Tag Archives: How Rude Manners For the Digital Age

Sexting’ during school hours

5 Aug

In Teaching children about ‘sexting’ Moi said:

We live in a society with few personal controls and even fewer people recognize boundaries which should govern their behavior and how they treat others. Laura Hibbard has an eye opening post at Huffington Post about a teacher who was “sexting” one of her students. In the article, Cynthia Stewart, School Counselor, Jailed For Sexting Boy Hibbard reports:

After allegedly texting naked photos of herself to a 15-year-old boy, 43-year-old school counselor Cynthia Stewart faces possible jail time, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

According to the report, Stewart, a counselor at Olympia Elementary School, has been charged with with solicitation of a minor as well as receipt of child pornography.

Authorities arrested Stewart after the boy’s parents found the correspondance, which included more than 20 naked photos of the counselor, My San Antonio reported.

After the two became friends on Facebook two years ago, their messages turned sexual in nature, the report said. Investigators are still unsure whether or not any sexual exchanges ever took place offline, but are continuing to look into the matter.


Unfortunately, “sexting” incidents involving children and adults with authority over them are not that uncommon.

Children are not mature and adults cannot expect the same level of maturity that most adults are presumed to have. Immature people, like kids, will take even harmless interactions and embellish and broadcast them to the world at large. The safest course of action for for teachers who want to be viewed as teacher professionals is to use common sense when using all social media and never put yourself in a situation with a student which can be viewed as compromising.

Common Sense Media has some great resources for parents about teaching children how to use media responsibly. Their information  Talking About “Sexting”  is excellent.

Maureen Feighan reports in the Detroit News article, Schools in Troy seek to curb sexting:

Sexting — texting or emailing sexually explicit pictures or texts — is surging among teens, legal experts say, and one local school district is stepping up the fight against it.

The Troy School District Board of Education adopted a sexting policy this month that puts students on notice that their cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices may be searched starting in September if there’s “reasonable suspicion” of sexting, and local authorities may be contacted.

While school officials say the policy wasn’t prompted by a specific incident, it may be one of the first of its kind to specifically address sexting in a Metro Detroit school district.

“It was just a matter of being proactive and recognizing that unfortunately across the United States with the proliferation of communication devices and social media, it’s … only a matter of time before this may occur,” said Rich Machesky, Troy’s assistant superintendent for secondary instruction.

Still, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has concerns about Troy’s policy, including how broadly it defines materials of a sexual nature and the handing over of a student’s private cellphone to police. They say under the current definition, biology books would be off-limits.

“Usually, this is kids being irresponsible and careless and certainly not criminals, and they shouldn’t be treated that way,” said Michael J. Steinberg, legal director for ACLU Michigan.

One infive teenage girls say they have electronically sent or posted online nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves, according to a national survey, “Sex and Tech,” by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com.

Andone inthree teenage boys say they have had nude or semi-nude images, originally meant to be private, shared with them.

A study by researchers at the University of Michigan found sexting is also common among college-age people. The U-M SexLab and Prevention Research Center of Michigan surveyed 3,500 young adults, ages 18-24, and found 43 percent had received or sent sex-related messages on their phones.

As common as it may be, the consequences are serious. In Michigan, youngsters who sext can be prosecuted under child pornography laws and face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Just possessing sexually explicit material is a four-year felony. A juvenile conviction for a sexual offense could land someone on the state’s sex offender registry….

“I’ve gotten a lot of calls from parents that their kids are facing these serious charges and they’re flabbergasted,” Service said.

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools uses its student code of conduct to make it clear to students that sexting is forbidden.

“If we even suspect it, we get the police involved,” said district spokesman Frank Ruggirello.

But where does student privacy end and a district’s right to know begin? The ACLU’s Steinberg said standards are different for schools; a district has to have reasonable suspicion of possible illegal activity to conduct a search of someone’s belongings. Police, on the other hand, have to have probable cause that a crime has been committed.

“It’s a much higher standard than school officials,” said Steinberg, who has problems with Troy officials potentially acting as agents of the police.

The district’s policy states “all evidence and electronic devices shall be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency.”

Machesky said students could say no to a request to search their cellphone or laptop if a school official suspects sexting; the district would then contact the parents, he said.

If a student is found in violation of the policy, discipline could range from a minor infraction to up to a 10-day suspension.

“The real challenge to policing this whole issue of social media is behavior that happens outside of school versus behavior that happens inside school,” Machesky said. “Where it becomes a gray area is when incidents happen outside of school and may have an impact on school.”

See, School district acts to stop ‘sexting’                                           http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/school-district-acts-to-stop-sexting/2012/08/04/fe2e2552-db29-11e1-b829-cab78633af7c_blog.html

Common Sense Media has other great resources including including Caroline Knorr ‘s excellent article, How Rude! manners For the Digital Age

Parent must monitor their child’s use of technology.


Sexting Information: What every parent should know about sexting.


Social Networking and Internet Safety Information for Parents: Sexting


Teen Sexting Tips



New study about ‘sexting’ and teens                                                                               https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/new-study-about-sexting-and-teens/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Personal learning networks (PLNs) and education

15 Jul

Peter DeWitt has written an interesting Education Week piece about personal learning networks (PLNs), Do Our Students Have PLN’s?

Teachers need to make sure that they are fostering strong PLN’s in the classroom because as much as it is important to learn from a teacher, we also understand that the conversations students have with one another can be invaluable as well.

Through social media and other venues there is a lot of talk about personal learning networks (PLN). A PLN consists of all of the places where you get your information and its how educators tap into educational conversations with colleagues near and far. It’s a fantastic way to stay current in our practice as educators. As a principal, I believe it’s highly important to be connected so I can bring the most current and best resources to staff and in return they share their best resources with me…

Students do have personal learning networks and they have to decide, much like we do, whether that PLN is a good one or a bad one. Their PLN begins with their parents. We have all learned a great deal from our parents and at a very young age they helped shape our thinking before we ever stepped foot into a school building. Our parents taught us how to talk, read (in some cases), walk and how to ride a bike. If you haven’t thanked your parents lately for being the first member of your PLN, perhaps you should.

Secondly, our students learn from their teachers. In some cases it may be a self-contained teacher that they spend their days with in the classroom. Other times they may switch classes and learn from a variety of teachers. Some teachers and the ones they truly connect with and others they just learn from.

Thirdly, students learn from one another. In some cases their peer groups are their strongest PLN. They may work in groups or by just listening to answers that other students give when teachers ask questions. Teachers need to make sure that they are fostering strong PLN’s in the classroom because as much as it is important to learn from a teacher, we also understand that the conversations students have with one another can be invaluable as well.

Lastly, in my opinion (you may have more) students have PLN’s that are on-line. These PLN’s, depending on the age of the student, need to be monitored because they can have positive or negative impacts and consequences. However, connected teachers and principals know that students can learn from the likes of Twitter. There have been countless conversations between classes of students and other educators. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2012/07/do_our_students_have_plns.html?int

For an excellent example of how to create a PLN, see 10 simple steps to creating a free online Personal English Learning Network:

So, how do you find your English speaking friends and create your own Personal English Out There Learning Network? Just follow the process below and you will soon have unlimited English speaking opportunities for free whenever you want them:

  1. Join an international social network like Facebook and a free online web phone like Skype, then make some online friends by joining groups that promote friendship, use the search tool to find groups under ‘meet new people’ or ‘make friends’
  2. Contact people using the words “Hi, I am using a new system called English Out There can I practise English with you, it will only take a few minutes each time”, in the text chat system and using the special pre-written EOT message in our ‘Social Media Tool Kit
  3. Make as many English speaking friends as you can, preferably in different time zones and with different accents, 15 to 20 should be enough
  4. The more practice partners you have the more likely you will be able to practice 24/7 and be able to hear global English
  5. Do the lesson and prepare the Out There Task questions
  6. See who is online and text them to see if they can talk
  7. Call those who say ‘yes’ and use the language from the lesson to break the ice and get going
  8. Talk for about five or six minutes and then say “Goodbye”.
  9. Text another friend in your network and ask the same questions again.
  10. Repeat four or five times with different people in your network.

REMEMBER:  Ask your questions, have a quick chat and then GO! You will be amazed with the results.

In Children’s sensory overload from technology, moi said:

Like it or not, technology is a part of life. The key is to use technology for YOUR advantage and to not let technology control you. Parents must monitor their children’s use of technology. Caroline Knorr has an excellent article at Common Sense Media, How Rude! Manners For the Digital Age Parents must talk with their children about the responsible use of social media and the Internet. Common Sense Media has some great discussion points in the article, Rules of the Road for Kids https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/childrens-sensory-overload-from-technology/


5 Things You Can Do to Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network                                                                  http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2008/04/5-things-you-can-do-to-begin-developing.html

Personal Learning Networks for Educators: 10 Tips                                                      http://gettingsmart.com/news/personal-learning-networks-for-educators-10-tips/

Building a Learning Network for Students                                                                            http://classroom-aid.com/2011/11/20/building-a-learning-network-for-students/

23 Resources about Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)                                           http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/2010/05/09/16-resources-about-personal-learning-networks-plns/


Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’ https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/study-what-skills-are-needed-for-21st-century-learning/

What is a creativity index and why are states incorporating the index into education?                                                https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/what-is-a-creativity-index-and-why-are-states-incorporating-the-index-into-education/

The digital divide in classrooms                             https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/the-digital-divide-in-classrooms/

Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Children’s sensory overload from technology

3 Jun

Like it or not, technology is a part of life. The key is to use technology for YOUR advantage and to not let technology control you. Parents must monitor their children’s use of technology. Caroline Knorr has an excellent article at Common Sense Media, How Rude! Manners For the Digital Age Parents must talk with their children about the responsible use of social media and the Internet. Common Sense Media has some great discussion points in the article, Rules of the Road for Kids

Rules of the Road for Kids

1. Guard your privacy. What people know about you is up to you.

2. Protect your reputation. Self-reflect before you self-reveal. What’s funny or edgy today could cost you tomorrow.

3. Nothing is private online. Anything you say or do can be copied, pasted, and sent to gazillions of people without your permission.

4. Assume everyone is watching. There’s a huge, vast audience out there. If someone is your friend’s friend, they can see everything.

5. Apply the Golden Rule. If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else.

6. Choose wisely. Not all content is appropriate. You know what we mean.

7. Don’t hide. Using anonymity to cloak your actions doesn’t turn you into a trustworthy, responsible human being.

8. Think about what you see. Just because it’s online doesn’t make it true.

9. Be smart, be safe. Not everyone is who they say they are. But you know that.

A timely discussion now may save a lot of heartache for you and your family later.

Rebecca Greenfield has a great post at the Atlantic Wire which summarizes a sampling of other articles about Facebook’s effect on children. In What Facebook Does to Kids’ Brains

Andrew Stevensen writes in the Sydney Morning Herald article, The screens that are stealing childhood:

Australians have smartphones and tablet computers gripped in their sweaty embrace, adopting the new internet-enabled technology as the standard operating platform for their lives, at work, home and play.

But it is not only adults who are on the iWay to permanent connection. As parents readily testify, many children don’t just use the devices, they are consumed by them.

”These devices have an almost obsessive pull towards them,” says Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University and author of iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us.

”How can you expect the world to compete with something like an iPad3 with a high-definition screen, clear video and lots of interactivity? How can anything compete with that? There’s certainly no toy that can.

”Even old people like me can’t stop themselves from tapping their pocket to make sure their iPhone is there. Imagine a teenager, even a pre-teen, who’s grown up with these devices attached at the hip 24/7 and you end up with what I think is a problem.”

The technology has been absorbed so comprehensively that the jury on the potential impact on young people is not just out, it’s yet to be empanelled.

”The million-dollar question is whether there are risks in the transfer of real time to online time and the answer is that we just don’t know,” says Andrew Campbell, a child and adolescent psychologist….

Authoritative standards on appropriate levels of use are limited. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends parents discourage TV for children under two and limit screen time for older children to less than two hours a day.

The guidelines, says Professor Rosen, are ”ludicrous” but the need for them and constant communication with young people about technology and how they use it, remains. ”It’s no longer OK to start talking to your kids about technology when they’re in their teens. You have to start talking to them about it as soon as you hand them your iPhone or let them watch television or Skype with grandma,” he says.

He suggests a ratio of screen time to other activities of 1:5 for very young children, 1:1 for pre-teens and 5:1 for teenagers. Parents should have weekly talks with their children from the start, looking for signs of obsession, addiction and lack of attention.                                          http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/the-screens-that-are-stealing-childhood-20120528-1zffr.html

See, Technology Could Lead to Overstimulation in Kids  http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/technology-could-lead-to-overstimulation-in-kids/

Dr. Rosen wrote an interesting piece for Psychology Today, Face the Facts: We Are All Headed for an “iDisorder”

Do we need to take a permanent holiday from our technology or is there an iCure for an iDisorder? The outlook is very positive if we recognize the signs and learn to take small steps to keep our brains healthy and sane. Here are sample strategies. More can be found in my new book, iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession With Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us.

  • Social networking can be all about “ME” and it can make us appear narcissistic. I advocate using an “e-waiting” period between writing any post, email, text or comment and pressing the key that offers it to the world. Take a couple of minutes, do something else, and then come back and count the times you use the words “me” or “I” compared to the number of times you use the words “we,” “us,” “they” or other inclusive pronouns. One of the signs of narcissism is a focus on the self and our specialness. Sometimes it helps us break out of the me, me, me mode by focusing on other people in our lives and commenting about their posts and their photos. Remember, though, that although you may be feeling somewhat anonymous writing posts and comments behind a screen, there is a real person made of flesh and blookd at the other end and your words will have an impact on that person. Be gently and use your e-waiting period to let you reevaluate what you say in any electronic communication.
  • At the dinner table declare a “tech break” at the beginning of the meal and have everyone check their phones for a minute and then silence them and place them upside down on the table. Now talk for 15 minutes followed by someone declaring another “tech break.” The upside down silent phone is a stimulus that says, “Don’t worry – you can check me soon.” This stops the brain from obsessing about every little e-communication.
  • Using technology evokes excessive mental activity so much so that our brains are all abuzz all day long. Your brain needs periodic resetting. This doesn’t take a lot of time. Fifteen minutes of walking through nature (or even looking at a nature picture book), doing puzzles, or talking to someone about something fun and positive are just a few ways to reset your brain. Consider doing one of these activities every few hours to calm the brain and stop the potential iDisorder.

There is no turning back. We live in a connected world and we are better because of it. We know more than ever before and we are more social than ever before. But we have to learn to take care of our brains to avoid an iDisorder. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rewired-the-psychology-technology/201203/face-the-facts-we-are-all-headed-idisorder

There are warning signs that a child or adult might be addicted to technology.

Jason Dick has 15 Warning Signs That Your Child is An Internet Addict

Psychological and media experts have compiled a list of warning signs for Internet addiction:

1. The Internet is frequently used as a means of escaping from problems or relieving a depressed mood.

2. Your child often loses track of time while online.

3. Sleep is sacrificed for the opportunity to spend more time online.

4. Your child prefers to spend more time online than with friends or family.

5. He/She lies to family member and friends about the amount of time or nature of surfing being done on the Internet.

6. Your child becomes irritable if not allowed to access the Internet.

7. He/She has lost interest in activities they once found enjoyable before getting online access.

8. Your child forms new relationships with people they have met online.

9. They check their email several times per day.

10. He/She has jeopardized relationships, achievements, or educational opportunities because of the Internet.

11. Your child disobeys the time limits that have been set for Internet usage.

12. They eat in front of the computer frequently.

13. Your child develops withdrawal symptoms including: anxiety, restlessness, or trembling hands after not using the Internet for a lengthy period of time.

14.Your child is preoccupied with getting back online when away from the computer.

15. They have trouble distinguishing between the virtual world and the real world.

It is very important that parents identify Internet addiction in their children at an early age and set limits on their Internet use. My next article will provide a no nonsense contract that parents can use with their children to set limits and boundaries on Internet use.

See also, Internet Addiction in Children and Internet Addiction Linked to ADHD and Depression in Teens

Helpguide.Org has a good article on treating internet addiction in teens. Among their suggestions are:

It’s a fine line as a parent. If you severely limit a child or teen’s Internet use, they might rebel and go to excess. But you can and should model appropriate computer use, supervise computer activity and get your child help if he or she needs it. If your child or teen is showing signs of Internet addiction, there are many things that you as a parent can do to help:

  • Encourage other interests and social activities. Get your child out from behind the computer screen. Expose kids to other hobbies and activities, such as team sports, Boy or Girl Scouts, and afterschool clubs.
  • Monitor computer use and set clear limits. Make sure the computer is in a common area of the house where you can keep an eye on your child’s online activity, and limit time online, waiting until homework and chores are done. This will be most effective if you as parents follow suit. If you can’t stay offline, chances are your children won’t either.
  • Talk to your child about underlying issues. Compulsive computer use can be the sign of deeper problems. Is your child having problems fitting in? Has there been a recent major change, like a move or divorce, which is causing stress? Don’t be afraid to seek professional counseling if you are concerned about your child.

There is something to be said for Cafe Society where people actually meet face-to-face for conversation or the custom of families eating at least one meal together. Time has a good article on The Magic of the Family Meal See, also Family Dinner: The Value of Sharing Meals

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©