One in Three Teachers Cyberbullied – 25% Comes From Parents

September 3, 2011

We hear a lot about kids bullying and cyberbullying kids, we hear plenty of stories about adults harassing and stalking others online, but what we hear less about is the cyberbullying teachers are subjected to at the hands of their students – and the student’s parents.

More than a third of teachers in the U.K. have been abused online. Most of the abuse (72%) came from students, but over a quarter (26%) came from parents according to a new study from Plymouth University in England conducted by professor Andy Pippen.

“Everyone acknowledges this is a problem and something needs to be done about it, but schools lack support. It is a sticky area as some of the things posted may not be considered illegal,” Pippen told the Huffington Post UK.

While teachers have always been targets of abuse – cars damaged, homes trashed, graffiti slurs, and threats – the internet’s anonymity appears to have given bullies – particularly parent bullies – the opportunity to scale to a new level of viciousness.

Showing typical gender role bias, 60% of the teachers who reported being bullied are women.  The abuse is manifest through several online mediums like chat and social networks, but cyberbullies are also creating Facebook groups specifically targeting certain teachers, posting videos on YouTube, and leveraging the ever nasty ratemyteacher.com site.

“It seems to a subset of the [parent] population the teacher is no longer viewed as someone who should be supported in developing their child’s education, but a person whom it is acceptable to abuse if they dislike what is happening in the classroom,” said Phippen.

While this report is out of the U.K. and not the U.S., it would be naïve to assume that teachers here and around the world aren’t facing the same issues.

Perhaps as schools put together the final pieces of their back-to-school materials for this school year they should add a section to their student cyberbullying policy that specifically outlines expectations for parents.  If the parents are cyberbullies, it will be awfully hard to get their kids to behave better.

Linda


Infographic – College Students Love Technology

August 21, 2011

Just in time for the new school year comes an infographic from OnlineEducation.net showing how much, how, when, and what types of technology college students use. The good news, it’s not all for entertainment.

Students Love Technology
Via: OnlineEducation.net

,
Linda


Back-to-School and Internet Safety

August 19, 2011

The phrase back-to-school conjures up thoughts of trying on clothes to see what fits and what doesn’t, and purchasing the notebooks, pens, and other paraphernalia your student needs for the year ahead.

However, new to most parents is the realization that an Internet safety checkup also falls into this seasonal rhythm.

The beginning of school is an excellent time to review your current Internet safety guidelines and see if they are still a good fit for your family and your child. It may be time to expand online privileges and reinforce the added responsibilities and expectations that come with age and with any new devices your child may be using.

Here is a checklist for this change of season:

  1. Begin by reviewing your student’s current privileges and responsibilities. Ideally, kids should take on new privileges and responsibilities each year so they can learn to become more responsible, and eventually grow into independent adults. Is it time to increase the level of access you provide to them?
  2. Reinforce the basics. Internet Safety has four basic principles – protect yourself, respect the safety of others, be kind, and act responsibly by following family rules and the terms and conditions set by services.
  3. Address new areas of potential risk – For example, if your child is starting to use social networking, it’s time to have a discussion about which service to use, what information he or she should share, what privacy settings should be in place, and so on.
  4. Review your school’s Internet usage guidelines. Permission slips for using the Internet in school are sent home during the first week of school. These require parents and students to agree to the school’s guidelines and they provide another great opportunity to address acceptable online usage and actions.
  5. Talk to each child, tween, and teen every year about Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying, online harassment, and cyber stalking are all terms for ways in which those who wish to hurt others, for whatever reason, use online tools to do so. This form of bullying is incredibly damaging both to those who are victims, and to the bullies themselves. It is critical that you establish an environment that makes your children feel safe in coming to you to report any problems.

Linda


8 Tips to prevent student hackers from accessing school computers

September 2, 2010

Back-to-School time means hacker-proofing school’s computers. While protecting students online safety is a must, so is protecting school computers from malicious students.

It’s an administrator’s nightmare – students hacking school databases to change grades, stealing computer passwords, infecting computers with key-stroke logging malware, accessing secure sections of school sites, posting pornography or hate content on school sites, or hijacking a school’s website.

And it is a reality schools across the country struggle with.

“Students are very, very tech-savvy. Far more savvy than the majority of adults at our school,” says Michael Wilson, the principal of the 775-student Haddonfield Memorial High where keystroke logging malware was used to discover passwords and gain access to protected areas on the school’s computer network.

School systems are uniquely vulnerable to hacking, says James E. Culbert, an information-security analyst for the 135,000-student Duval County schools in Jacksonville, Fla. “In the case of our school system, we’ve got 135,000 [potential] hackers within our district, inside of our same network that houses our student-information systems and HR systems.”

Staying ahead of would-be hackers is not a one-fix solution; it’s an ongoing process that periodically assesses new and existing threats and updates security practices.

If you’re school is struggling with hacking, or you are unsure of the steps your school is taking, review the 8 Tips to preventing student hackers from accessing school computers:

  1. Ensure school computers have up-to-date security software installed, and that it automatically updates. Be sure firewalls are set, and enforce the use of  strong passwords.
  2. Set the ground rules that outline what is (and isn’t) acceptable use of school computers, and make sure students and their parents are aware of both the rules and the consequences for hacking, harassment security breaches, or failing to adhere to the schools acceptable use policy. Talk about these standards periodically, not just during the first week of school.
  3. Leverage content filtering technologies that help prevent students from seeking out inappropriate online content.
  4. Swiftly and consistently, address any misuse of the schools computer system.
  5. Require each user – teacher or student – to use a unique login. Some schools have strengthened their networks by clearly identifying if it is a teacher or a student who is logging in. Some also time-stamp when the account was last accessed allowing teachers to quickly see if their account has been compromised.
  6. Use two networks – one for students, another for teachers and staff. This makes it harder for students to hack into sensitive information.
  7. Educate teachers, staff and parent volunteers about the school’s internet access policies so they can stay vigilant in monitoring students online use and actions.
  8. Teach internet safety and digital responsibility to help students develop a strong online ethic.

Its the start of a new school year, let’s get it started securely.

Linda


Back-to-School and Internet Safety

August 25, 2010

The phrase back-to-school conjures up thoughts of trying on clothes to see what fits and what doesn’t, and purchasing the notebooks, pens, and other paraphernalia your student needs for the year ahead.

However, new to most parents is the realization that an Internet safety checkup also falls into this seasonal rhythm.

The beginning of school is an excellent time to review your current Internet safety guidelines and see if they are still a good fit for your family and your child. It may be time to expand online privileges and reinforce the added responsibilities and expectations that come with age and with any new devices your child may be using.

Here is a checklist for this change of season:

  1. Begin by reviewing your student’s current privileges and responsibilities. Ideally, kids should take on new privileges and responsibilities each year so they can learn to become more responsible, and eventually grow into independent adults. Is it time to increase the level of access you provide to them?
  2. Reinforce the basics. Internet Safety has three basic principles – protect yourself, respect the safety of others, and act responsibly by following family rules and the terms and conditions set by services.
  3. Address new areas of potential risk – For example, if your child is starting to use social networking, it’s time to have a discussion about which service to use, what information he or she should share, what privacy settings should be in place, and so on. .
  4. Review your school’s Internet usage guidelines. Permission slips for using the Internet in school are sent home during the first week of school. These require parents and students to agree to the school’s guidelines and they provide another great opportunity to address acceptable online usage and actions.
  5. Talk to each child, tween, and teen every year about Cyberbullying and Cyberharassment. Cyberbullying, online harassment, and cyber stalking are all terms for ways in which those who wish to hurt others, for whatever reason, use online tools to do so. This form of bullying is incredibly damaging both to those who are victims, and to the bullies themselves. It is critical that you establish an environment that makes your children feel safe in coming to you to report any problems.

Back-to-School Shopping with Internet Safety In Mind

August 23, 2010

The back-to-school shopping list these days often includes laptops and cell phones. The instant access and the convenience that laptops and cell phones afford make them ideal for studying, socializing, and coordinating schedules. By instituting a few precautions, your student can enjoy all the benefits of Internet connectivity and make the most of a great school year.

When choosing devices there are three Internet safety considerations to keep in mind: 1) What safety protections do the devices have in place, and what do you need to add? 2) Does the device enable features that you don’t find age appropriate? If so, how do you turn off or minimize these features?

Laptops:

  1. Don’t skimp on security and safety software. Install all the safety tools your child needs, such as antivirus, anti-spyware, a firewall, and age appropriate filtering tools. Remember that installing these tools is not enough – you must update security and safety software regularly to protect against new threats. Select auto-update settings to ensure the highest level of protection.
  2. Leverage the safety settings within the services. Every service should have settings that allow you to limit exposure to others or to types of content.
  3. Protect your student’s laptop from theft. Laptop theft comes in two forms – theft of the information on the laptop, and theft of the laptop itself.
    1. To protect against information theft help your child establish a strong login password and teach him or her to log-off (password protect) the laptop whenever the laptop is left on its own.
    2. Laptops are easy to steal if left unattended for even a moment. Consider buying a laptop cable lock, so your child can physically lock it to something such as a desk. These locks typically cost between $15 and $35 dollars – far less than a replacement laptop.
  4. Review the laptop’s features for safety. Of all laptop features, webcams are particularly problematic. Children often show poor judgment about the live video images they share. If the laptop you purchase has a webcam, set specific guidelines about how and when it can be used.

Cell Phones:

  1. Most cell phones today are small computers. In the same way you evaluate the online services and features your child can access on computers, you need to understand the phone’s features and the Internet services can their phone can access.
  2. Ensure that there are safeguards in place to protect your child. Does the phone have content filters? Can features be turned off? What additional safeguards does the carrier provide? (Don’t be shy about asking and demanding answers).
  3. Choose between a prepaid versus a monthly plan. Many parents like the financial accountability that a prepaid plan provides for their teens, however these plans usually don’t provide you with information about your teen’s calling activity like monthly plans do.
  4. Understand how to track phone usage problems.
    1. If your student is overly tired in the mornings or is sneaking out at night, check the times of day that calls and text messages are occurring (monthly cell phone bills provide this information). If there is a problem, solve it by taking charge of the phone at bedtime and returning it in the morning.
    2. Check for inappropriate use during school hours: when texting and cheating can be issues. Address these directly by establishing clear consequences

With your checklist complete, your student positioned for a great online year.

Linda