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Tech and Bullies

 

 

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Bullying and Technology

Time to complete this course: 60-90 minutes.

 WD Bullying Policies

Technology safety is an important issue in today's society.  It is important that teachers understand and model appropriate technology safety and etiquette since you are viewed as a role model for the majority of our students.  Technology safety education is a first step in reducing incidents involving bullying and harmful technology practices in any form.

Please complete each module in the order provided.   To view WD's bullying policies, click on the above "WD Bullying Policies" link, click on the "100 Series: School District ", and then click on 104 Sub-section.  (You can come back to this at a later time.)

MODULE 1:  CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE INTERNET SAFETY QUICK TEST   Once you complete the quick test, click your back arrow to return to this page.


MODULE 2:   Internet and Technology Safety Information

Internet safety is a huge concern for anyone who uses the Internet or has a child who uses the Internet. There are situations that can be dangerous. With proper education, students, parents, and teachers can minimize the risk or contracting a computer virus, spyware, malware, or dealing with online predators. 

Please read the following and learn about Internet safety. Teachers and parents, please talk about the following questions with your child(ren) and expect them to follow the recommendations. Internet safety starts at home; school reinforces Internet safety. Be concerned about how it is used in your home and classroom!

 When using the Internet at school, what is a good way to check yourself and make sure you are accessing appropriate information?

A great way to make sure you aren't accessing a site you shouldn't be or sending a message you shouldn't is, "If I wouldn't want my parents or teachers to look at what I'm doing, then I shouldn't be doing it." If you wouldn't want someone in authority to see what you're doing, then you're doing something wrong.

 If someone sends me an inappropriate message/material on the Internet or through my cell phone, what should I do?

First of all, congratulations for knowing that you've received something inappropriate! If you ever receive an e-mail, photo, message, threat, song, or anything else that makes you feel uncomfortable, go immediately to someone in authority... a parent or teacher are great people to talk to. Report the incident and the name of the person who sent you the message. Under NO circumstance should you reply to the message or send it to someone else. If you do, you and/or your parents could be held responsible. 

 When using a social networking site (MySpace, Facebook, etc.) or viewing emails, is it o.k. to make new friends and hang out with them?

The social networking sites are fun; that's part of their appeal. However, you can bring harm to yourself or someone you know if you reveal personal information about yourself. NEVER give your name, photo, address, phone number, school name, state you live in, parent's name, friend's names, family member's name, parent's job, or any other information that could lead an online predator to you. You'll be tempted to. You'll REALLY be tempted to. Don't. Something you think is fun at the time may come back to haunt you in the future. Never, never, never agree to meet anyone that you have met online. You have no idea who the person "talking" to you is. You can't even be sure that the person you are "talking to" is your friend even if they are using an account name that identifies them as your friend. Someone could have hacked into their account or stolen their information. We're going to repeat: Don't agree to meet the person you are text messaging with, I.M.ing with, e-mailing with, or keying with in any form . Don't. Period.

Something else; if you don't know who the "friend" is that asks to be your "friend", don't let them be your "friend". You don't know if the person who wants to be in your social circle is someone you know or someone who wants to gather personal information about you. Please be careful and selective about who you invite to be your "friend".

   What is the BEST way to create a username (screenname) to use?

It's tough to create a username. Either you have so many possibilities that you can't decide which to use or the one you want has already been taken. You should always create a username (screenname) that can't identify you or give an online predator clues to who you are. You should mix UPPER and lower case letters and include an assortment of numbers in your username. You should create a different username for every account you create. Something like "UooxP_375" doesn't reveal anything about you as a person. That's good! Don't create a username like "IMCute". That's a horrible username that may get you into trouble. Predators will target you. Follow the same criteria when choosing a password. Don't use the same password for every site you need a password. Also, don't write it down where someone can find it. Password theft happens all the time!

 Where is the best place in a home to put a computer that students will use?

Students aren't going to like this but here we go; students should never have a computer with Internet access in their bedrooms. Ideally, parents, your child shouldn't use their cell phones in their bedrooms, either, if they have texting or photo capabilities. The temptation to do questionable things is just too great. The ideal place to put a family access computer is in a high traffic area like the kitchen or the family/living room. Basically, any place where the computer can be monitored constantly is a good place. If you put the computer in the kitchen, make sure it isn't next to the stove or microwave. You don't want moisture to accidentally damage the computer. That's why a bathroom is not a good place for your run-of-the-mill computer; there's too much moisture.

Before I send an e-mail that contains hurtful remarks or information about a person I know at school, what should I do?

We all get mad and want to "get even". The Internet has created an atmosphere where we feel that we can send hateful e-mails, gossip about people we know or don't know, and start rumors about people because it might make us feel good. There's an old saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." That saying is more appropriate today than ever before! It is vital that you never send a hateful or anger-filled message to anybody no matter how angry you are. You need to remember that every message you send electronically is stored somewhere and can be retrieved if needed. Just remember, "If you're mad, want to get even, start a rumor, or have anything hurtful to say... DON'T!!! Just walk away, cool down, and things will probably look better the next day."
 
This would be the ideal time to talk about "cyberbullying". Cyberbullying is doing something negative (bullying) to someone through the use of technology (cyber). People have killed themselves because they are being cyberbullied. The same rules from the preceeding paragraph apply to cyberbullying... "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." In most states, it is illegal to cyberbully and criminal charges will apply if you are caught cyberbullying; and it's easy to catch cyberbullies because a cyberbully leaves an electronic trail wherever they travel. C'mon, folks... stop with the cyberbullying. You're too mature to do something this childish.

 If I receive an e-mail or text message that claims that it is from my Service Provider asking me to verify my password because they are updating my account information, what should I do?

This is a very simple question to answer; NEVER give anyone your password or personal information no matter how official the request looks. Your Service Provider, account provider, credit card company, bank, school, etc. will never ask for your passwords or personal information through an e-mail or text message. So, if you ever get an email or text message with this request, DON'T ANSWER IT .

 I have created a personal website or social networking account (MySpace, Facebook, etc.). What information should I include on my account page?

Don't include anything that can identify you. This includes your name, address, phone number, photo, photo of your friends, school name, place you live, places you "hang out" at, groups you belong to, friend's name, parent's name, job you or your parent's have, teacher's name, brother's/sister's name... are you getting the point? We know this doesn't leave much for you to share. However, think of all the creative things you can share? There isn't anything wrong talking about movies or television programs or concerts. You can talk about fun things to do without going into personal details about yourself or your friends. Our society has become one that likes to share too much personal information of which a large amount is inappropriate and a poor reflection on the person sharing it. Once you are 18 years old, you are legally responsible for yourself and you may decide to be more open about yourself. However, always remember that information you share can come back to haunt you. Always be careful!
 

MODULE 3: Internet Safety: A Cautionary Tale
 

Watch the following video. (If you cannot load the following video, click here and then select, "A Cautionary Tale")
 

 
  
 
 
 
MODULE 4:   Cyberbullying 
 
What are the conditions that need to be present to constitute HARASSMENT and BULLYING?
 
According to the research of the Students Advocating for Everyone (SAFE) committee at Western Dubuque Community Schools, the following conditions need to be present to constitute that harrassment and bullying has taken place:
  • Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or property;
  • Has a substantially detrimental effect on the student's physical or mental health;
  • Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student's academic performance; or
  • Has the effect of substantially interfering with the studnt's ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
 
The following articles appeared in the Chattanooga HealthScope Health and Wellness Magazine, ©2010 CMC Publications, LLC  http://www.healthscopemag.com/HS.1.10/Cyberbullying.aspx and NEAToday.
 
 
Cyberbullying by Julie Baumgardner  
 
How Much Do You Know About Cyberbullying?

True or False:

1. Victims of cyberbullying are at an increased risk for traditional bullying victimization, substance use and school problems.
2. Victims of cyberbullying suffer from anger, frustration and sadness.
3. Most victims of cyberbullying tell an adult (parent or teacher) about their experience.
4. Victims report that they are primarily cyberbullied by strangers.

If you answered “true” for the first two statements and “false” for the last two, you are correct.   (http://www.cyberbullying.us/)

Perhaps the most widely known incident of cyberbullying is the Megan Meier case, a then 13-year-old from Missouri who became online friends with a person she thought was a new boy in town. In reality, the “friend” was a group of young people and adults, who plotted to humiliate Megan because of a friendship with another girl that ended on a sour note. When Megan found out the truth, she became distraught and later committed suicide.
 
 What Exactly is Cyberbullying?
 
Cyberbullying is defined as using the computer or other electronic devices to intimidate, threaten or humiliate another individual. It most commonly takes place on the Internet among students from a given school or neighborhood.
 
  The Statistics
 
The Cyberbullying Research Center recently collected data from more than 6,000 youths regarding their personal cyberbullying experiences. The data showed that:
• An astounding 33 percent of youth have been victimized by cyberbullying.
• Among this group, being ignored and disrespected were the most common forms of cyberbullying.
• More than half of the participants felt that cyberbullying was as bad or worse than bullying in real life.
• Cyberbullying occurs most often in chat rooms (56 percent).
• 49 percent of kids are victimized via instant messaging and 28 percent via e-mail.
• 34 percent of youth who are bullied feel frustrated; 30 percent feel angry and 22 percent feel sad.
• 41 percent of victims did not tell anyone in their off-screen lives about their abuse, but 38 percent did tell an online friend.
• 17 percent admitted to bullying another individual online.
• Of the offenders interviewed, most considered it fun or considered it a way to strengthen their victims.
 
Drs. Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja are co-directors of the Cyberbullying Research Center. Their extensive research work in this area indicates that the impact of cyberbullying can be devastating; as many as five percent of the youth they interviewed claimed to be scared for their own safety.
 
Where Does Cyberbullying Take Place?

Think about all of the different ways your child is connected to technology – cell phones, e-mails, instant messaging, Web sites, blogs, text messages and any other method your child uses to communicate through electronics. All of these present a potential risk for cyberbullying.
 
 The Sad Face of Cyberbullying
 
Watch the following video.  This video perfectly illustrates what happens to students who are bullied and the "tough road" they travel when bullied.  WARNING:  This video contains several phrases that you may find offensive.  They have not been edited because, it is sad to say, students use MUCH worse language when they bully than this video portrays.
(If you cannot load the following video, click here and then select, "Cyberbullying: An Example")
 

 
 
Do bullies have low self-esteem?  Consider the kid accused of surreptitiously filming that new Jersey college freshman while he kissed another boy, and then broadcasting that video on the Internet.  According to the New York Times, he was a fine student who took Advanced Placement classes, a break-dancer, and a member of his high school's track team who "excelled at the long jump."
 

They don't lack self-esteem; they never have.  Bullies bully because they like to.  They enjoy the attention and the "peer recognition," says Meredith Monteville, retired counselor and trainer.  Recalling a middle school bully who had teased and tormented another student until she sobbed, Monteville says, "This kid thought he had every right to pick on her because she was a wimp."  Confronted, he said, "Yeah, she cried - and she deserved to."
 

Can a kid handle it alone?  Might it help prepare him for that bully boss some day?  That's laughable, says Phil Johnson, NEA trainer.  "People can't handle this on their own.  It's silly.  It's a myth.  But it's a common attitude.  The kids who are getting bullied are the very ones who can't fight back."
 

How about peer mediation?  Is that the answer?  While peer mediation is a great approach to many classroom disputes, it assumes the two parties have equal power and responsibility.  "The victim should not be victimized twice, by the bully and by a process that somehow assigns responsibility for being a victim with her/him," says New Jersey middle school teacher David Austin.  "There can be no compromise: Bullying is always wrong."
 

Zero Tolerance also is an ineffective approach, Monteville asserts.  "Sending someone home for three days to play Xbox just allows them to come back to the same situation they left!  Zero tolerance is a waste of time.  You aren't changing the behavior of a bully."  Again, what really works is a whole-school approach to climate change.
 

Article from NEAToday, January/February 2011, p. 40
 
 
Julie Baumgardner is the executive director of First Things First, a research and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening families through education, collaboration and mobilization. She can be reached at julieb@firstthings.org.
 

 
 
Preventing Bully Behavior One Caring Adult at a Time

by John Rosales

Bullies can strike in any corner of a campus.  Reports show that student-on-student bullying frequently occurs during lunch and recess, between class periods in hallways, and also on bus rides before and after school - all places where ESPs (Education Support Professional) have a unique, privileged role to see and stop it.
 
"ESP's are usually the first line responders to students who are being bullied," says Lorie Miner, special education assistant at Mat-Su Day School in Wasilla, Alaska.  "We are in the hallways, bathrooms, cafeterias, playgrounds, buses, and locker rooms."
One caring adult on a school campus can make an enormous difference in the life of a bullied child, says Miner, who facilitates a workshop titled, "The Important Role of ESPs in Student Bullying Prevention and Intervention."  One workshop strategy she stresses: quickly recreate a bullying incident with the students involved.
"Then role model the appropriate interaction between the individuals," Miner says.  "We encourage students to resolve conflicts and not feel ashamed about discussing it with staff."
As a veteran security officer at LaFollette Elementary School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Laura Vernon says she has dealt with every type of bullying situation.  The best deterrent to prevent bullying is for adults to be observant and show they care.
“When children know you care, they will confide in you,” says Vernon.  “Empathy, discipline, constancy, and follow through are imperative to a peaceful solution regarding bullying.”
Growing up in New Jersey, Jameel Williams recalls vividly how he was bullied by older, bigger boys.
“I was short for my age, so my fellow classmates would pick on me,” says Williams, a bus driver and paraeducator from North Carolina, and the recently-names NEA 2011 ESP of the Year.  “I see the same thing happen to students in my school because of their size, the clothes they wear, or for some other artificial reason.”
To counter bullying behavior, Williams says school districts need strong anti-bullying policies with explicit instructions on how to report incidents.  Most of all, he says adults must intervene when appropriate.
“If you witness a student bullying someone, you must get involved immediately,” he says.  “We must explain to the bully that his or her behavior is not acceptable.”
As part of the school’s new anti-bullying campaign at Brownstown Elementary School in Illinois, a teacher created the Bully Box for students to report incidents.
“It has had very good success, says Dave Arnold, head custodian at Brownstown and author of NEA’s online editorial column, Dave’s View.  While some students choose to report incidents of harassment anonymously, others may seek out a teacher or ESP to talk with, Arnold says.
“I listen to students to find out if they are having a good day or a bad day,” he says.  “If I hear them talking inappropriately to each other or about other students, I will step in and tactfully remind them that their discussion is demeaning and harmful.  That usually helps a lot.”
(This article is from NEAToday, John Rosales, May/June 2011, p. 17.)
An Interesting Way to Begin Talking With Students About Bullying
Please watch the following video performed by Taylor Swift that offers a unique perspective about bullying.  This video could offer hope to anyone who is or has been bullied in any way.  You will need to click on the small YouTube icon in the lower right corner of the window to view it.  (If you cannot load the following video, click here and then select, "Bullying Song")


 
 

MODULE 5: Technology Etiquette 
 
Technology safety is important for anyone who uses technology.  However, it is important that respect and a sense of personal responsibility be nurtured and developed.  That's why teachers need to all be "on the same page" with expectations about technology use in the classroom.  If we as teachers have similar expectations in our classrooms, the "message" will be sent that there are appropriate behavior expectations when using technology which will, hopefully, be carried into the students' daily lives. 
 
The following "Technology Classroom Etiquette Expectations" will assist every teacher in having common expectations in regard to technologies used in the classroom.  Please feel free to adapt them to your personal educational environment.
 
Technology Classroom Etiquette Expectations *
  • When anyone is speaking to the class, all use of technology stops.  Earbuds out, hands off mouse, phones set aside, fingers off keyboards, etc.
  • Cellphones are used only with the permission of the classroom teacher.  Students may use cellphones between classes and during lunch/recess.  If a student is late to class as a result of cellphone use, s/he receives an unexcused tardy.
  • Personal listening devices are used only with the permission of the classroom teacher.  If used, the volume must be set so anyone sitting next to the user cannot hear the content from the device.
  • Audio should be muted on computers or used only with headsets in the classroom setting.
  • Cellphones must be muted or set to vibrate so they cannot be heard in the classroom.
  • Cellphone or mp3 photos cannot be taken without the approval of the person being photographed.
  • Classroom lectures cannot be recorded in any way without the approval of the instructor.  Some states/communities have laws regarding this.
  • A person's language use reflects a person's personality.  Keep all messages (text, calls, blogs, emails, etc.) free of vulgarities and negative comments about other people.
  • Not everyone sends text messages.  Send a text message with your intended audience in mind.  (Be careful with texting language.)
  • Students are to use the Internet during school hours as a research tool.  Keep games and reward time to a minimum.
* © James W. Roberts, “I Can’t Find the Box: Integrating Technology Into the Classroom”, 2009
MODULE 6: Wrap-up
Now that you have spent some time learning (and sharing if you are in a group) topics dealing with bullying and technology safety, it is time to "Pay the Piper", so to speak.  Your input and observations would be of great use for the district and for fellow educators.  Please click on the following link and complete the form.  Once you have completed this form, you are finished with this part of the Professional Development activity.  This form is a required component of the Professional Day so please be reflective with your thoughts.  Thank you for your attention, time, and input.

 

 

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