Cyber Bullying Awareness

Have you been bullied or harassed online? The answer is likely yes. Especially if you are a woman, minority or teen. Over 75% of online users have experienced some kind of harassment, even if it wasn’t directed at them specifically but rather a group they are part of.

Despite all the wonders of the internet, there are also inherent risks. Though statistically people are not actually being bullied more than in real life, the internet allows bullies constant access to their victims and therefore with cyber bullying the bullying is amplified and the repercussions are worse. When I went to high school, one teen calling another a loser could be overhead by a dozen bystanders. Now if a teen calls out another teen on social media, that can be witnessed by the entire school or the world depending on the platform.

Additionally, bullies feel a sense of security to critique others behind the safety of their computer screen or even the anonymity of some networks. Online, bullies can also be referred to as trolls. Internet trolls aim to intentionally upset people by posting defamatory or upsetting posts.

The number one reason children do not report cyberbullying or online harassment to their parents is the fear that their electronic device will be taken away. This doubly punishes the child: first with the bullying and second with the disconnection from their social world. Parents need to make sure that kids know they can come to them with their online concerns and that it will not result in them being cut off.

What do you if you or your child is being bullied?

  • First step is to ignore or cut ties with the bully. If the victim doesn’t ‘bite’ then the bullying often stops.
  • Use the protective measure in the technology to stop the connection. If the bullying is happening on a social network, there are many ways that bully can be blocked. You could also remove the bully from buddy lists on chat applications.
  • If you or your child continues to be harassed or threatened, record all instances of the bullying using screen shots or video from another device.

When should you report a bully?

  • Depends on the severity. You may want to start with the bully’s parents if younger or your school. If there are threats, criminal harassment or hate crimes then contact the police. They have access to the networks and are able to get locations and names of users even in the cases when they appear to be anonymous.

As always, knowledge is your most powerful tool. Most networks allow you to report bullying and block people who you don’t want. For severe bullying, seek help from police.

For more tips and resources including a course and webinar, visit the Bullying Awareness Week website:

BullyingAwarenessWeek.org

 

For lots more information on personal cyber security and creating your online identity, check us out at www.binarytattoo.com!

Getting Started with Coding Apps for Kids

There has been growing interest in the idea of kids of all ages learning to code. This article (from CBC Parents) does an excellent job of explaining in lay terms what coding is, and why the skill of coding (aka programming) could be beneficial to every child’s intellectual development.

Many in education are calling coding ‘the next literacy’ and feel it should be introduced as part of the curriculum at all levels. Local teachers have found many ways to introduce coding into their programs, including online programs such as Code Academy, a popular global initiative called Hour of Code, and using various iPad apps.

In the WRDSB (Waterloo Region District School Board), all elementary students (K-8) have access to iPads. Last fall, the following three coding apps for kids were added to all board deployed iPads. Teachers and parents, if your kids have not explored these apps yet, it’s time to give them a try! If you’d like to add them to your own device(s), the apps are all free in the iTunes store.

Here is a little introduction to each app (from the WRDSB App Document) and some ideas to get you started.
DaisytheDinosaur - Copy
Daisy the Dino is a fun app with an easy drag and drop interface for learning basic programming concepts. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges.

  • this is an excellent beginner app for young children – a great intro to coding!
  • the app has 2 levels – ‘Challenge Mode’ has mini-lessons with tutorials – this is recommended to get started as it introduces the basic commands one at a time; ‘Free Play Mode’ is just that and will be easier to use after going through the tutorials.

Hopscotch-logo-small

Hopscotch is a visual coding language app that gives students a creative way to learn the fundamentals of computer programming.

  • made by the same company as Daisy; more advanced, and includes many more options for commands.
  • children will enjoy exploring this app.  They will also enjoy creative challenges such as demonstrating geometry concepts, designing rooms or buildings, creating greeting cards, etc. – their imagination is the limit.

Scratch JrScratch Jr. is a great app which introduces  young children to programming skills as they create their own interactive stories and games.

  • the original, highly respected Scratch web application was created by MIT in 2003 to introduce young people to the concept of programming by creating their own stories, animations and games, with the option of sharing in an online community
  • the Scratch Jr. app introduces the sprites (two-dimensional animated characters) and some of the basics of programming to young children (it says made for ages 6 – 8, however, many teachers and students find that children much older find it a good challenge!)
  • the commands are far more complex than the apps above, and also includes many built in audio options as well as the ability to record your own voice

There are plenty of other coding/programming apps once you are ready for your next challenge. This article (from Edutopia) provides a brief description of 7 excellent, free coding apps which also introduce the concept of programming to kids ages 5 – 11. Give them a try and see how motivated and engaged your students/children will become with coding!

Susan Watt
recently retired ~ Technology Support Teacher, WRDSB
@susan_watt

 

Back to School Means Time for a Device Contract

Girl with Laptop YoCWRIt’s back-to-school time! Which also means back to technology, and maybe new devices for returning students. As parents, it can be difficult to keep on top of everything kids are using, so here are some tips to help you out.

Signing a Device Contract

Whenever you enter in to an agreement with another person (taking a job, renting a house) you sign a contract. Why? Because it is an easy way to set rules ahead of time so that everyone is on the same page. I highly recommend setting up a contract with your children regarding the use of their digital devices.
Contracts are a great way to establish terms and resolve conflicts later. It serves to both protect your child and manage expectations of the device’s use. You can download an editable copy FREE from my site, or you can make your own.

Why Age Matters

I am privileged to speak to many elementary school students but it never ceases to amaze me how much younger kids are getting on to social networks. Does it *really* matter if a 10 year old signs up for Instagram? Unfortunately, yes. COPPA, or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, has put many rules in to place to protect young children from the reaches of advertisers and third party companies. For this reason, the entry age to most networks is 13. By lying about age on sign up, your child could be exposed to many things an adult would far earlier than when they turn 18.

For more information about COPPA and Internet Safety for kids, you can read my full story here.

Technology has added a lot of amazing things to our lives. But like all good things, there are risks and there are rules. By following some simple guidelines, we can all enjoy time online in a safe and effective way.

Cat Coode is the founder of Binary Tattoo, whose mission is to educate you and your children about online safety, empowering you to make smarter choices and better understand online identities.

What’s in a great password? Toolkit for children

Passwords are the first line of defence for all of your technology. Without a strong password, it’s easy to lose control of your email address, personal photos, your phone, and so much more. With a strong password, even the most powerful programs on the inter web will struggle to break into your accounts. Think about the last time you made up a new password for something – did you just select whatever word came to mind? Did you type a simple “123456”? If so, what do you think other people will guess when they try to enter your accounts? Let’s learn about passwords, and make sure that you never have to use a bad password again.

Download >> “What’s in a great password?” as a PDF

Introduction to HTML Teen Toolkit

YoCWR is proud to present our learning toolkits. These kits have been developed with online references and resources by our learning content team. Please download these modules and use them for teaching classes and workshops. They will all include the age group for whom they are most appropriate, and how long the lesson should take.

Enjoy this Introduction to HTML for teens!

YoCWR  Teen Intro to HTML_Toolkit

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