You've read the news articles, seen the stories on TV news, or possibly heard them on the radio: Bullies have gone online, predators are lurking everywhere, and MySpace is a nightmare for kids and teens.
What the media doesn't tell you are the facts about how kids and teens can stay safe online. They tend to focus on the sensationalism and not the realism.
Now you can learn what to look out for, what to advise parents about, and how to help students who may be experiencing problems online.
Let's start with cyberbullies:
* 42 percent of students have been bullied online. One in four have had it happen more than once.
* 35 percent have been threatened online. Nearly one in five have had it happen more than once.
* 21 percent have received mean or threatening emails or other messages.
* 58 percent admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online.
* 53 percent admit to having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. More than one in three have done it more than once.
* 58 percent have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
(Based on a 2004 survey of 1,500 students conducted by i-SAFE)
It's probably shocking to see that students actually admit to being a cyberbully, but it shouldn't be. Just as bullies are proud of how they have control over their victims on the playground, now they can follow their victims everywhere because of the accessibility of the Internet. This includes instant messaging (IM), chatting, social networking sites such as MySpace, emailing, using message boards or groups, creating a Web site about the victim, text messaging via cell phones, or videotaping a beating on their cell phones and posting it on MySpace or video Web sites such as YouTube. If you are not familiar with any of these, take the time to get to know them.
Complete article is available now, or will be shortly, in a variety of formats — Preview (free), Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF — courtesy of ITI's InfoCentral. CLICK HERE and search “Multimedia & Internet@Schools” for the story by title.