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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Manage all of your home’s connected devices.

Manage all of your home’s connected devices. With Circle, parents can filter content, limit screen time and set a bedtime for every device in the home. Purchase on Amazon:

Watch an introductory video below:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Cyber Safety Training for Parents, Staff, and Students

Even though many of my counseling and technology skills have come in handy over the years, parenting is still a tough challenge. Hands down, no doubt, technology has been one of the greatest challenges over the years as my wife and I have been raising our two wonderful sons, Matteo and Giuseppe, now 18 and 24 years old. When they were younger, it seems as if we were approached with questions and requests on a daily basis. From video games to social networks, from mobile devices to new gadgets, making informed decisions was tough. This is especially true because the technological landscape kept changing and developing at a dizzying pace.

One day a few years ago, my wife, Betty, quipped about how grateful she was that, overall, I was able to successfully negotiate technology with the kids. My approach has been based on what I knew according to the research (in technology, human development, and counseling) as well as best practice. I was already doing a significant amount of work helping kids to make responsible decisions for themselves regarding technology use. What Betty made me realize that day was that I also needed to help the people outfitting their kids with all this power — the parents/guardians. These days, when a school district or other organization calls about cyber training, I let them know that a comprehensive approach is best: getting kids, parents, and educators on the same page. I also let them know that, indeed, a critical component is education, especially with the end user, and that training should ongoing, not just one event.

Bring Knowledge to your School

If you are a school counselor, leader, or parent and are interested in cyber safety training, here is what you need to know:

  • The training includes three segments which, together, addresses staff, students, and parents. The goal of this workshop is to help students, parents/caretakers, and educators better understand the nature of technological risks as well as the tools and learning activities that we can all use to reduce that risk 
  • A typical day includes conducting student assemblies in the morning, meeting with staff after school, and then working with parents in the evening. 
For Staff

I take a comprehensive and multi-level approach to bullying/cyberbullying emphasizing a multi-tiered model that includes prevention, intervention, and postvention (see below). The workshop is designed as a “launching off point” or beginning for a year long process to help educate students about confronting cyberbullying, using technology responsibly, and being mindful of their digital reputation.

All school staff will receive a DVD-ROM including over 3.2 Gb of actual presentation files. This includes everything they need to work with students – the PowerPoints, handouts, videos, and links – for months ahead.
For Students

In this one hour (or 75 minute) assembly, students will become more aware of cyberbullying, their digital reputations (public posting of personal/private information), and the “Rules of the Road.” This assembly is customized for either elementary students or middle/high school students. Remember, you can download and preview the actual presentations and accompanying material for review by visiting my GuardingKids website.
For Parents

Parents and caretakers need to understand how to make informative decisions about how their children use technology, how they monitor, supervise, and provide support.

This meeting will help them to understand the potential risks of technology and several ways to reduce that risk using both human and technological strategies. Click here to download and preview the presentation materials.

About the Trainer

I encourage you to check out my comprehensive vita for an overview of my work, particularly the expansive range of topics I have delivered and the number of participants across the United States, and around the world, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working.

To book one or more of these workshops, contact Dr. Sabella directly via email or by completing an online inquiry form.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Empower Students to Embrace Civility

Check out updated resources from Embrace Civility! 

Empower Students to Embrace Civility

The objectives of Empower Students to Embrace Civility are:
  • Engage all members of the school community in establishing a positive school climate that embraces kindness, inclusion, and civility.
  • Increase the effectiveness of school staff in discussing positive relations with students, responding to what appears to be minor hurtful incidents in a restorative and empowering manner, and identifying more serious or chronic situations.
  • Increase the effectiveness of principals in investigating and intervening in the more serious or chronic situations in a manner that is restorative, supports the empowerment of all involved students, and ensures ongoing monitoring until all parties indicate the matter has been resolved.
  • Empower students to embrace kindness, inclusion, and civility using a positive norms and student leadership approach that fosters positive behavior and increases student skills as a witness, the one being hurtful, or the one treated badly.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bullying Prevention Resources

Parenting and Technology #DigitalReputation


Parents in Bossier Parish got to hear first-hand how to protect their children's online reputation.
On Thursday, October 26, the Bossier Parish School board hosted a seminar on how to keep kids safe online and on social media.
The speaker, Dr. Russell Sabella, says the idea of safety online is a thing of the past.
"There is no such thing as privacy online anymore," Sabella said. "If you communicate to one, you're really potentially communicating to the world."
Read more:

Friday, October 20, 2017

Will Ferrell Plays A Smartphone-Addicted Dad In These Eye-Opening PSAs

These ads are part of Common Sense Media’s #DeviceFreeDinner campaign.

In the age of smartphones, it can be hard to unplug and be present in the moment. Common Sense Media enlisted Will Ferrell to encourage parents and kids to put their phones away when they’re spending time together. The actor and comedian appears in a series of PSAs about the importance of having a #DeviceFreeDinner as a family.

Starring Ferrell as a distracted dad, the videos show the comical side of smartphone addiction but also highlight the dark reality of how it can affect family dynamics. Watch the #DeviceFreeDinner PSAs above and below.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

tbh - See who likes you

tbh - See who likes you

tbh is an app for giving anonymous feedback to friends. Unlike other anonymous apps, all the feedback is positive.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

NEW: The Parent, Educator & Youth Guide to LGBTQ Cyberbullying

NEW: The Parent, Educator & Youth Guide to LGBTQ Cyberbullying 

Cyberbullying and online harassment can be an issue for anyone. But it’s especially pernicious for young people who identify or are coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ):
  • 52% of LGBTQ youth between the ages of 11 and 22 reported having been the targets of cyberbullying several times 
  • 55.5% of LGBTQ students across the United States felt unsafe at school based on their sexual identity
ConnectSafely's latest guide, The Parent, Educator & Youth Guide to LGBTQ Cyberbullying explores how parents, schools and peers can support LGBTQ students. Topics include: 
  • The risks and benefits of connected technology for LGBTQ youth
  • Steps educators can take to create a positive school climate 
  • Important advice for parents and teens
The guide was written by veteran LGBTQ activist and scholar Warren J. Blumenfeld, Ed.D., in collaboration with parents and other educators. It joins ConnectSafely’s guides to social media, fake news, student data privacy, cyberbullying, cybersecurity, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, ASKfm, Kik, After School and other topics, and is available to read or download for free at

More News & Views from ConnectSafely

Save the Date! Safer Internet Day is Feb. 6

Copyright © 2017 ConnectSafely, All rights reserved.

Silent - An Award Winning Short Film about the Power of Kindness

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Instagram: Strengthening Our Commitment to Safety and Kindness for 800 Million

Today, we’re announcing new tools and programs to keep Instagram a safe and positive place for self-expression. Since the beginning, we’ve tried to make Instagram a welcoming place for everyone. Our community has grown to 800 million, with 500 million using it every day. It’s more important than ever to strengthen our commitment to safety and kindness.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sarahah ...

Sarahah is the latest social media application to create a stir. Simply put, Sarahah is a one-way, many-to-one anonymous messaging system that allows people to send messages to a particular person without the recipient knowing who sent them. These can come from people you know (from those in your phone contacts, for example) or from practically anyone, depending on how you have distributed your unique link (more on that below).

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Family Media Plan

Media should work for you & work within your family values & parenting style. When media is used thoughtfully & appropriately, media can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, media can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime & sleep.

By creating a Personalized Family Media Use Plan, you can be aware of when you are using media to achieve your purpose. This requires parents & users to think about what they want those purposes to be. The tool below will help you to think about media & create goals & rules that are in line with your family’s values.

To make YOUR family’s Media Use Plan, start by entering your family’s information. This information will remain private and confidential.

Go to:

Melinda Gates: I spent my career in technology. I wasn’t prepared for its effect on my kids

When my youngest child was born in 2002, the flip phone was still the coolest piece of tech you could get. Now I’m told that all three of my children are part of what demographers are calling iGen.

I spent my career at Microsoft trying to imagine what technology could do, and still I wasn’t prepared for smartphones and social media. Like many parents with children my kids’ age, I didn’t understand how they would transform the way my kids grew up — and the way I wanted to parent. I’m still trying to catch up.

Read more:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

This dad created an app that freezes your kids' phones until they answer your texts

Parents of teens know that cell phones can be a great way to keep in touch when their kids are out and about. That is, unless they get distracted and "forget" to respond, which leaves you in a state of panic. Luckily, one dad is here to help.
Nick Herbert created the app ReplyASAP after getting fed up with his son Ben ignoring his texts. The app takes over the phone's screen and sounds an alarm, essentially forcing teens to respond to their worrisome parents if they want to regain access to their phone. The app also notifies parents when their adolescent has seen their message.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Starting the School Year with Kindness as the Expectation

... but we can set the standard for what each interaction should be: kind, understanding, tolerant, and empathetic, by reading stories that demonstrate that it is indeed possible and POWERFUL to do so.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Social Media 101: Snapchat

This is Part 2 of our Social Media 101 videos. In this video we explain how Snapchat works and why it is the most difficult platform for parents to monitor. Hopefully parents will get a better understanding of the dangers associated with the improper use of this social media platform. As with our first video, regarding Facebook, we only covered some of the main features of Snapchat. If you have any helpful tips or experiences with Snapchat please share them with everyone down in the comments.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Human Sex Trafficking and Social Media

As part of our Social Media 101 Series we have created this SPECIAL EDITION installment to address a very serious issue affecting our teens. HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING is something many people don't know exists in our communities and/or don't really understand what it is. In today's technologically advanced world, sex traffickers (Pimps) are using SOCIAL MEDIA and the internet to recruit teens as young as 13 into this modern day type of slavery. Please watch this quick video to get a better understanding on how it works and how you can protect your kids.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they’re unhappy than those who devote less time to social media.

Read more:

A Parent’s Guide to Kik from ConnectSafely

Kik is a community chat app that allows users to connect with brands or chat one-on-one or in groups, with text, emojis, memes, videos and photos. Teens love Kik because it’s an “in the moment” experience, without the profile curation fatigue they can feel on other apps, where their photos, videos or status updates are “judged” in the form of likes, shares or comments, and “live on” until removed. Teens worry less about creating a “permanent record” of posts and pictures that can affect them later in life. Teens also like that they can be anonymous on Kik.

Read more:
A Parent’s Guide to Kik from ConnectSafely

Monday, July 31, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How to Spot Victims and Help Them

Source: Human Trafficking: How to Spot Victims and Help Them |

Victims and tipsters can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to "BeFree" or 233733. All calls can be made anonymously. Reports can also be submitted through the hotline's online form here. If a victim is in immediate danger, authorities urge people to call 911. Concerned citizens should not confront a suspected trafficker or alert a victim to any suspicions, experts say.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Instagram Now Uses AI to Counter Spam and Offensive Comments

Instagram will now be integrating machine learning software with their platform to get rid of offensive comments and reduce spam too, in a total of nine languages worldwide. 
Learn more: 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Be Internet Awesome!

With school out and summer break giving kids more time to spend on the Internet, it’s a great time to introduce Be Internet Awesome: a new way to encourage digital safety and citizenship.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Harvard Rescinds Admission Of 10 Students Over Obscene Facebook Messages

This week saw a remarkable collision of free speech, toxic Internet culture and more, unfolding at one of the world's most prestigious universities.
At least 10 admitted Harvard students in the Class of 2021 had their admissions offers rescinded after a group exchange of racist and sexually offensive Facebook messages, the Harvard Crimson student newspaper reported this week.
Read more: 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Parent & Educator Guide to Media Literacy & Fake News

Parent & Educator Guide to Media Literacy & Fake News

ConnectSafely is proud to announce its release of the Parent & Educator Guide to Media Literacy & Fake News.

The Parent and Educator Guide, written by ConnectSafely CEO and tech journalist Larry Magid and ConnectSafely K-12 Education Director Kerry Gallagher, will help children and students become more conscious consumers of information, explaining among other things:
  • The difference between fact and opinion in the news
  • The difference between mistakes and lies
  • How to deal with conflicting reports
  • How to teach kids what to do when they see falsehoods shared online.
The guide is available here. ConnectSafely's Guide resource center is here

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