Tag Archives: cyber bullying

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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CNCS promotes anti-cyberbullying efforts on MLK Day

AscentiveCyber Safety News From the Ascentive team

Momentum is building for the annualMartin Luther King Day of Service, as thousands of organizations across the country put the finishing touches on volunteer projects to bring Americans together to serve their neighbors and advance Dr. King’s dream of social justice and economic opportunity for all.

With the holiday just days away, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is urging Americans to visit MLKDay.gov to find volunteer opportunities in their communities and make MLK Day a “day on, not a day off.”

Projects will take place in all 50 states, including weatherizing homes, beautifying schools, serving meals, and supporting veterans and military families. Many organizations use the day as a springboard for year-round service, such as signing up mentors and tutors for at-risk youth.

A special focus of the 2012 MLK Day of Service is advancing Dr. King’s dream of economic opportunity.  In Philadelphia, a job fair will connect 500 people looking for work with prospective employers. In Dayton, Ohio, volunteers will offer help in job searching, resume writing, and interview preparation.  Members of AmeriCorps VISTA will fan out nationwide to raise awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit and offer free tax preparation services.

“Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and economic opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be,” said Robert Velasco II, acting CEO of CNCS.  “Now more than ever, we need to take heed of Dr. King’s teachings and work together to achieve his dream.  Volunteer service is a powerful way to strengthen economic opportunity. And when better to start than on the day we honor Dr. King?”

In 1994, Congress passed legislation encouraging the King Federal Holiday to be observed as a national day of service, and charged CNCS with leading this national effort.  This year, CNCS developed several signature initiatives, including a partnership with Scholastic to create and distribute MLK Day Curriculum for grades 3-5; new MLK Day videos and TV and radio PSAs featuring civil rights leaders; and working with faith, non-profit and community leaders to provide more than 2,000 MLK Drum Majors for Service awards to exemplary volunteers.

CNCS awarded MLK Day of Service grants to six organizations to lead service activities on the day, supporting more than 300 projects nationwide to meet local needs:

HOPE worldwide is mobilizing thousands of volunteers across the nation, focusing on fire prevention and preparedness. Partnering with a number of local Red Cross branches, HOPE worldwide is hosting fire prevention fairs, canvasing to raise awareness of fire prevention, and conducting smoke alarm inspection and installation.

Points of Light is focusing its efforts on meeting the needs of veterans and military families, activating more than 185,000 volunteers through subgrantee projects. From MLK Day America’s Sunday Suppers focused on veterans and military members in local movie theaters in Central California to the nation’s largest MLK service project in Philadelphia with more than 85,000 volunteers. Americans are stepping up across the country to service to connect veterans and military families to jobs and training, education, housing and health care.

Service for Peace is mobilizing more than 25,000 volunteers with a focus on engaging and helping veterans and military families across the country, focusing on a wide array of issue areas, including leading the MLK Jr. National Food Drive, school clean ups, house rebuilding and promoting and restoring community garden art. Through the 40 Days of Peace campaign, Service for Peace will be working to reduce cyber-bullying, crime and violence across America from Jan. 16th to Feb. 24th.

Mobilizing nearly 12,000 volunteers on more than 65 college campuses across the country, Wisconsin Campus Compact and its partners will focus on education, healthy futures, economic opportunity and disaster preparedness with events ranging from working with area food banks to hosting a community breakfast for local leaders.

Youth Service America will engage at least 50,000 youth volunteers on MLK Day through partner and grantee schools and community organizations. Young people, ages 5-25, will serve as part of programs organized by 16 MLK Day Lead Organizers funded by CNCS as well as nearly 500 other YSA grant funded projects. Many of these grantees will use MLK Day as part of a Semester of Service™, an extended youth-led experience of at least 70 hours of learning and service.

Cesar Chavez Foundation is mobilizing more than 6,000 volunteers throughout the southwest and western region of the nation, focusing on education through digital literacy programs, community educational events and service learning projects.

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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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Parents Outraged over Ugly Meter

AscentiveCyber safety tips from the Ascentive team

Arizona-based developer Dapper Gentlemen is grinning over its app Ugly Meter, which is being touted as an alleged “Bully Tool.” Ugly Meter has reached the 3 million downloads mark in the iTunes app store and shows no sign of slowing down.

As the app gains popularity, parental groups and media outlets alike are outraged that the app, which takes a picture and scans it using facial recognition, generates derogatory and hurtful comments based on your “ugliness score.”

“Your face looks like it was in the dryer with a bunch of rocks,” it might say, or, “When you walk pass a bathroom, the toilet flushes.” These remarks and photos can then be posted on social media networks like Facebook or Twitter, possibly without the victim knowing.

Stephen Balkam, CEO of Washington-based Family Online Safety Institute, told the New York Post: “I can see that the guys who programmed it were having a bit of fun and all … If you’re 25, 26 or 28, this sort of thing could be quite funny or amusing. But in the hands of a 14- or 15-year-old, it could be quite the reverse.”

Now that the Ugly Meter has reached the 3 million users mark, bullies are allegedly using it nationwide in many of our public schools, most likely under the radar of school administrators and staff.

The Harvard Crimson posits that the key is not censorship, but education. “The existence of the Ugly Meter application does make clear the increased need to educate kids about technology as the age at which individuals are exposed to the Internet and applications steadily becomes younger … In the school environment, educators should also look out for their students’ well-being.”

Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, author of “Cybersafe: Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming and Social Media,” seems to agree. “There’s a fine line between teasing and razzing one another … [This app] is just hurtful. It could have crushing blows on kids with low self-esteem. There’s just nothing good that could come from an app like this.”

Awareness Technologies, a cyber-tool development company that many parents use to monitor their child’s online activities, issued a warning to parents, saying, “A newly released $0.99 iPhone app called ‘The Ugly Meter’ is the latest tool that creates opportunities for cyber-bullying, the online pandemic causing severe emotional and psychological pain to children across the nation … Apps like The Ugly Meter are ripe for cyberbullies to use in tormenting their peers.”

So far the creators of the app insist that its purpose is for “fun” and “humorous purposes.” One of the creators, Jo Overline, remarked to news outlets: “All of our insults are PG-rated. We kept it pretty clean on purpose. There will always be bullies out there and we can’t control what they do. Parents need to take responsibility for their own children and stop trying to blame the media.”

For better or for worse, in this modern age of instant messages and social media it’s becoming more difficult to find a space not occupied by the thoughts and opinions of others.

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National Cyber Security Alliance Announces New Agreement to Promote Cyber Security Education Programs Nationwide

AscentiveInternet Safety information from the Ascentive team

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) – a non-profit public-private partnership focused on cyber security awareness and education for all digital citizens – has announced that on behalf of the National Cybersecurity Education Council (NCEC) it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to formally institute and promote cyber security education programs in K-12 schools, higher education, and career and technical education environments nationwide.

The new agreement paves the way for the continuation of the recently established public private partnership known as the National Cybersecurity Education Council to build a consensus on the future of cyber education in the United States. The multi-stakeholder effort will bring together government, industry, nonprofit, academia and other educational organizations to make recommendations and suggest guidelines on cyber education.  The collaboration will also include all parties participating in a working group to identify the cyber education needs of all young people and the foundational knowledge, skills and competencies needed by government and industry to build a workforce that can protect America’s vital digital assets.

The MOU’s partnership supports many of the educational efforts responding to President Obama’s 2009 Cyberspace Policy Review, which called for the nation to “build an education system that will enhance understanding of cyber security and allow the United States to retain and expand upon its scientific, engineering, and market leadership in information technology.” Toward this end, in the spring of 2010, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within the U.S. Department of Commerce led a team involving many departments and agencies across the government in launching the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). The goal of NICE is to establish an operational, sustainable and continually improving cyber security education program for the nation to use sound cyber practices that will enhance the nation’s security. NICE includes four focus areas, or tracks:  cyber security awareness, formal cyber security education, cyber security workforce structure, and cyber security workforce training and professional development. The public/private partnership, which the MOU fosters, will advance efforts of the formal education track, particularly responding to the needs identified in the Cyberspace Policy Review for a K-12 cyber security education program for digital safety, ethics, and security and for expanded university curricula.

NCEC members are also cognizant of the inherent demand for improved cyber security education in bolstering America’s future workforce.

Today, the U.S. faces a deficit in the number of cyber security professionals in our country, and predictions of our future needs are worrisome. Estimates from a recent study by (ISC)2 and Frost and Sullivan reveal a need of more than 700,000 new information security professionals in the Americas by 2015. What’s more, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate that there will be 295,000 new IT jobs created in the U.S. between 2008 and 2018 – many of which will require cyber security expertise. This data points out a great responsibility within the U.S. education system and other industry groups to help produce cyber capable citizens.

“Our children live in an interconnected technology-based world with a growing need for digital skill sets,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “An education that incorporates tools to understand, navigate and operate technology will encourage students to exercise awareness when using digital platforms while helping better prepare them for the jobs of the future.”

“This important MOU will add another dimension to the public/private partnership that is key to cyber security awareness and formal cyber education,” said Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator, Howard Schmidt.  “Through the partnership, we will continue to increase public awareness of safe cyber behavior, as well as expanding the availability of the cyber education so vital to the future of our workforce.”

“Our future depends on a digital citizenry that can use the Internet safely, securely, ethically and productively,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “Today, the United States faces a daunting challenge. We need to build a cyber security ready workforce trained to deal with a constantly changing digital infrastructure that is protected against a broad range of cyber threats. This broad effort is critical because cyber security and digital safety touches everyone.”

“With cyber threats on the rise, career opportunities in cyber security will continue to grow and students need to have the access to the necessary foundational STEM education and other prerequisites needed to pursue them,” said NICE National Lead, Dr.Ernest McDuffie. “Higher education and technical training must lead to skills and competencies that meet the hiring requirements of government and industry to fill the growing need for cyber security professionals. This working group will help pave the way to achieving this goal.”

“We are proud to convene and lead this new nationwide effort to help make cyber security education widely available and accessible,” said John Havermann, of EMC Corporation and president of the NCSA Board of Directors. “There is no organization or government agency that can tackle this problem alone. It’s going to take a diverse partnership between government, industry, academia and others to work together to develop shared priorities and a path forward.”

Cyber education is also critical to our nation’s economic growth as evidenced by a recent survey, conducted by Zogby International for NCSA and Symantec, of U.S. small business owners that shows a high portion of businesses need employees with cyber security skills. When employers were asked to rate skills necessary for new hires, U.S. small businesses report the following skills are very relevant or essential:

Understanding privacy (51%);

Importance of protecting intellectual property (49%);

Basic knowledge of using technology ethically (47%);

Basic knowledge of Internet security practices (passwords, identifying secure websites) (44%).

In addition, NCSA and Microsoft recently conducted research on the state of cyber security education and the results make clear better cyber education is needed in America’s K-12 classrooms.

 

More than one-third of U.S. K-12 teachers (36%) received zero hours of professional development training by their school districts in issues related to online safety, security and ethics in the past year. (86% received less than six hours of related training).

Only 51% of teachers agree their school districts do an adequate job of preparing students for online safety, security and ethics.

Few K-12 educators are teaching topics that would prepare students to be cyber-capable employees or cyber security-aware college students. In the past year, a mere 4% taught about careers in cyber security; 20% taught about knowing when it is safe to download files; 23% taught about using strong passwords; and just 7% taught about the role of the Internet in the U.S. economy.

 

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