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Anti-Bullying Rules Announced by Ireland's Department of Education

By Steven Woda on September 15, 2013 at 9:11 AM

A big win for cyber-bullying prevention in Ireland happened a few days ago. Read the excerpt from the original post by the Irish Examiner.

Cyber-bullying, homophobic and racist bullying all form part of the Department of Education's new anti-bullying measures.

All primary and secondary schools will have to adopt an anti-bullying policy by no later than the end of term next Summer.

Teachers will be responsible for recording bullying incidents and, where necessary, contacting the parents of the pupils involved.

The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children has welcomed the measures.

"Online bullying is very prevalent and it's certainly something we would like to address and it's been mentioned within the procedures by the Department of Education," said Andrew Jackson, national anti-

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The 10 Most Used Cyberbullying Tactics

By Steven Woda on June 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM

No one wants to see their child being bullied. As bullying becomes more and more prevalent in the media, it has become obvious that bullying no longer just takes on the "Steal your lunch money" tactics of past generations

Cyberbullying is, in many ways, more intense than in-person bullying. Cyberbullying acutely targets a child's insecurities, making the emotional and psychological bruises far more permanent than the traditional punch or swirly. Cyberbullying allows bullies to feel anonymous, freeing them up to say harsher, more pervasive things than they might say in person. Cyberbullies generally face fewer consequences- unlike in a traditional school context, there are no adults monitoring for signs of abuse on a regular basis, so unless a parent, guardian, or school official is tipped off to the problem, it can go unpunished for a substantial amount of time. 

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Instagram and Privacy: There is a Serious Issue Here

By Steven Woda on May 16, 2013 at 3:58 PM

In this article from The Washington Post, Cecilia Kang investigates underage children, Instagram, and if the image-sharing giant is doing enough to make sure kids are safe from adult strangers. We agree that the safety of children online should be the number one priority from all of these social networks, but unfortunately that is not always the case. Here is an excerpt of the piece below: 

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Protecting the Puzzle Pieces of Your Child’s Identity

By Steven Woda on March 12, 2013 at 12:26 PM

This guest post is brought to you by Tami Nealy, Senior Director of Corporate Communication with LifeLock. Today, she writes about child identity theft protection, one of the latest digital dangers parents should be educated on. 

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Why Facebook Keeps Violating Your Privacy: Facebook Safety Alert

By Steven Woda on December 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM

FACEBOOK SAFETY ALERT

Shared via Yahoo! News: The latest controversy over who can use your Instagram photos is far from an isolated event.

Facebook's photosharing site Instagram backtracked Tuesday on its new user privacy policy that would have allowed the site to sell users' photos to advertising agencies.

After a huge outcry from Instagram users on both Facebook and Twitter, co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote on the company's blog:

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Training Wheels For Facebook: Being a Digital Parent

By Tim Woda on December 13, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Parents know that there are certain things we have to teach our children to handle responsibly before we set them free.  Most children progress from tricycle to training wheels to big kid bike under parental supervision.  It’s only after they’ve learned to ride safely, wear a helmet, and obey the rules of the road that we set them free to ride around the neighborhood.  Getting that first driver’s license is an important rite of passage for most teens, but few parents would hand over the car keys to a brand new driver and allow him or her to hit Route 66 for a cross-country road trip.  New freedoms are first exercised within boundaries.  Cars and bicycles are one thing, but what about teaching your child to navigate social media?  Do you have Facebook training wheels?

Let’s just assume for the moment that your child is at least 13 and not one of the 7.5 million Facebook users under the age of 13.  There are good reasons for your child to use Facebook and other forms of social media.  Here’s the big one:  in today’s world, this is how adults communicate.  We teach our children how to answer the phone, eat with good table manners, and speak to adults politely.  We need to teach them how to appropriately navigate social media as well.  Facebook’s user controls don’t always make that easy, however.  One out of five adult users don’t utilize Facebook’s privacy settings.  Does your child?  If you child was one of the one million minors who experienced abuse, threats, or harassment last year, would he or she know how to handle it?  Would you know that it had happened? 

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Cyberbullying: A Mother's Story, Part II

By Tim Woda on November 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM

After the frightening night-time incident (see Cyberbullying - A Mother's Story, Part 1,) Bud became understandably paranoid. He would no longer leave the house unless we drove him to his destination, even if it was just around the corner. He and his friends used to walk all over town and now he was getting so little sunshine that he was eventually diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency.

During the week that followed, one of Bud's friends texted him and told him to check out G's Facebook wall. G had a public and completely open Facebook page--anyone could see it whether or not they were his friend. Bud called me over to see what G had posted. Right there on G's wall was an invitation - " bud morris, come over to my house... I have a bottle of bud and a freshly dug grave in my backyard for you..." "I want to grow my hair long so I can strangle bud with it."

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Cyberbullying: A Mother's Story

By Steven Woda on November 5, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Our son, Bud, loved cyberschool. During his sophomore and junior years his grades got better, his attitude improved, he started hanging out with friends again. Towards the end of his junior year, Bud decided he wanted to go back to public school for his senior year. We were all very excited about his progress. Some of Bud's friends from junior high had taken a wrong turn in high school and started taking methamphetamines. Bud had no use for that and stopped hanging out with them, although they all parted on good terms.

The problem was that G, the younger brother of one of these boys, had looked up to Bud as a protector and was very resentful when Bud stopped hanging out with G's brother and friends. G is a troubled child -

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Teen Olympian Responds to Cyberbully on Twitter

By Steven Woda on August 3, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Anybody can be the victim of a cyberbullying. Even an Olympic athlete.

Eighteen-year-old Zoe Smith's Olympic event hasn't occurred yet, but a handful of cyberbullying comments on Twitter put her in the spotlight recently. 

A Twitter user going by the name of Infidel1978 sent cyberbullying messages to the teen Olympic weightlifter and some of her teammates after they were featured in a BBC documentary called “Girl Power: Going for the Gold.”

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Teens With Fake Social Networking Profiles: Are Your Kids Safe?

By Tim Woda on July 18, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Social networking is on the rise, and so is parental monitoring. The good news is that most parents actively enforce rules regarding Internet safety and engage in various types of monitoring to ensure their child's safety on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

The bad news is that many kids try to get around parental monitoring by creating a “dummy” profile, and many parents are none the wiser about it.

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What Parents Need to Know About Apps on Facebook for Kids

By Tim Woda on April 6, 2012 at 4:33 PM

If you have Facebook for kids of your own, you've discovered that it's more than just a social network. It's a platform for thousands of applications that allow you to do pretty much anything.

With apps, you can send a card to a friend, take a quiz to find out which character from The Hunger Games you are, or answer trivia questions that donate proceeds to charity.

But as fun and enriching as they may be, Facebook apps can be a serious security concern – especially where your kids are concerned. Facebook apps can contain malware and many access a ton of your child's personal information – even without his knowledge.

If you are a parent with a child on Facebook, here are some things you need to know about apps:

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Replacing Facts with Skills in the Classroom: Internet Safety

By Tim Woda on January 26, 2012 at 2:13 PM

A student asked me recently: “Why do I need to know when Frankenstein was published? I have a smart phone—I can always find the answer if I need it.” 

He was right. And while I can expound easily and at length about how important it is to understand the time period in which an author was writing in order to fully analyze the novel, for most students in American high schools today, my lecture would fall under the “not relevant—tune out” category, and instead of listening to me, they’d spend the next twenty minutes ignoring my painstakingly planned lesson in favor of tweeting and texting their friends from under their desks.

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Proposed CA Law on Social Networking Privacy and Facebook for Kids

By Tim Woda on July 19, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Every parent knows that Facebook for kids and children on social networking sites need to vigilantly safeguard their privacy.  Apparently lawmakers know that too, and legislators in California are proposing a new bill aimed at protecting the privacy of social networking users.

Initially, the proposed bill only applied to users under 18, but that provision has since been struck and the bill would now apply to users across the board regardless of age. It would require social networking websites to:

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Kids Safety: Protecting Privacy on YouTube

By Steven Woda on May 16, 2011 at 2:30 PM

YouTube is quickly becoming to online video sharing what Kleenex is to facial tissue, or what Band-Aid is to adhesive bandages. Are your kids safe? It's the most popular video sharing site on the Internet by a long shot, getting more than 100 million views per day. When it comes to YouTube, teach your kids to be over-protective of their own privacy – because when a video clip goes viral on YouTube everybody knows about it.

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Reminder to Teens: Posting Isn't Private Kids Safety

By Steven Woda on March 2, 2011 at 2:39 PM

teensIn cyberspace, things rarely stay private. A nude picture, snarky comment, or reference to illegal drugs or underage drinking meant for a friend’s eyes only can easily be seen by a teacher, employer, parent, stranger, or the entire high school.

In an effort to underline the need for more caution in posting information online, the non-profit Ad Council has produced a series of public service announcements with the tagline “If you wouldn’t wear it, don’t share it.”

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Social Networking Privacy

By Tim Woda on January 23, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Facebook imageYou don’t need an expert to tell you that you lived a different childhood than your kids do. You remember when you had to get up and turn the dial on the TV to change channels; your teen can’t understand how a world without Facebook or MySpace would even function.

You perceive everything differently than your child, and that includes the very nature of social networking.

As adults and non-Facebook natives, we naturally approach social networking with more caution and more discretion. We are well aware that it is a public activity. We parents are more likely to view Facebook as more of a billboard-type communication than a conversation with a friend. But do our kids?

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