Teens, Millennials, and Technology; How Well Do You Know What They’re Doing? [Infographic]

June 2, 2012

This infographic, from OnlineSchools.com titled “The Millennial Teenager” has some great stats to help you understand the devices teens and millennials (18-34-year-olds) use, what they’re doing about their privacy, and how they split their time between multiple devices and technologies. It’s a fun, and informative read.

The Millennial Teenager




STOP THE TEXTS. STOP THE WRECKS. An Important New Campaign

May 1, 2012

Today the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council have launched a new campaign to discourage teens – and all drivers – from texting while driving. This campaign, and those like it, are vital elements in reducing the number of tragic deaths and injuries caused by distracted drivers.

However, campaigns alone will not solve the problem. Stiffer fines, laws, and penalties will not alone solve the problem. What we need is a cultural shift making texting while driving an unacceptable behavior, and for that to happen every single person has a clear role to play. Please play your role.

Here are some of the resources made available to consumers through this STOP THE TEXTS. STOP THE WRECKS. campaign:

  • Facts sheet – with 30 sobering facts, here’s a sample
  • Survey results
  • Videos – 4 videos that help illustrate how quickly distraction leads to disaster
  • Infographic – see below

This campaign has partnered with the U.S Department of Transportation who created the excellent Distraction.gov materials.


Also check out the following blogs:




New Online Safety Lesson: Texting and Driving Don’t Mix

April 19, 2012

The 15th installment in the lesson series I’m writing on behalf of iKeepSafe, looks at distracted driving. Would you let someone cover your eyes for two seconds while you were driving? No way.

But teens will be surprised to learn that if they are on the freeway going 65 mph, a quick two-second glance to read a text means they have driven nearly two-thirds of a football field without looking. And those precious seconds can kill them, their passengers or the people in other vehicles.

More than 3,000 people died, and thousands more were injured, due to distracted driving in 2010 alone.

This lesson discusses eye-opening statistics on the perils of distracted driving and alerts teens to the hazards of looking away from the road, plus offers tips for avoiding the temptation of phone use while driving.

To see and use this lesson, the companion presentation, professional development materials, and parent tips click here: TXT + DRV = Total Fail.


New Online Safety Lesson: Online Hate Crimes: Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?

March 21, 2012

The 14th installment in the lesson series I’m writing on behalf of iKeepSafe, looks at taking a stand against hate crimes and content groups on the internet.

The vast majority of people in every country oppose hate, hate groups, and hate crimes. Unfortunately however, the number of hate groups around the world is increasing. In the U.S. hate groups have surged by 54% since 2000 when there were 602 hate groups, to 1,018 official hate groups in 2011.

The rise in hate groups isn’t just an American problem; Germany, South Africa, France, Britain, and other countries also struggle with rapidly expanding numbers of hate groups.

To see and use this lesson, the companion presentation, professional development materials, and parent tips click here: Online Hate Crimes: Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?


New Online Safety Lesson: The Power of Positive Collaboration – If we each do a little, we all do a lot.

February 27, 2012

The 12th installment in the lesson series I’m writing on behalf of iKeepSafe, focuses on leveraging the internet to benefit local communities.

Remember flash mobs, those groups that seemed to come out of nowhere to perform a dance in unlikely public places? This concept has been reinvented with a socially conscious twist through “cash mobs”: groups who respond to online invitations to visit a specified store to help their community’s local economy.

Although negative internet behavior tends to grab the spotlight, most people use the internet positively. Socially conscious people understand they are part of a larger community, and that for the community to thrive, everyone needs to contribute to the greater good.

Learn the positive side of “going viral” and how the World Wide Web exists as a community of collaborators supporting local businesses and neighborhoods.

To see and use this lesson, the companion presentation, professional development materials, and parent tips click here: It Takes a Village – The Power of Positive Collaboration


New Online Safety Lesson: Connecting Technology Across Generations

February 17, 2012

The 11th installment in the lesson series I’m writing on behalf of iKeepSafe, focuses on leveraging the internet to connect generations.

Who says technology is hurting interpersonal relationships? New research shows that the “computer generation” no longer encompasses just the teens who grew up with technology. Seniors are migrating online like never before, which offers new channels for communication between the generations.

Whether texting, Skyping, Facebooking or emailing, seniors and youth have much to gain from each other. Read further for some surprising statistics on how seniors are increasingly embracing current technologies and finding new ways to communicate with their grandchildren and other youth. And, don’t miss out on tips to help deepen interaction between younger and older generations.

To see and use this lesson, the companion presentation, professional development materials, and parent tips click here: Connecting Technology Across Generations 


48% of 7th-12th Graders Were Sexually Harassed Last School Year

November 12, 2011

After the women’s liberation movement, Title IX, the Gay rights movement, gay unions, and the sexual revolution, you would think students would be more evolved than new research by American Association of University Women (AAUW) titled Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School shows.

This research, described as “the most comprehensive, nationally representative research conducted in the past 10 years on sexual harassment in middle and high schools” paints a disappointing picture of sexually hostile school environments.

Of the 48% of students who reported being sexually harassed in the past school year, 87% said the harassment had a negative effect on them.

Describing the negative effects, 33% said they did not want to go to school as a result of the harassment, and another 33% said they felt sick to their stomachs.  30% said sexual harassment caused them to have a hard time studying, and 19% had trouble sleeping. In every case the harassment had a higher rate of impact on girls vs. boys.

Sexual harassment also affected victim’s school experience. 10% said they got into trouble at school as a result of sexual harassment; 9% said they changed the way they went to or from school (10% of girls and 6% of boys); and 8% quit an activity or sport. 12% of students said they stayed home from school because of sexual harassment, and 4% of students ultimately changed schools.

And this is what was reported about experiences in one specific school year. The report noted that when a longer time span is examined, over 80% of students said they had experienced sexual harassment at least once in their school career (AAUW, 1993, 2001).

Girls were more likely than boys to say that they had been negatively affected by sexual harassment—a finding that confirms previous research by AAUW (2001) and others.

The report also found that “these negative emotional effects take a toll on students’ and especially girls’ education, resulting in decreased productivity and increased absenteeism from school (Chesire, 2004). Thus, although both girls and boys can encounter sexual harassment at school, it is still a highly “gendered phenomenon that is directly and negatively associated with outcomes for girls” (Ormerod et al., 2008).”

Unfortunately, the prevalence of incidents makes “many students feel sexual harassment is normal behavior, and often victims of sexual harassment in turn victimize other children. It’s a vicious cycle that exacts an enduring emotional toll on students.”

Interestingly, 40% of boys reported being sexually harassed, though still at a significantly lower rate than girls (56%) it is higher than most people would have assumed, and reports of harassment among middle school students were actually evenly divided by gender.

Boys were more likely to be the harassers, and children from lower-income families reported more severe effects.

The internet’s role

Overall, cyber-harassment was less prevalent than in person sexual harassment. While the research found that 44% percent of students were harassed in person, 30% reported online harassment, like receiving unwelcome comments, jokes or pictures through texts, e-mail, Facebook and other tools.

12% percent of students were called gay or lesbian in a negative way through texting, e-mail, Facebook, or other electronic means and 13% of students had sexual rumors spread about them through electronic means.

Many students who were sexually harassed online were also sexually harassed in person. The research also found that students who were sexually harassed both in person and electronically were most likely to be negatively affected by their experiences with sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment isn’t hidden, but it still goes unreported – or misreported

According to the research, only about 9% of students who were sexually harassed reported the incident to a teacher, guidance counselor, or other adult at school (12% of girls and 5% of boys).  Only 27% said they talked about it with parents or family members, and only 23% told friends. Half of students said they did nothing afterward in response to the sexual harassment.

The data shows witnessing sexual harassment at school was also common. 33% of girls and 24% of boys said they observed sexual harassment at school in the 2010–11 school year, and 56% said they witnessed more than one incident of sexual in that time period. Students who witnessed sexual harassment and stepped in to help, they were most likely to tell the harasser to stop or to see if the sexually harassed person was okay.

Many students who witnessed sexual harassment did nothing simply because they did not know how to respond, did not think it would make a difference, or feared that they would become targets themselves.

Misreporting – The researchers make special mention of the issue of misreporting the few incidents that do get reported to schools. Sexual harassment in school is sometimes considered a form of bullying yet distinguishing between the terms is important because they have different definitions and are regulated by different laws. Too often, the more comfortable term bullying is used to describe sexual harassment, obscuring the role of gender and sex in these incidents (Stein & Mennemeier, 2011). The result is that schools are likely to promote bullying prevention while ignoring or downplaying sexual harassment (Gruber & Fineran, 2007).

The help students want

“Our report clearly shows that, in many instances, we are failing to provide the safe environment necessary for our children to succeed,” said Lisa Maatz, AAUW director of public policy and government relations. “Children and their families are too often left to fend for themselves when kids are harassed.”

The researchers asked students for their ideas on how to reduce sexual harassment in their schools and the students were very clear about what they want:

  • 57% want be able to anonymously report problems
  • 51% want schools to enforce sexual harassment policies and punish harassers
  • 39% want a designated person they can talk to
  • 31% want there to be in-class discussions
  • 22% want online resources

Make a difference

As disappointing as this report is, the only way to change the outcome is to acknowledge the problem and change the behaviors. While I don’t think anonymous reporting of sexual harassment is a good idea as this can be used as a terrible form of harassment itself.

It is unacceptable that students today have to plead for schools to enforce harassment policies and actually punish the harassers. It’s unacceptable that students don’t have someone the school has designated for them to talk to, and that sexual harassment isn’t discussed in classes.   And it is unacceptable that many students who witnessed sexual harassment did nothing simply because they did not know how to respond, or did not think it would make a difference.

Ask your students about their experiences in a calm manner and be sure they know they can come to you if there is an incident, and how to report incidents that happen to them, or incidents they witnessed to the school.

Download the full Crossing the Line; Sexual Harassment at School report