Archive for Internet Safety

How do we educate ‘tweens and teens about the ethical use of cell phones? Sexting* has become an issue in communities the world over, largely due to the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones with cameras.

Unfortunately, many students do not understand the consequences of their actions. We hope the video below from the AdCouncil and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children will reinforce the message that what students post in online communities has far reach.


Out of Your Hands

*Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, primarily between cell phones

Filed Under (District Policies, Internet Safety) by on January 25, 2010 and tagged

Elementary computer lab teachers will soon be rolling out the i-SAFE program as an integral part of their curriculum. This comprehensive program provides teachers with resources, lesson plans, and even handouts.  We invite all who use the i-SAFE curriculum to add to ideas below on incorporating “green” technologies into the program.

nophonezone190x130Does your child text while driving? If the answer is “yes,” he or she is at the same risk of causing a fatal accident as someone who is driving while legally drunk. The statistics are far reaching and frightening.

Across the nation, celebrities and organizations are grappling with this escalating problem. Oprah Winfrey is taking a lead with her No Texting Campaign – don’t temp f8, that txt can w8   and inviting all drivers to take her No Phone Zone Pledge. Her website now includes a growing bank of resources such as  the video What you really see when you’re texting.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has launched the first national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending distracted driving in this country.  You can learn more about their program at

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is currently enforcing the following cell phone laws:

  • Prohibit persons under the age of 18 from driving a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone or a mobile service device. This prohibition includes telephones equipped with a hands-free device.
  • Prohibit persons 18 and older from driving a motor vehicle while using a hand-held cellular telephone unless that telephone permits hands-free operation. EXCEPTIONS: The law allows those driving a motor truck, truck tractor, tow truck, or specified farm vehicles to use a digital two-way radio service built into a wireless telephone that operates by depressing a push-to-talk feature and does not require immediate proximity to the user’s ear. These exceptions apply until July 1, 2011.

Bottom line: Do not text while driving!

If you have resources 2WebWatchers could add to this blog and include in our Internet Safety presentations, please post a comment.

Note: Image copied from

During this busy time of year, 2WebWatchers hope you can set aside an hour on December 16 at 9:15 – 10:15 to log on to the 2009 K12 Online Conference – Bridging the Divide. High school teacher Vicki Davis and her students will be sharing their year-long Digiteens Global Project:

As part of the k12 online conference 2009 and as a conclusion to the Digiteen Project #3 of 2009, students from Westwood Schools will be presenting their top socially connected sites for kids aged 8-12 (and some that they DO NOT recommend.) As part of Digiteen 2009, these students felt that many sites that are marketed to kids aged 8-12 are not appropriate nor safe and set out to review and test the best. They have been blogging and have a twitter account (@socialsafety) and will be presenting live in Elluminate on Wednesday, December 16, 2010 from 12:15 pm-12:45 pm and answer your questions about their testing experiences.

At the conclusion of the student presentation, from 12:45pm – 1:15 pm leading social internet safety expert, Anne Collier will reflect and talk with students about their findings. Backchannel questions will be included in the conversation.”

In addition to meeting and learning from Vicki’s students, you will meet Anne Collier.  Anne’s  Connect Safely website and her interviews posted to PBS Frontline’s Digital Nation series are  great resources for parents and educators to learn about keeping children safe in a digital world:

Be sure to checkout the video resources she has posted to the site, such as Larry Magid’s tutorial on privacy settings for Facebook and the Meet the Web Family videos, including Is Kate a Web Addict?

Parents often ask 2WebWatchers about the best ways to set parental controls on their home computer.  We think you’ll find Google’s SafeSearch worth checking out.  Of course, nothing replaces parental supervision, but the Google team is doing their best to provide parents with a user-friendly tool that attempts to block explicit or inappropriate sites. Thanks to coloredballsvery conspicous “colored balls” displayed at the top of the screen, parents can see at a glance that SafeSearch is still “locked.

 And if SafeSearch were not enough,…Google has also launched KidRex, a search engine “for kids, by kids.”

We would welcome parent reviews on both these Google tools. Please feel free to post a comment by clicking on the Post a comment link below this post. 

Note:  All comments are moderated by 2WebWatchers (usually within 24 hours).

footprintsLike students everywhere, our students are actively texting, posting to blogs, remixing, and uploading photos and videos – sometimes without the realization that once things are posted on the Internet, they can become archived permanently and are searchable by recruiters, future employers and anyone else out there with a computer.

For the past three years, we have been facilitating district-wide Internet Safety workshops for teachers, administrators, and parents. After demonstrating how to “Google yourself,”* we frequently have participants pull us aside or contact us afterwords because they’ve discovered their child has posted either inappropriate information or way too much personal information on the Internet. They want to know how they can help their child remove detrimental material from MySpace, Facebook, and other social networks.

As alarming as it may be to find that your child’s digital footprint has taken a negative turn, there are, fortunately, options for undoing or lessening the damage:

  • Start by contacting the website that is hosting whatever it is you would like removed. The content could be either by or about your child. Unfortunately, even if your child understands the potential impact of placing personal information on the Web, his or her friends may not. Either way most webmasters will comply with your request (it helps to request politely;-)
  • If you would prefer to pay a third party do the searches for you, businesses such as Reputation Defender will “scour the Internet for all references to your child or teen – by name, photography, screen name, or social network profiles – and package it to you in an easy-to-understand report.” Typically, fees run from$10 – $15 per month, depending on your plan. Note: the EGUSD does not endorse any search vendors.
  • Encourage your child to become involved with school, community, and national or even international organizations that he/she has an interest in – and that, in turn, will provide positive press – resulting in positive Google search returns. For example, a Google search on Cosumnes Oaks sophomore and independent filmmaker Tori Winslow will bring up (besides a number of Google twins) links that showcase her passion, talent, and commitment to producing documentaries to educate the public and promote an awareness of issues ranging from humane treatment of giraffes in captivity to common health concerns . The Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium, for example, features an interview with Tori about the value of filmmaking. The Gluten-Free NYC website promotes Tori’s Celiac Disease documentary. And the EGUSD website references her in a feature story spotlighting the winning entries for the district’s first annual Internet Safety Video Contest. Tori’s accomplishments are documented and searchable, which can be a good thing – especially if the audience includes a college recruiter or a prospective employer.

If you have questions about or suggestions for helping our students create and maintain positive digital footprints, please post a comment.

*To google yourself, go to Google at Type in your full name, but in quotes – like this “John Doe.” Then click Google search.

Image copied (under Creative Commons Fair Use attribution) from

California Assembly members are proposing a bill that would expand on the 2007 Chavez bill (AB 307) requirement for teaching Internet safety in California public schools. The Chavez bill originally addressed the need to teach students about copyright and fair use. The bill was later amended to include a section on Internet safety.

A new bill, AB 678 (Hall) Education Technology,  extends the Chavez bill to require California school districts’  3- to 5-year technology  plans to include Internet safety guidelines and criteria that educates students and teachers on the negative impacts of cyberbullying and the responsible use by students of mobile communication technology. The EGUSD 2009-2012 technology plan clearly delineates the district’s commitment to continue our outreach to teachers, students, and parents on the safe, effective, and ethical use of the Internet.

If you would like to track AB 678′s journey through the Legislature, bookmark this link:

One of the goals of the 2WebWatchers blog is to keep our EGUSD community at large informed of changes in federal, state, and district guidelines pertinent to the teaching of Internet safety. Another goal is to provide you with resources that can be used in K-12 classrooms and at home.  We have a new addition to our collection of EGUSD student-produced, award-winning Internet safety videos: Blog Safely.  This PSA was produced by 4th grade filmmakers in Lesley McKillop’s classroom at Prairie Elementary and received Honorable Mention at the recent SEVA Awards Night.

As always, we invite your comments and feedback.

An Internet Safety Night for Sunrise Elementary parents is scheduled for Thursday, April 2, 2009. This workshop is part of our continued effort to teach parents how to best guide their children in the safe, effective and ethical use of the Internet.

Our presentation is an interactive, highly participatory conversation with the community at large. As always, we will share topics that have emerged from this training session here on 2WebWatchers. 

Sunrise Elementary will be the 5th and final Internet Safety training sponsored by an elementary school for the current school year.

2WebWatchers will be scheduling future regional trainings through Adult Education. We will advertise these trainings here on the blog, in school newsletters and on School Loop.

From elementary through high school, students are dialed in, connecting 24/7 with family and friends. Cell phones are not only used for making phone calls. Newer technology is in place and our children’s cell phones are now equipped with cameras and, in many cases, Internet access. Because of this, children bullying other children by using a mobile phone has become a growing problem.

What is a phone bully?
Phone bullies use text messaging and social networking websites to harass, embarrass, exploit and intimidate other kids. This problem goes beyond the school day. The phone bully uses technology to spread his or her offensive messages, embarrassing photos and false rumors to a large group of peers very quickly.

What can kids do if they are being bullied via cell phone?
Become a detective!

If you are being bullied, it’s almost certain that you personally know who is sending the abusive text messages or calls. Think through your list of “friends” and ask yourself who might be doing this. Jealousy, envy and rejection are the most common reasons given for bullying.

Recognize when a message is inappropriate or potentially harmful. Keep a detailed journal, noting the date, time, and caller ID information and phone number (if there is one).

Most importantly, get immediate help from a trusted adult. Never ignore any kind of threat.

What can parents do if a child is being bullied via cell phone?
Sending inappropriate language or photos may violate the cell phone companies “Terms and Conditions.” Do not erase the messages or pictures on your child’s cell phone. Save them as evidence. Cell phone service providers can respond to reports of cyberbullying over their networks, or help you to track down the appropriate service provider.

Cell phone are an important part of teen social life. You have the ability to block text messaging capabilities through your phone service provider. Often times, simply blocking texting for several days will discourage the bully from sending further harassing messages.

Given that your child most likely knows the bully, on way to uncover his or her identity is to change the cell phone number and advice your child to share the new number with only one person at a time.

If you believe the threats are serious, please contact the police.

Resources – Your cell phone, IM and social networks are all a digital expression of who you are. When someone you’re with pressures you or disrespects you in those places, that’s not cool.

Be Web Aware - Challenging Cyber Bullying – Cyberbullying and the law, The role of Internet service providers (ISPs) and cell phone service providers, taking action.

The first annual Pleasant Grove Region Parent Forum will be held today – Saturday, January 31, 2009, from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M., at Pleasant Grove High School. Internet Safety for Parents is one of the many workshops offered by EGUSD, PGHS and Katherine Albiani Middle School. 

This workshop includes background information about Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs, wikis and social networking – including tours through MySpace and Facebook. The workshop also addresses cyberspeak and cyberbullying.

2WebWatchers thought this would be another excellent opportunity to invite workshop parents to go live with their questions and comments.

Here are some questions we have for you:

  • What brought you to the Internet Safety for Parents workshop?
  • What are your current Internet Safety concerns at home and at school?
  • What future topics would you like to see posted on 2WebWatchers?

We welcome all feedback and look forward to continued discussions on helping EGUSD parents assist their children on traveling the Internet safely, effectively and ethically.

As mentioned in previous posts, all comments on 2WebWatchers are moderated and will appear once they have been approved.