Smartphone Safety for Students (and Teachers!)

The following presentation is geared towards the military, but the premise is still highly valid for both students and teachers. With so many students utilizing smartphones and applications with geo-tagging and GPS, security and privacy are critical concerns that every family should fully understand.

Please take a moment to browse the presentation. Your phone may be transmitting information without you even aware of what data is being gathered! (I know, it sounds 1984-ish)


Twurdy: Search engine for students

Twurdy is a great search tool for students, providing results from Google based on readability and age-level appropriate content.

From their about page:

“The philosophy

Everyone has different reading abilities. Some people searching the web are university professors and others are 5 year old children. Twurdy has been created to provide people with access to search results that suit their own readability level.

What does it do?

Twurdy uses text analysis software to “read” each page before it is displayed in the results. Then Twurdy gives each page a readability level. Twurdy then shows the readability level of the page along with a color coded system to help users determine how easy the page will be to understand.

The Goal

Twurdy’s goal is to provide web searchers with information that is most appropriate for them. This will mean that 10 year olds doing school assignments don’t have to click through difficult material to find something they can use. It will also mean that phd students do not have to click through websites designed for kids in order to find what they are looking for.”

Safety Mode for YouTube

Google has just announced a “Safety Mode” for YouTube. Read Google’s information below:

“Diversity of content is one of the great things about YouTube. But we know that some of you want a more controlled experience. That’s why we’re announcing Safety Mode, an opt-in setting that helps screen out potentially objectionable content that you may prefer not to see or don’t want others in your family to stumble across while enjoying YouTube. An example of this type of content might be a newsworthy video that contains graphic violence such as a political protest or war coverage. While no filter is 100% perfect, Safety Mode is another step in our ongoing desire to give you greater control over the content you see on the site.

It’s easy to opt in to Safety Mode: Just click on the link at the bottom of any video page. You can even lock your choice on that browser with your YouTube password.”

YouTube Preview Image

Digital Nation

A few years ago PBS put out a great program entitled Growing Up Online. Segments were used in MS Computer Studies (with the help of Guidance) to explore some real-life cyberbullying stories.

Last week PBS again posted online produced another full length 90 minute program relating to technology and education. Digital Nation focuses on digital learning, gaming, virtual reality, 21st century learning, socializing, parenting, virtual reality and many other topics.

It is well worth watching in its entirety. Overall , it is fairly balanced-it mentions the drawbacks and well as the unstoppable digital influence in society. It lets the viewer decide for themselves what the future and effect of technology will be.

digital nation

How students use technology to cheat in school

cheatMany student use technology to cheat in school

  • More than 8 in 10 kids (83%) have cell phones; 53% have had them since they were 12 or younger*
  • More than 35% admitted to using their cell phones to cheat
  • 52% admitted to some form of cheating involving the Internet
  • 38% said they copied text from Web sites and turned it in as their own work
  • 65% of students with cell phones say they use them during school, but only 23% of parents think their kids are using them during school
  • 69% of schools have cell policies that don’t permit cell use, but more than half of all kids ignore them

For more information about the specifics of how this is happening and what teachers and parents can do about it, visit CommonSenseMedia.org.

Source: CommonSenseMedia.org

Online Safety

Kids’ Rules for Online Safety

  1. I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents’ work address/telephone number, or the name and location of my school without my parents’ permission.
  2. I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable.
  3. I will never agree to get together with someone I “meet” online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along.
  4. I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents.
  5. I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do I will tell my parents right away so that they can contact the service provider.
  6. I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online. We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online and appropriate areas for me to visit. I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission.
  7. I will not give out my Internet password to anyone (even my best friends) other than my parents.
  8. I will check with my parents before downloading or installing software or doing anything that could possibly hurt our computer or jeopardize my family’s privacy
  9. I will be a good online citizen and not do anything that hurts other people or is against the law.
  10. I will help my parents understand how to have fun and learn things online and teach them things about the Internet, computers and other technology.

Borrowed from John Mikton @ his Beyond Digital Wiki: http://beyonddigital.wetpaint.com/page/Safety+Tips

Rules one through six are adapted from the brochure Child Safety on the Information Highway by SafeKids.Com founder Larry Magid. (© 2004 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children). Rules 7 through 10 are copyrighted by Larry Magid (© 2005)