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Friday, September 28, 2012

Prom queen prank backfires as community rallies


Prom queen prank backfires as community rallies

Students at Ogemaw Heights High School in West
Photo credit: AP | Students at Ogemaw Heights High School in West Branch, Michigan pranked Whiney Kropp, 16, by nominating her to the homecoming court. (Sept. 19, 2012)
WEST BRANCH, Mich. - A Michigan community is trying to make things right after a 16-year-old girl was named to a high school homecoming court as part of an apparent prank.
Whitney Kropp told WNEM-TV she felt betrayed after some of her classmates at West Branch's Ogemaw Heights High School suggested that her selection announced this month at the 800-student school was a joke. She said she had been picked on in the past, but it intensified afterward.
"I thought I wasn't worthy at Ogemaw Heights at all," she said.
As word spread, however, community members rallied behind the sophomore. She's expected appear at Friday's homecoming football game. And The Detroit News reports businesses will buy her dinner, take her photo, fix her hair and nails, and dress her in a gown, shoes and a tiara for Saturday's dance.
Whitney's mother Bernice Kropp said the support has helped make a bad situation right in the community about 140 miles northwest of Detroit.
"This was something that was really awful, could have ended awful, and because so many people came together, it just turned right around," she said.
Jamie Kline, 35, started a Facebook support page, which drew hundreds of messages of encouragement. Shannon Champagne, 28, and another beauty salon worker offered their services and asked other businesses to do the same. And Donny Winter, an Ogemaw Heights graduate, made a YouTube video to show his support.
"Bullying cannot be resolved by silence, it has to be resolved by actually stating what's happening and actually saying it's wrong," Winter said.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cyberbulling infographic.

Click to enlarge. Source: Power to Learn


12 Things Your Kids Should Never Do on Social Media

Source: Digital Smarts Blog

Ok, you have probably been over it again and again with them, but here is a succinct article on the subject of the 12 things that students should never do on a social media site. It is a good reminder that even if their profile settings are set to private, you never know who is watching, reading, listening, and worst of all downloading, things your children would not want spread around.

Maily - A Safe & Fun Email Application for Kids

Maily - A Safe & Fun Email Application for Kids:
Maily is a free iPad app that provides young children with a safe and fun way to send emails to parents and selected family members. To use Maily parents have to create accounts for their children. Parents select and add contacts for their children. After the account is created children can then send and receive emails only from the people that their parents have added to their children's contacts list. The user interface that children see in Maily is very kid-friendly. Using Maily children can draw pictures, use templates to create emails, and or upload pictures to send. To send an email children click the send button and the select the image of the person to they want to receive their messages.
The video below provides a good overview of Maily. Introducing Maily for iPad from Maily on Vimeo. Applications for Education Using Maily could be a great way to introduce young children to email in a safe environment. You could use the Maily app to have students send weekly emails to their parents about what they did in your classroom each week.
This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers .

Teens are learning distracted driving behavior from parents

Sep 18, 2012 4:00 PM
Risky driving behavior by teenagers is too often learned through observing their parents, according to a new survey. About 90 percent of the teens report observing their parents talking on a cell phone while driving, while 88 percent said they saw them speed.
Conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), the survey of 1,700 11th and 12th graders finds these teens witness frequent, dangerous driving behavior by their parents. And the teens mimic these bad practices.
Talking on cell phone while driving
Driving without a seat belt
Driving under the influence of alcohol
Driving under the influence of marijuana

"The best teacher for a teen driver is a good parental role model," says Stephen Wallace, senior advisor for policy, research and education at SADD.
Whether you're a parent, friend, or sibling, set a good example. Stop the car in a safe place if you need to use a cell phone. And if you're riding with a driver compelled to talk or text with a phone, offer to do it for them. Using a phone behind the wheel can be tempting, but the risks are real and truly not worth it.
Driving under the influence or not wearing a seatbelt are foolish choices. These are not new risks and the consequences are well established. Any responsible driver knows better.
For more information, visit our guide to distracted driving
—Jeff Bartlett

Austin Police Department & LGPOA-Austin - It Gets Better HD

The Lesbian & Gay Peace Officers Association produced a video comprising of LGBT officers and civilian members of the Austin Police Department to send a message to LGBTQ youth that it does get better. This is part of the It Gets Better Project ( and The Trevor Project ( to reach out to LGBTQ youth who may be struggling due to bullying, harassment, and non-acceptance, and who may be thinking of committing suicide. Our message is to let those youth know that even though it is difficult today, tomorrow will bring hope, love, and life. We are here to help you make it there!

If you are considering suicide or need help, call the Trevor Project now: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).

The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach — if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better. The website is a place where young people who are lesbian, gay, bi, or trans can see how love and happiness can be a reality in their future. It's a place where straight allies can visit and support their friends and family members. It's a place where people can share their stories, take the It Gets Better Project pledge, watch videos of love and support, and seek help. Take the pledge to help make it better for others.

Should educators and students "friend" each other online?

Dr. Sameer Hinduja: Not at all. "Online communication tends to lead to candid sharing of world views and self-disclosure...Then you think of a teenager on a very vulnerable, lonely night, dropping you a message; and (the educator) wanting to encourage them, it could be read the wrong way...In this sort of society, we've got to be all about propriety...

Dr. Justin Patchin:  Maybe.  "The key in any environment to the way teachers interact with students is boundaries...If you have a social networking page that is completely professional — where you separate out your friends from your students — then I think it's completely appropriate.  But it's all about boundaries.  To assume that teachers are automatically going to be crossing those boundaries is unfair, I think, to most teachers..."


Click here to view Dr. Patchin &Dr. Hinduja.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

'Sexting' may go hand-in-hand with unprotected sex among teens

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who "sext" sexually explicit texts or images are probably taking other sexual risks as well, with new research indicating these adolescents are seven times more likely to be sexually active and significantly more apt to be having unprotected sex.

Analyzing self-reported behaviors of more than 1,800 Los Angeles students aged 12 to 18 (most were between 14 and 17), researchers found that 15 percent with cell phones acknowledged sexting and 54 percent knew someone who had sent a sext. Rarely was sexting the only sexually risky behavior involved.

Continue reading ... 

Embracing Good News on Children's Safety

The new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics showing a 68 percent decline since 1993 in children's direct and indirect violent crime exposure is not the first or only good news about children and crime.

Other recent reports have highlighted major declines in sexual abuse and caregiver physical abuse. Surveys have shown that school safety has improved dramatically. Bullying, in spite of the new attention has been receiving, has been on the wane.

Read more.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sexting on the Rise for Millennials: Why We Need to Get Beyond OMG and WTF in Research

If you weren’t familiar with sexting beforeAnthony Weiner — sending sexually explicit messages or photos via text —  you might have gotten an eyeful watching the first season ofGirlsEven Merriam-Webster has officially recognized that sexting happens. Now, a new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics has found that 15% of teens with cell phones report sexting, while 54% say they know someone who sexts.
Read more here.

United States Gang Used Social Media In Teen Prostitution Scheme

United States Gang Used Social Media In Teen Prostitution Scheme

17:44, September 20, 2012

A violent gang in Virginia used social media sites to recruit high-school girls for prostitution, the FBI reports. The leader of the gang, 27-year-old Justin Strom, was sentenced to 40 years in prison last week for his role in orchestrating the enterprise during a three-year period ending in March, 2012.  Four other defendants, all of whom pleaded guilty, were sentenced to a total of 53 years.

Read more here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

What Do Educators Need to Know About Cyberbullying?

The new issue of ASCD’s Policy and Priorities includes the article “What Do Educators Need to Know About Cyberbullying?” which explains just what cyberbullying entails and identifies student groups most at risk. It also offers tips and strategies to those being cyberbullied as well as parents and educators.

Source: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Facebook Activity Log

Facebook has a new feature as of two weeks ago called the "activity log" located on your wall (to the right of your FB name).  Click "activity log" (it goes all the way back to the day you signed up) and for each activity select who can see that activity). Only you can see this. Take a few minutes to review and choose who gets to see what. Here is more:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Calming Parental Anxiety While Empowering Our Digital Youth

Book Review: Stand Up

Stand Up is a bullying prevention book, written by Lisa Roth, M.D. and Karen Siris, Ed.D that presents an incredibly effective new way to think about bullying prevention - focusing attention of the actions of those who witness hurtful acts occurring.

While there has been some focus on the role of "bystanders" (a term I do not like because it sometimes implies "standing by" and doing nothing), there has not been all that much focus on what students can effectively do if they witness these hurtful situations. In fact, there also only been limited research in this area. But from this research, we are beginning to understand that two of the critical personal factors to encouraging students to intervene are a sense of personal responsibility for the well-being of others and social self-efficacy, in other words knowing what to do that would be safe and effective. Another very critical factor is the perception of peer norms -- the recognition that the vast majority of students do not like to see bullying occur and really look up to those who positively intervene.

In this regard, Stand Up has hit the "bull's eye" in target for effective bullying prevention at the elementary school level. The story involves a young student who witnesses and is concerned about the bullying he sees. As he is trying to figure out what to do, he notices that some other students were being helpful to students. So he pulls together a "summit" meeting on the monkey bars to bring together the students who do care to create a Caring Majority - "We are a group of kids that care." They plot a strategy to eat lunch with the girl who is being bullied (reaching out to be kind and inclusive). When the student who was being hurtful says something mean, they tell  him to "Stop"
(saying stop) and essentially take his power away. The next day the boy who was being hurtful apologizes - so the result is not getting rid of the student engaged in bullying, but a focus on making things right and restoration.

This incredibly powerful book features an approach to bullying prevention that Karen Siris, an elementary principal, has been using in her school, called the Caring Majority. The book includes a teacher's guide that is essentially a bullying prevention manual. This book is available through Amazon.

Review written by Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D., author of Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats (Research Press) and creator of a new bullying prevention program directed at middle and high school students, called Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand (

Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Embrace Civility (a program of Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use)

Author of:
Cyber Savvy: Embracing Digital Safety and Civility (2011, Corwin Press) Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Cruelty, Threats, and Distress (2007, Research Press) Cyber Safe Kids, Cyber Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the Internet in a Safe and responsible Manner (2007, Jossey Bass)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cyber-Bullying Webinar - What’s Different, and What’s Not, about Meanness and Cruelty Online

Cyber-Bullying Webinar - What’s Different, and What’s Not, about Meanness and Cruelty Online

Event Date:09/12/2012Event Fee:No Fee
Event Time:4pm EST

As a new phenomenon, cyber-bullying has captured the attention of the media, and many school districts and state legislatures are wrestling with how best to deal with this high-visibility issue.

Hosted by Justin Reich, Education Week blogger and Facing History’s Director of Online Community, Practice, and Research.

In this session, we will learn about what emerging research has to say about what cyberbullying is, how often it occurs, how it differs and interacts with activity in the physical world, and what new research suggests about how best to address these issues.

We’ll be joined by several panelists with expertise in bullying and online safety, including Anne Collier, the founder , co-chair of the Obama administration Online Safety and Technical Working Group, and member of the Facebook Safety Advisory Board; Carrie James, Research Director for the Trust and Trustworthiness and GoodPlay project at Harvard's Project ZeroKatie Davis, Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Youth at the Information School at the University of Washington whose research looks at digital youth, adolescent development, and civic engagement; and Alice Marwick is an Assistant Professor in Media Studies at Fordham University, and she has conducted extensive field research with teens about their perceptions of bullying, drama, meanness, and cruelty.

Webinar attendees will leave with a better understanding of cyber-bullying and new approaches to consider in schools and classrooms. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cyberbullying not as rampant as thought, study suggests

In a presentation late last week to American Psychological Association, two nationally representative surveys totaling nearly 5,000 pre-teens and teens found that 15 percent said they’d been bullied on the Internet during the past year. (Updated: An earlier version of this story reported a cyberbullying rate of 17 percent. Based on a new analysis, Ybarra revised the estimate to 15 percent.) While that at first may seem high, past studies had pegged the cyberbullying victim rateanywhere from 30 percent to as lofty as 72 percent.

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