• In schools across the country, technology is transforming education, allowing teachers to create personalized learning environments for their students. But computers, tablets, and mobile devices are also creating a real need for a curriculum that prepares students for the issues that they will face when they begin to go online -- issues like safety and security, cyberbullying, privacy, and respecting creative work.

    This year, elementary schools in Chicago, Denver, New York City, Omaha, Maine, and California are having their 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students earn their "digital passports" as proof of their readiness for the digital world. Based on lessons from Common Sense Media's pioneering K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum -- currently taught in 35,000 schools nationwide -- Digital Passport™ is a free, web-based platform that's an exciting and engaging way for educators to teach and test the critical skills of digital citizenship.

    Using a blended-learning model of

    Read More »from Web-Based Games Prepare Kids for Personalized Online Learning
  • Interest keeps growing! Check out recent coverage and mentions of on the Digital Safety Diversion Program, a resource by the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety and Yahoo! for law enforcement to teach kids to make smarter choices online, and helps parents navigate this new digital world.

    Digital Safety Diversion Program Aimed to End Bullying Online (TMC Net, August 7, 2012)

    Digital Safety: The New Frontier in High School Safety (Government Technology, August 6, 2012)

    New Program Teaches Bay Area Teen Tech Offenders a Lesson (San Francisco Examiner, July 22, 2012)

    Police Taught Courses on Digital Safety May Offer an Alternative Punishment for Young Offenders (Digital Smart Blog, July 21, 2012)

    New Course is like Traffic School for Texting (E School News, July 9, 2012)

    You can follow new developments in the course and get other news on online safety on Twitter @YahooSafely.

    Read More »from New Coverage of the Digital Safety Diversion Program
  • Mobile Parenting

    There are some good mobile parenting pointers on the Web these days, one example being " Five things to do before giving your teenager a smartphone." But — practically speaking — these are just useful talking points in the broader, on-going conversation families need to have about how social-media tools like phones can be used to connect with others kindly, meaningfully, and successfully in everybody's very fast-paced lives. These little full-blown connected computers called smartphones can do so many things that they have appeal for different reasons and are used in different ways based on who the owner is and where s/he is in her life (though their small size and huge portability appeal pretty universally!). Which is why some rules work well for a while, but two-way conversations work better than set rules. And it's wise to choose not to be "skittish," as writer and "appolicious advisor" Brad Spirrison put it, because parental anxiety can put a real damper on communication.

    [ Pew

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  • As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. We think the same goes for keeping kids safe online. Key members of the online safety village are educators. That is why on the week of June 24, members of the Yahoo! Trust and Safety team attended the annual ISTE 2012 conference held by the International Society for Technology in Education. Now in its 33rd year, ISTE's annual conference and exposition features an amazing array of professional learning and collaborative networking opportunities. ISTE's annual conference and exposition has been a gathering place for education technology professionals to experience professional development, global networking, and to learn about industry trends. Of the 13,000 participants who attend ISTE's conference each year, nearly 40% are administrators and technology facilitators—leaders in educational technology from around the globe. The event was a fantastic opportunity to engage with dedicated professionals interested in improving student

    Read More »from Digital Citizenship a Key Focus for Yahoo! at ISTE 2012
  • Champions of online safety rejoice! Yahoo! Safely has a new mascot, and he has a name and a resolve to spread the message of safety all around the Internet.

    Meet Soter, who is named after the Greek God of safety from harm. His message? "Online safety is just as essential as safety in real life."

    We have one man to thank for the Safely Bot's new identity. Alex V. (@alexviray) submitted the name "Soter," which comes from the Greek God of Safety from harm. Alex himself is a protector from harm—for his kids. He has two children, ages six and four, who go online for games, videos, and to chat with relatives--under the close supervision of their parents. And when it comes to online safety, Alex has the same advice for his kids as he has for everyone else. "The golden rule for everyone should be 'Think before you click!'" he said.

    We're very happy with the results and would like to thank all those who submitted names and messages. Special shout-out to our runners up, Amanda F. (@pircy23)

    Read More »from Nameless No Longer: Meet Soter, Yahoo!’s New Guide to Internet Safety
  • Talk to your kids. Talk to your kids. Talk to your kids. While traveling the country addressing parents, law enforcement, school staff and administrators, they must hear me say this fifty times in the 1 ½ hours that I have to speak with them about technology safety and responsible use.

    Most recently I was reminded how important this message is when a national news story broke of the 68-year-old bus monitor who was relentlessly bullied by a group of middle school students, all captured by a cell phone video camera.

    Although I could barely watch this clip in its entirely, I wanted to get every parent I know in a room—along with their children—and show them the clip, and have a productive conversation about what took place in this video clip, and the feelings brought about as a result.

    I would pose questions such as:

    • How would you feel if this you're your grandmother being picked on in the clip? What long-term consequences will this have for the kids bullying this woman?
    • What will

    Read More »from Turning Terrible Moments Into Teachable Moments
  • At Yahoo! Trust and Safety, we support initiatives that highlight online safety, technological innovation, and youth populations. Inspire USA, a non-profit that promotes positive mental health for teens and young adults, has announced the results of their inaugural "Don't Just Stand By" teen developer competition that promotes positive developments in all those categories.

    Entrants of the competition were asked to develop a Facebook application that would empower bystanders to stand up against cyberbullying. The first place winner received $2000 and five hours of mentorship from an adult programmer.

    Inspire USA chose ninth grader Timothy Mullican of Huntsville, Alabama, as the winner of the competition. Mullican developed "Words Hurt," an app designed to combat online bullying. The first section of the app gives the user an introduction the cyberbullying. The second is a search tool that allows individuals to search through their friend's Facebook Wall pages to find key words

    Read More »from Inspire USA’s Teen Developer Contest Empowers Youth to Empower Others
  • Yahoo! has been a longtime industry leader in online safety. Fostering safer online experiences continues to be one of Yahoo!'s primary concerns, particularly as the Internet plays a larger role in the everyday life of children. As kids spend more and more time online, searching for help with schoolwork or just staying in touch with friends, parents and educators are also looking for new tools and resources to protect children from online harm. As part of Yahoo!'s commitment to protecting children online, we collaborate with child safety advocates and law enforcement, including an on-going, multi-faceted partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). Ten years ago Yahoo! collaborated with NCMEC to help disseminate AMBER alerts to Yahoo!'s powerful network of millions of people around the world. The AMBER Alert program has been credited with the safe recovery of 525 children nationwide.

    Recently, we announced our latest initiative in providing our users

    Read More »from Yahoo Joins with Polaris Project to Provide Users with Resources on Reporting Instances of Human Trafficking
  • I'm just going to "republish" the following paragraphs in full because of the last two about teens. They represent cutting-edge, research-based thinking, but also a point of view that I value. The writer, sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. She's blogging at The Atlantic about social media's role in human relationships in anticipation of a conversation with Sherry Turkle and Steven Marche on the Diane Rehm Show on public radio this week, in which she speaks of social media as one answer to the "epidemic of loneliness" that Marche wrote of in The Atlantic….

    "Social media is propelling transitions and disruptions in the composition of social networks. Increasingly, what used to be a given (social ties you inherited by virtue of where you lived or your familial ties) is now a task (social ties based on shared interests and mutual interest). Surely, there will be new

    Read More »from Parents, You Might Consider These POVs
  • Regardless of your age, profession, or role in society, you have likely directly or indirectly encountered a bully or, more recently, a cyberbully.  Hopefully, you did the right thing; you intervened, reported the conduct, sought assistance, or took other appropriate actions to address the bullying behavior.  There are a myriad of important moral and ethical reasons to proactively address and prevent bullying, but the potential legal liability associated with bullying or failing to address bullying may be equally motivating.

    As people nationwide have turned to the courts for redress in bullying incidents, we have seen a variety of lawsuits and legal proceedings associated with cyberbullying, such as:

    • Civil causes of action for alleged torts like defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, premises liability, vicarious liability, and damages;
    • Civil causes of action for alleged free speech, equal protection, and privacy violations;
    • Student and employee

    Read More »from The Civil and Criminal Consequences of Cyberbullying

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