of the human brain, specifically in an area called the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for complex thinking, perception and language processing.


"The evolution of the cerebral cortex certainly improved the ability of human beings to create and adapt; to function in and with groups, communities, and culture; and to respond to pain associated with social interactions," the authors wrote. "However, the cerebral cortex may also have had an unintended effect of allowing humans to relive, re-experience, and suffer from social pain."




Author Contact: Zhansheng Chen


Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. For a copy of the article "When Hurt Will Not Heal: Exploring the Capacity to Relive Social and Physical Pain" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Catherine West at 202-293-9300 or

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Electronic Media and Youth Violence: A CDC Issue Brief for Educators and Caregivers

Electronic Media and Youth Violence: A CDC Issue Brief for Educators and Caregivers focuses on the phenomena of electronic aggression. Electronic aggression is defined as any kind of harassment or bullying that occurs through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, blogs, or text messaging. The brief summarizes what is known about young people and electronic aggression, provides strategies for addressing the issue with young people, and discusses the implications for school staff, education policy makers, and parents and caregivers.

Cyberbullying: Bigger Threat Than Sexual Predators?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Teens support making it illegal to cyberbully



Katie Neu takes her high school courses from home. It's been two years since she walked out of her high school after being cyberbullied so much that she felt forced to leave.


Neu, 16, was threatened over instant messaging programs. Her peers called her names in e-mails after rumours about her spread around the school. She received messages and e-mails accusing her of faking a broken arm.


I had enough of people trying to hurt me and harass me," said Neu from her home in Listowel, Ont. I'll probably have to do it myself, but I want to see all forms of bullying illegal."


An announcement from the Canadian Teachers' Federation calling for the addition of cyberbullying to the Criminal Code has brought Neu's hopes one step closer to reality.


Read more:

Wireless services add more parental controls - Back to School-

Wireless services add more parental controls - Back to School-

ABC News: Appeals court affirms COPA violates First Amendment

ABC News: Appeals court affirms COPA violates First Amendment

Digital Ethnography » Blog Archive » “An anthropological introduction to YouTube” video of Library of Congress presentation

Digital Ethnography » Blog Archive » “An anthropological introduction to YouTube” video of Library of Congress presentation

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Take action to keep children safe online |

Know how to protect against bullies, predators

July 30, 2008

Most children have access to computers. It's important that we as parents learn about keeping them safe in the world of "instant access" to people, pictures and information.

Russell Sabella of Florida Gulf Coast University recently wrote an excellent article for parents and school counselors on this subject. In it he gives useful information about many tech safety issues.

Read more:

Saturday, July 26, 2008


MySpace: "MySpace joined with iKeepSafe to release a broadcast PSA geared at encouraging parents to talk with teens about their Internet use and help them to make smart decisions to be safe online. MySpace’s belief is that parents are equipped with the know-how and ability to talk with their teens about appropriate and safe behavior, but need to extend the conversation to online activities."

Friday, July 25, 2008

DFI the Odds

What kind of DFI (Digital First Impression) do you (or your kids) make?

Bullying-suicide link explored in new study by researchers at Yale


Public release date: 17-Jul-2008

Contact: Karen N. Peart
Yale University

Bullying-suicide link explored in new study by researchers at Yale

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have found signs of an apparent connection between bullying, being bullied and suicide in children, according to a new review of studies from 13 countries published in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health.

"While there is no definitive evidence that bullying makes kids more likely to kill themselves, now that we see there's a likely association, we can act on it and try to prevent it," said review lead author Young-Shin Kim, M.D., assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine's Child Study Center.

In the review, Kim and colleague Bennett Leventhal, M.D., analyzed 37 studies that examined bullying and suicide among children and adolescents. The studies took place in the United States, Canada, several European countries (including the United Kingdom and Germany), South Korea, Japan and South Africa.

Almost all of the studies found connections between being bullied and suicidal thoughts among children. Five reported that bullying victims were two to nine times more likely to report suicidal thoughts than other children were.

Not just the victims were in danger: "The perpetrators who are the bullies also have an increased risk for suicidal behaviors," Kim said.

However, the way the studies were designed made it impossible for researchers to determine conclusively whether bullying leads to suicide, Kim said. In addition, the authors report that most of the studies failed to take into account the influence of factors like gender, psychiatric problems and a history of suicide attempts.

Kim said her interest in bullying grew several years ago when she visited South Korea and heard several new slang terms referring to bullies and their victims. The words reflected "an elaborated system of bullying," she said.

According to international studies, bullying is common and affects anywhere from 9 percent to 54 percent of children. In the United States, many have blamed bullying for spurring acts of violence, including the Columbine High School massacre.

In the United States, many adults scoff at bullying and say, "Oh, that's what happens when kids are growing up," according to Kim, who argues that bullying is serious and causes major problems for children.

Kim is currently studying whether being bullied actually leads to suicide, although she acknowledges it will be difficult for researchers to get a firm grasp on a cause-and-effect relationship. She said that to confirm a definitive link, researchers would have to rule out the possibility that some unknown factor makes certain children more susceptible to both bullying and suicide.

For now, Kim said, the existing research should encourage adults to pay more attention to bullying and signs of suicidal behavior in children. "When we see kids who are targets of bullying, we should ask them if they're thinking about hurting themselves," she said. "We should evaluate and prevent these things from happening."


Citation: Int J Adolesc Med Health 20 (2), 2008.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Information Sought for CDC Review of School Policies on E-Bullying

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is conducting a review of state, district, and school policies related to the use of such technology as cell phone text messaging and picture taking, blogs, and instant messaging to perpetrate aggression against peers (making threats, spreading rumors, sending embarrassing photos, etc.)

CDC has requested that districts or schools that have such a policy provide it or the appropriate contact information to Marci Hertz at or 770-488-2547 by August 1, 2008.


Keeping Kids Out of High-Tech Trouble

Dear Educator,

Please feel free to include this column about Technology Safety in your next newsletter to parents.

Thank you,
Russ Sabella, Ph.D.

Download this column as a Word document.
Download the book cover here.
Download a high quality photo of Russ Sabella here.

©2008, All Rights Reserved.
Permission granted to reproduce without alteration
and only in its entirety.

Keeping Kids Out of High-Tech Trouble

Russell A. Sabella, Ph.D.

            In the real world, we as adults can set up physical boundaries to help us contain our children to spaces we deem safe. When we take them to the park, we make sure our kids stay inside the fence. When we visit a video store, we stick with the children's section and we don't let them venture into the back room toward the adult videos. Schools have hallways, some have fences, and they all have procedures for making sure that kids get from one place to the other while being supervised and monitored. At home, we activate our alarm systems at night to ward off intruders. Other boundaries in the form of rules exist. We don't allow our children to play beyond a certain perimeter in our neighborhoods or communities. We wouldn't take them with us to a night club where adult activities take place. There are laws in place so that our children cannot simply go to a convenience store and purchase alcohol, tobacco, or adult magazines. If an underage child or minor takes a flight, an attendant escorts him the entire way and checks for identification when delivering the child to his destination.

            Technology has at least blurred if not eliminated these real world boundaries. The Internet and other high-tech gadgets have essentially introduced a high-speed interstate upon which we all travel yet a driver's license is not necessarily required. Road signs are unclear or non-existent. The small number of "rules of the road" are not typically enforced and the "strip joints" are right next door to the ice cream shops. Very few people verify a "driver's" age and traffic occurs at all hours of the day and night. The Internet connected computer in particular has become a potential "back door" for children (and others) to enter or exit our homes as they please.

            I believe that parenting has always been a tough job although I think you would agree (even the elders I talk too agree) that it is tougher now than ever before. The world is truly getting smaller and moving faster, in large part due to technology that has bridged great divides and has afforded the power of large companies to the individual. The world is changing and its changing fast. As parents we want to help our children take advantage of these tools in a way that bests advances their development. There are more “bases” to cover in the course of supervision. There are many more options for us to consider when making decisions about how our children achieve. More now than ever before, we need to stay focused and goal oriented in a world that is chaotic and uncertain. We need to realize that “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Just because you can watch 300 channels of television, doesn’t mean you should increase the amount of time you watch television. Just because you can share your information with the rest of the world in the blink of an eye doesn’t mean that you should. Just because you can receive a call from anywhere and at any time doesn’t mean you should answer it.

            In many households, children are more technologically literate than their parents or guardians. This makes sense. Children are growing up in this high-tech world. They have been immersed in rapid technological developments and have grown quite accustomed to change. In contrast, their parents and other care takers grew up in a different world and have been forced to adapt. For many adults, adapting to the amazing changes brought on by technology has come with fear, avoidance, and certainly stress. This has created an imbalance between kids who are "in the know" and their parents/care takers whom are "in the dark." And because technological literacy in our current information age translates into power, kids are in some ways more powerful than their parents. This is not good. Parents are entrusted to provide appropriate structure, guidance, supervision, and much more in the course of caring for their children. Yet, a lack of understanding about technology has compromised their ability to do just that.

            My latest book, A Practical Guide to Keeping Kids Out of High-Tech Trouble, is designed to empower parents, educators, and other care takers by better understanding the technology terrain. Readers will be better able to help children safely and securely navigate a minefield of inappropriate and risky situations. From podcasts to porn, cyberbullying to cell phones, this new book helps readers to understand the risks that emerge when high-tech tools, uninformed parents, and exuberant youth collide. For instance, did you know:

      Pornography is not just for computers anymore. One can now also download porn via gadgets such as Play Station Portables (PSP), iPods, and even cell phones. Children can also trade or share an array of inappropriate media via their gadgets via wireless, bluetooth, or cell phone connections.

      Cyberbullying is a relatively new problem that is facing our computer savvy students which involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal web sites, and defamatory online personal polling web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others. Cyberbullying is a very serious problem that can have fatal consequences (e.g., see or

      Some children are using the photo and video features of their cell phones to record and send inappropriate (and perhaps illegal) content. These include photos and/or videos of girls' underwear (i.e., upskirting), sexual activity, nudity, or pages from a school exam or other protected materials. These files can easily be posted on websites and shared among many friends.

      Some children are showing signs of technology based addictions such as with gaming, shopping, social networking, gambling, auctions, and simple surfing.

      Parents are being held liable for pirating of music and software, especially using P2P networks such as BearShare, LimeWire, Morpheus, Kazaa, eMule, and Grokster (to name a very few).

      When children disclose personal information or voice their (sometimes exuberant) opinions, they may also jeopardize themselves or others in yet another way. You see, most everything posted on any website today may possibly, and will probably be accessible for all of time. Information shared with others via listserv, websites, IM, blogs, and other media is typically stored in massive databases, indexed, and easily retrievable for future reference. Also, once something is sent or posted to someone else, it essentially becomes public domain. That is, the content can be copied, download, and passed on to others without permission of the original owner, right or wrong, whether the owner likes it or not. You or your child may believe that what you communicate today is "no big deal" although, tomorrow, the same information could be considered ammunition by others to use against you or your loved ones.

      I think we all know that content on the World Wide Web meets with very little censorship. In the United States and some other countries, no other communication medium compares to the Internet for how rigorously people have exercised their right to freedom of speech. However, I'm not sure you appreciate the extent to which this is true. On the web, anyone can easily and quickly access content that promotes and supports activities such as suicide, eating disorders, self-injury, violence and racism.

      Podcasting, in its basic form, involves creating audio files (most commonly in MP3 format) and making them available online in a way that allows users to automatically download the files for listening at their convenience (i.e., subscribing to the podcast). After subscribing to the podcast, future "broadcasts" automatically download to your computer, which can then be transferred easily to a handheld such as a Palm OS Handheld, a Pocket PC, cell phone, or an iPod - hence, the name Podcast. In essence, anyone with a computer, Internet access, free software, and a microphone can turn their computer into a personal studio and produce their very own radio show/program. Pornographers, bigots, bullies, and others have also discovered podcasts as a powerful method for disseminating information. This information is mostly audio although video podcasts or V-casts are quickly picking up momentum. Anyone who has the knowledge, including children, can easily access (and/or produce) a wide range of smut or obscene matter.

Also included in the book,, are two full chapters that describe various solutions that we can take to reduce high-tech risks among our children. For example:

      First and foremost, develop an ongoing relationship with your child that supports collaborative exploration and learning about technology. Also, help your child to trust you and communicate potentially problematic activity by not "flipping out." That is, stay calm and rational when dealing with technology related problems. Be curious instead of confrontational.

      Support your child's school in teaching the skills, knowledge, and attitudes included in technology/media literacy. You can download a basic child-parent agreement at

     Keep your home computer in a location that is easily viewable.

      Turn on the Safe Filtering mode on your search engines. In addition, use other filtering/blocking software such as Cybersitter (which I use and highly recommend). Another option to consider is to investigate and choose a "Family Friendly" Internet Service Provider (ISP) (read more by visiting

      If you choose to give your child a cell phone, purchase one that is "child friendly." That is, users of this phone can only send and receive calls from others approved by parents.

      Gain personal and practical experience of various technologies so you can listen and talk with your children with authority. That is, become more technologically literate yourself. For example, set up your own account and learn how it is used.

      Visit for helpful resources and materials.

In essence, technology provides us with tools to help us accomplish our work more effectively and efficiently beyond what we can do without it. Computers, cell phones, gaming devices, iPods, and other gadgets help us to stay connected, have fun, and better learn. Such power, however, comes with great responsibility and sometimes at a premium price. We must all make certain that we are using high-tech tools responsibly for ourselves and our society. We must ensure that our children understand how to embrace the tools of the 21st century in a manner that is safe and secure. Technological literacy for adults and children alike will help us to make decisions that are right and realistic. It is important that we each make a personal commitment and take the time to evaluate the use and impact of technology in the lives of our families. Then, with great care, it is critical that we appropriately learn, teach, monitor, and supervise so that we may appropriately guard our kids from high-tech trouble.

With technology, we can do many things. However, just because we can, doesn't mean we should.




Dr. Russell A. Sabella is currently a Professor of Counseling in the College of Education, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida and President of Sabella & Associates, LLC, an Educational Consulting, Training and Development practice.

Russ is author of numerous articles published in journals, magazines, and newsletters. He is co-author of two books entitled Confronting Sexual Harassment: Learning Activities for Teens (Educational Media; 1995) and Counseling in the 21st Century: Using Technology to Improve Practice (American Counseling Association; 2004). He is also author of several other books including the popular A Friendly and Practical Guide to the World Wide Web (2nd edition; Educational Media; 2003), A Practical Guide to Keeping Kids Out of High-Tech Trouble (2008, Educational Media Corporation), and School counseling principles: Foundations and basics (2007: American School Counselor Association).

Dr. Sabella is well-known for his numerous trainings including the Technology Boot Camp for Counselors, Solution Focused Brief Counseling, and Datability conducted throughout the country. Russ has trained and consulted with thousands of school counselors, educators, parents, and organizational leaders throughout the country. Dr. Sabella is past President (2003-2004) of the of the American School Counselor Association.




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