Category Archives: security

Cyberbullying – Monitoring Children’s Social Media Usage Is Important, but So Is Allowing Their Mistakes

AscentiveCyber safety tips from the Ascentive team

Facebook has provided millions of people worldwide with an unmatched outlet for sharing information about their lives. Through the social network giant, establishing community with old friends and new has never been easier.

But Facebook also presents an assortment of issues — especially for parents, according to a Kansas State University parenting expert.

 

Chuck Smith, professor of emeritus of family studies and human services at the university’s College of Human Ecology, says increased usage of Facebook by children has sparked questions of how to prevent cyberbullying and protect their personal privacy. Simultaneously, some parents have been forced to consider how much information they should share about their children on Facebook.

 

But despite the risks, Smith says using Facebook is worthwhile for children if parents remain aware.

“Facebook is a tool that could be used for good or bad,” Smith said. “It’s up to parents to help their children understand how to use it well and be vigilant about misuse.”

 

Online bullying is Smith’s primary concern among young Facebook users. Preventing online bullying should involve parents retaining essential control of a child’s Facebook account, he said. This allows parents to read all posts and ensure the highest levels of security settings are in place. Appropriate security settings are beneficial in a variety of contexts, including Smith’s other primary concern with young Facebook users: online predators.

To counteract possible negative influences, Smith advises parents of children under 16 years old to have the family use the computer in a common area — something that may not sit well with some children.

“The impact on relationships could be with children regarding parents as too intrusive in their personal lives,” Smith said. “Though as long as the children are living in the home, parents have every right to be vigilant.

“For parents, vigilance changes with the child’s age, but you still have to be responsible.”

Parents should instruct their children on responsible sharing of information early, but parents also should allow a reasonable amount of freedom for children to make their own mistakes, Smith said. Failure to allow a meaningful amount of freedom could be detrimental to the parental-child relationship.

“The younger generation is very much an online generation,” Smith said. “We have to be realistic and teach them about the danger and responsibility of posting online and considering what they might say and how they might react. Parents who are overly restrictive might lose their opportunity.

Standards of responsibility also exist for parental social media usage — especially when it concerns their children. Smith advises parents consider their own security settings before sharing certain information about their children. The same principle applies for any sort of related information, including when the family will be on vacation.

“You have to be aware of who you have given permission to view the page,” Smith said.

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More Organizations Launch Anti-Bullying Campaigns

AscentiveCyber Safety news from the Ascentive team

More and more organizations are launching their own campaigns to stop bullying and cyber-bullying. Tanda, a pioneer in energy-based at-home beauty devices, announces its Zap Bullying campaign to raise awareness among parents and teens about this epidemic and to empower teens to feel confident and secure in their own skin.  The multifaceted campaign from Tanda Zap, the powerful acne clearing technology endorsed by leading dermatologists and successfully used by thousands of users across the country, will include a partnership with the national leading anti-bullying organization STOMP Out Bullying™, a social media awareness campaign and a limited edition blue Zap device to support the cause.

“We envision a world in which young people feel safe from bullying and we’re thrilled to partner with the STOMP Out Bullying™ organization. We share their commitment to help people take a stand against bullying in schools and communities,” says Fabian Tenenbaum, CEO of Syneron Beauty, the maker of Tanda branded products.  “Tanda Zap offers ground-breaking acne clearing technology to help teens feel comfortable and secure in their own skin and we hope that this initiative will raise awareness and dialogue around this issue and that ultimately it will serve to help foster greater understanding and mutual respect among teens.”

Tanda Zap invites consumers to “Zap Bullying” and pledge support to this social campaign by visiting its Facebook page, http://www.Facebook.com/Tanda.  “Like” Tanda and then “Vote” to Zap Bullying.  Tanda will donate $1 for each Vote to the STOMP Out Bullying™ organization.

“We are so grateful to have Tanda Zap as a philanthropic partner,” says Ross Ellis, Founder and CEO of STOMP Out Bullying™. “Together we can reach more schools, kids, teens and families affected by bullying with the critical educational resources and support services they need.”

As part of the campaign, the brand will introduce a limited edition blue Tanda Zap acne spot treatment device, from which a portion of proceeds will be donated to STOMP Out Bullying™. The limited edition blue Tanda Zap device will be available for $49 for Back to School 2012.

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, a partner in The Bully Project and a supporter of Lee Hirsch’s new documentary “Bully,” offers educators, students, families and individuals the tools they need to address bullying in schools. By downloading free resources at PACER.org/bullying, communities can find ways to help change the culture of bullying.

“The Bully movie gives everyone a heartbreaking look at the reality of bullying,” says Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “Our hope is that the movie will be a call to action, and that more people will work together to create a climate that doesn’t accept this behavior.”

Resources available at PACER.org/bullying include bullying prevention classroom toolkits, activities and videos for K-12 students; toolkits for organizing community events around bullying prevention; tips for how parents can talk with their children about the subject and work with schools and more.

PACER’s TeensAgainstBullying.org website offers relevant and interactive information in a teen-friendly way. Teens can find strategies to deal with bullying, ways they can stand up for other kids, and ideas for how they can bring the bullying prevention message to their school. PACER’s KidsAgainstBullying.org website is also specifically designed for elementary-aged children and uses a cast of animated characters to share bullying prevention strategies.

In addition, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLB), AbilityPath and Autism Speaks are partnering with The Bully Project to raise awareness about how bullying affects children with disabilities. Resources and a toolkit will be available soon at specialneeds.bullyingproject.com.

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NQ Mobile and NCSA Consumer Survey Shows That Many Parents Lack Awareness of Cyber Bully Threats

AscentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

NQ Mobile Inc., a leading provider of consumer-centric mobile security and productivity applications, and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a non-profit public-private partnership focused on cybersecurity awareness and education for all digital citizens, today released findings from a recent consumer survey(1) that shed light on how parents think and act in order to protect the mobile privacy and security of their children.

The newly released findings show that a majority of parents have not talked to their children about protecting their privacy when using a mobile phone (56%), or talked to their children about security measures for their phones (63%).

The survey also found that while the majority of parents (71%) are aware of parental controls that can help protect their kids by monitoring usage, establishing time limits and blocking websites, apps, GPS location, and access to personal data, 60% have never used them. Of those surveyed, moms were more comfortable and more likely to have actually used parental controls.

“Too few parents are talking with their children about malware, hacking and other threats to mobile security and privacy,” said NQ Mobile co-Chief Executive Officer Omar Khan. “That is no surprise, when many adults don’t feel they know enough to protect themselves. Talking to your kids about how to protect the personal information on their phones, however, is every bit as necessary as having ‘The Talk’ about ‘the birds and the bees.’ Smartphones can provide a young person with independence and information. Used carelessly, they can also provide hackers, bullies and thieves with access to your child’s personal information, expose them to theft, and even track their location. Parents need to learn more about threats like this, and the very real steps they can take to protect their whole family.”

Parents whose kids own smartphones tend to be less aware of security threats and mobile security solutions that combat those threats than parents whose kids don’t own smartphones. This surprising result may suggest that parents who are highly aware of mobile threats are so concerned they decide not to give their children phones at all.

Overall, parents who are more aware of and concerned about security threats and privacy issues are more willing to talk to their children about them.

“As smartphone use increases, more and more parents are going to be buying mobile devices for their children at earlier ages, and we want to make sure they are armed with enough information to make safe, sensible decisions,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “A young person who is responsible enough to own a smartphone, can also take responsibility for protecting their phone and the information on it. Some security measures are simple and straightforward: create strong passwords and don’t share them with friends or anyone but your parents, exercise caution in sharing personal information online, don’t lose or misplace your phone. We always encourage digital citizens — especially young ones — to take an active role in learning safe practices and behaviors, and follow three simple steps: STOP. THINK. CONNECT.”

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Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Sprint team up to fight cyberbullying

AscentiveInternet safety tips from the Ascentive team

Young people grow up hearing all kinds of safety warnings like “Look both ways before crossing the street,” or “Don’t talk to strangers.” But traditional safety tips are changing as today’s youth spend more time navigating an expansive online world.  Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Sprint today announced a strengthening of their work to educate young people and the adults who care for them about Internet and media safety.

BGCA and Sprint enter into their third year of working together with a $409,772 commitment aimed to highlight important online safety practices to nearly 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. BGCA and Sprint will provide tools and resources to educate Club youth, parents and staff throughout the year with strong support around June’s Internet Safety Month.

This year’s funding will provide Clubs with a comprehensive media-safety strategy through the utilization of the NetSmartz and NSTeens programs, developed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, along with resources that include media-safety discussion cards, social-networking and mobile-phone usage guidelines, and resources for Clubs to host their own Internet Safety days. Additionally, Clubs will be provided with teen-friendly video packages and media-safety articles, polls and contests for their members.

“Understanding media safety issues and knowing how to be safer online is critical for Club youth and parents,” said Judith J. Pickens, senior vice president for BGCA’s Program & Youth Development Services. “With Sprint’s ongoing support, Boys & Girls Clubs of America will continue to find creative ways to educate our young people on how to safely navigate the online world and be proactive with protective issues surrounding online safety.”

The goal is not only to educate, but allow for interactive engagement among youth. Creative avenues to communicate critical information are provided, such as the recent “Caption This!” contest, which was hosted on myclubmylife.com, BGCA’s website for teens.

The contest provided five sample posters representing critical media-safety topics: cyberbullying, password protection and online information sharing, sexting, Web chat safety, and mobile-phone recycling. Participants were challenged to produce an original slogan for one of the posters, and the winning slogans will be used in an educational poster series to promote the importance of media safety to some four million youth served by Boys & Girls Clubs.

“Sprint is pleased to continue its work with Boys & Girls Clubs of America,” said Ralph Reid, vice president of Corporate Responsibility for Sprint. “With so many young people accessing the Internet, it’s critical that they have ready access to information on how to stay safer; BGCA has been invaluable in seeing that this content gets into Clubs across the country.”

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Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event to Benefit the International Bullying Prevention Association

AscentiveInternet Safety News from the Ascentive team

Nancy Silberkleit, the seasoned anti-bullying and literacy advocate, is proud to announce the Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event, a new anti-bullying initiative for 2012.  This inspirational event, open to students across the country, encourages youth to share their true stories and insight to raise awareness and stop the harm that bullying and cyberbullying can do.  Led by a panel including Former New York Governor David Paterson, Stan Davis of stopbullyingnow.com andNancy Silberkleit, the contest will raise funds for the International Bullying Prevention Association.  Selected youth will also have their story serve as the inspiration for a forthcoming educational, not-for-profit comic book written by Nancy Silberkleit. Selected essays may also be published anonymously in other ways.

Nancy Silberkleit, co-CEO of Archie Comics, is using her educational training and experience to inspire self-confidence and strength in children of all ages.  The Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event was conceived by Silberkleit as a way to create an inspired community while also furthering her philanthropic reach. She is currently working on a series of educational comic book focusing on children’s issues such as bullying.  She aims to share her words of strength and inspiration with today’s youth.  She advises, “Never let anyone define who you are.  You know who you are.”

The Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event, open to all students across the country ages 8-18, will be open for submissions February 1st- May 1st.  To enter, children must write a 250-word true essay on the topic of bullying. They may send their own true story about what made things better when they were bullied, or how they supported someone else who was bullied.  These essays will be used as the inspiration for one of Nancy Silberkleit’s upcoming educational comics.  For the first 200 essays sent in, Nancy Silberkleit will donate $5 per essay to the International Bullying Prevention Association.

“Creating a school environment free of harassment and discrimination has been a long term goal of mine,” says Governor Paterson.  “I’m proud to further align myself with causes such as this contest that encourage our youth to speak out and unite against bullying.”

Children are encouraged to enter throughout the submission period by emailing their 250 word stories and essays to stridestostopbullying@gmail.com.

 

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Center for Safe Schools Launches Toolkit to help parents address Cyber-Bullying

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Internet safety tips from the Ascentive team

Center for Safe Schools has partnered with the Highmark Foundation to produce the Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Toolkit that will help parents, educators and professionals serving youth prevent bullying and support children affected by it.

The toolkit is available in print and online and includes specific information about how to differentiate between bullying and conflict, how to respond to cyberbullying, and potential legal implications of bullying-type behaviors. In addition, it contains tools such as a step-by-step guide for connecting children to relevant assistance, a sample letter informing the school of a bullying incident, and a list of vetted resources on bullying prevention, intervention and support.

The new toolkit was supported with funding from the Highmark Foundation and developed by the Center for Safe Schools with input from an interdisciplinary group of stakeholders focused on identifying strategies for improving the availability of resources and supports for children affected by bullying. This group includes Pennsylvania Department of Education, PennsylvaniaCommission on Crime and Delinquency and Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General; along with other state agencies, nonprofit and public health organizations and parents.

 

“In addition to helping parents, the toolkit is especially valuable to schools that do not have bullying prevention programs in place and to agencies typically called upon in crisis situations,” said Center for Safe Schools Director Lynn Cromley. “It ensures that families and various agencies have a fast-track to assessing and meeting needs when a bullying situation occurs.”

The toolkit is a continuation of the Highmark Foundation’s commitment to bullying prevention. Through Highmark Foundation funding, nearly 400 schools and approximately 210,000 students in Pennsylvania have had access to the research-based Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. The toolkit extends the foundation’s public health strategy by bringing information and resources related to bullying and bullying prevention to communities.

“The Highmark Foundation appreciates its continued partnership with the Center for Safe Schools. By working together we are helping to ensure the health and well being of all students,” said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. “The toolkit will help achieve the Center for Safe Schools and the Foundation’s shared goal of placing more adults in a position to help children so they can intervene appropriately in bullying situations.”

“Pennsylvania leads the nation in the breadth and scope of its bullying prevention efforts. Together, the partners in this work are changing attitudes, behavior and practice through cultivating safe and nurturing schools and communities for Pennsylvania’s children,” Cromley added.

To promote the new resource, the Center for Safe Schools will offer a webinar providing an introduction, content review and suggested uses of the toolkit. Besides parents and teachers, the Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Toolkit is designed as a resource for anyone working with youth – including childcare workers, healthcare professionals and coaches. The pre-recorded webinar will be available beginning January 23, 2012.

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ABC’s 20/20 Episode Proposes a solution to Bullying Epidemic

AscentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

The ABC news magazine show 20/20 recently reported on what one school is doing to help combat the problem of in-school bullying and cyber-bullying. The Alliance School, an alternative Milwaukee public school, uses the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program to teach students key lessons such as respect and conflict-resolution.

LifeSkills Training promotes healthy alternatives to risky behavior by helping students develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence and by enabling them to effectively cope with stress and anxiety.  Not only is LST the top-rated substance abuse prevention program in schools today; a recent study also showed that LST prevents physical and verbal aggression as well as delinquency and fighting in schools.

“Bullying is an epidemic that affects everyone—victims, bystanders, and the bullies themselves. An effective school-based prevention program can help build an atmosphere in schools so that kids feel safe, and when they feel safe, they learn better and thrive,” said program developer Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin. “I am proud that LST is an integral part of this.”

The Alliance School is a charter school of the Milwaukee Public School system that strives to provide a safe, student-centered, and academically challenging environment to meet the needs of all students. The 6th – 12th grade school, which opened in 05, teaches LifeSkills Training to help reinforce a safe and accepting environment where students are treated fairly regardless of sexuality, ability, appearance, or beliefs.

Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is a highly effective evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program with more than 30 years of peer-reviewed research behind it. Studies testing its effectiveness have found that LST can reduce the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by as much as 80 percent. The program was developed by Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, professor of Public Health and Psychiatry at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College and director of Cornell’s Institute for Prevention Research.

LST has been used with youth in all 50 states, the District of Columbia,Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and in 32 countries around the world. LST is included in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and has been selected for prevention excellence by numerous organizations including the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (part of the U.S. Department of Justice). Recently LST was selected as a Top Tier prevention program by the Coalition for Evidence-based Policy, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization in Washington, DC. Visit http://www.lifeskillstraining.com for more information.

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