Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Safer Internet Day 2015

It's Safer Internet Day today! Safer Internet Day is an international education and awareness-raising effort spanning more than 100 countries around the globe. 

Check out the Family section of the Google Safety Center for tips on keeping your family safe while using the internet.

If your kids are 13 years old or older, make sure to take our Social Media course for information on app age limits, account security, data privacy, and more! 

Common Sense Media also has privacy & safety advice for parents of kids of all ages.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Rise of Anonymous Social Media


  • Anonymous social media apps are increasingly used to bully and threaten others nearby
  • Posts are not truly anonymous - law enforcement can track down users
  • Parents should monitor what apps their kids are using, and discuss appropriate behavior when posting online

Social media goes anonymous and gets mean

Though people on the internet have long hidden behind usernames and fake email addresses, a new breed of anonymous social media, apps such as YikYak and Whisper, don't even require a user to create an account (though YikYak does require users to be 18 years old). Rather than following other users, what you see is based on your location, e.g., when someone posts to YikYak, all other users within a 10 mile radius see the post.

With their identity seemingly hidden and no victim to face, it's easier for people to engage in behavior that is hurtful, violent, and sometimes illegal. As a result, many schools are facing significant problems from these apps. However, like anything else on the internet, nothing is truly anonymous; law enforcement can retrieve unique information about a post - namely IP address and GPS coordinates - that enable them to track the author of a post.

What you can do

by pretty-social.com
Apps and websites are created and fall out favor just as quickly as the football team can polish off a pizza, and it's impossible to block every inappropriate app or website. So while it is important for parents to monitor their kids' devices and the apps they use, it's even more important to keep an on-going conversation about appropriate online behavior.

Talk with your kids about the effects bullying have on them and their peers, about how a joke or sarcastic comment may be misinterpreted by the recipient, and about how easily a post can cross the line into being a crime. As always, it's good to remind kids about their digital tattoo, i.e. anything they post online is permanently attached to them for the rest of their lives.

For more information on social media and appropriate online behavior, see our online Social Media course and the Digital Citizenship section of the Student Technology Wiki.

Links in this article

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Free Online Course: Social Media 101

Social media is an increasingly significant component of digital citizenship. To help parents and students use social media tools safely and legally, we've created an online course: Social Media 101. The course will continue to evolve and become part of a larger digital citizenship course - you can help us by submitting suggestions via the feedback form on the course.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Digital Citizenship Presentation

Below is a video of yesterday's Digital Citizenship for Parents presentation, as well as links to handouts and other resources.

Additional Resources

Please contact Caitlin Cahill with any questions about this presentation.

        Monday, September 16, 2013

        Back to School: Social Media, BYOD, and Upcoming Events

        Social Media for Parents

        We've gathered a variety of social media resources on the Advice for Parents page of the Student Tech wiki, including a quick overview of popular apps and tutorials for learning how to use them yourself.
        Did you know... Most websites, including Facebook, require users to be at least 13 years old. Some apps, such as Vine, require users to be at least 18 years old.

        Bring Your Own Device

        Students are encouraged to bring their personal devices - laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc. - to school for educational purposes. Students are never required to have a device and may only use them with permission from their teacher. By combining students’ own devices with school devices, we will be much closer to a one-to-one model of device access. See the BYOD section of the Student Tech Wiki for additional information.
        Quick tip: be sure to set up tracking on mobile devices. in the event a device is lost or stolen, you can lock, locate, or delete the device remotely.
        Students using mobile devices should check out the Organize Your [Digital] Life! article for tools and tips for managing assignment calendars, taking notes, and syncing Orono Google Apps on mobile devices.

        Save the Date: Digital Citizenship Parent Seminars 

        Orono's Digital Citizenship Task Force - a collaboration of teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, and technology staff - will host several parent seminars during conferences in October. Come learn more about social media, mobile devices, and digital tattoos, and how to help your child(ren) navigate the online world safely. Session details will be posted to your school's calendar.