Digital Safety

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Google Partnership To Teach About Online Behavior

Google is helping to educate children about good online behavior as part of a new partnership with the National Parent Teacher Association and the nonprofit DonorsChoose.org. Schools that adopt the program, "Be Internet Awesome," will receive resources and training about digital safety, among other things.

Parents Sign A Pledge to Restrict Social Media Access of Kids Under 13

A Monmouth county New Jersey school district has asked parents to sign a pledge barring students' access to social media until they are 13 years old because they are not "emotionally mature enough to handle it," says Superintendent John Marciante. The district's request comes after an incident occurred between students in a chat room using the app House Party that led to a threat of a school shooting. Some feel that such a ban could never be enforceable, but it still brings up the question about the age appropriateness of social media platforms.

Cyberbullying and the Law- Where Do Things Stand?

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, but do you know the current status of laws concerning cyberbullying stand on both the state and federal level? After initial attempts to get more laws on the books and policies in place, little more has appeared in the news lately.  Tina Hegner, manager of research and development at PublicSchoolWORKS, offers insights on bullying and cyberbulling laws in an article on the eSchool News site, describing how schools and districts can address bullying and enforce anti-bullying laws.

Ideas for Educating Teens About Social Media

Teen centers in New Jersey are spearheading efforts to teach students about the effects of social media use. The counseling and educational awareness sessions also focus on how to safely use social media and mobile devices, with emphasis on understanding how much of an impact the use of technology can have not only on a specific individual, but on those around them.

The Fortnite Craze – Pros and Cons

According to NBC News, some parents are hiring tutors to help improve their childrens’ Fortnite skills, with one tutoring company receiving up to 1,000 inquiries a day. Boosting popularity at school, becoming a teen influencer for gaming companies or receiving an esports college scholarship are among the reasons parents cite for hiring a tutor. However, there are other parents who are still worried about facets of the online game, including safety and privacy concerns and the chance for being cyberbullied. If you need more information about Fortnite, start with this parent’s guide to the game.

France Bans Cell Phones Until Grade 9

France has banned smartphone use in school, except when assigned by the teacher, for grades one through nine. “If we want to prepare children in the 21st century, we must give them the tools of modernity: mastery of math, of general culture, the ability to flourish in social relationships, a capacity to discuss with others, to understand and respect others and then very strong digital skills,” said Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. “It’s a message we send to society: Do not always be on your phones.” Only time will tell how successful such a ban will be, but anecdotal feedback indicates the students are talking more to each other.

Rethinking Posting First Day of School Pictures

Security experts are urging parents to reconsider posting photos of their children on the first day of school to their social networks. These photos can facilitate ill-intentioned people in gathering information about children, including name, age and where they attend school, says Raj Samani of McAfee.

Facial-Recognition Tech For School Security Raises Questions

The Associated Press is reporting that some companies are offering US schools free facial-recognition software that is also used on city streets and among government agencies and businesses. At odds with this move, digital-rights advocacy groups are expressing concerns about the software's effects on privacy, and the New York Civil Liberties Union has asked the state's education officials to prevent schools' implementation of the software. Others question the technology’s cost and effectiveness, given reports like one released in February by MIT and Stanford University that found some facial recognition programs don’t work well in correctly identifying people who belong to racial minorities or women.

Schools in the United Kingdom Start New Program on Online Safety

Schools  in the United Kingdom are to receive new guidance on lessons in online personal safety. The lessons, focused in part on social media, are to begin as early as age 4. The authors of the new guidelines write “Today children have to learn to cope in two worlds: the virtual one and the real one – and this is giving old problems a dangerous new edge.”

Cyberattacks May Increase Warn Feds

Cyberattacks against the US are on the rise and have reached a critical point,” said Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats recently. Coats identified China, Iran, North Korea and Russia as the biggest threats, saying that they target federal agencies, state and local governments, businesses and even schools every day.

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