Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cyber Bullied To Death: Megan Meier

Torrington Middle School Teacher and students invited Ms. Tina Meier to speak to their school about cyber-bullying. Ms. Meier is the mother of Megan Meier (a seventh grader) who committed suicide in 2006 after being cyber-bullied by a group of people who posed as a 16 year old boy on the social networking site, MySpace.  The virtual boy feigned interest in her for five weeks and then ended the virtual relationship, and then harassed her. In a few days of cyber harassment, she hung herself in her closet. This was one of the first publicized cases of cyber-bullying.  This also raises the issue of how strongly influencial social networking sites can be on children before they come of a mature enough age.

Tip: Parents can monitor these sites, but not the instant messaging features on those sites. 

Keeping Our Students Safe: Safe Driving Presentations


Recently Torrington High School sponsored a safety presentation for their students. The link is to a non-profit organization from Connecticut which conducts school presentations to increase student awareness in a preventative measure. Bob Green clarifies that there is not a car accident, but a crash! An accident don't just happen by accident, there is a reason for the crash where typically the driver is negligent by being distracted (cell phone use while driving, texting while driving, loud music, distractd by fellow kid passengers, etc.), or driving too fast for the weather, visibility, or for the driver's skill level. Driving too fast reduces the reaction time for a driver, especially an inexperienced driver. A simple thing like not having both hands on the wheel can cause a driver to not be able to manipulate the wheel to avaoid a crash. Car crashes occur mostly due to driver error.

As parents and educators teaching our kids to be safe on the roads is a lifelong skill.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Middle School Kids on Facebook...are you kidding me???

Our local newspaper ran a story, "Middle Schoolers report Facebook sex tape requests". I don't know how familiar you are with social networking sites such as FACEBOOK or MySpace, but you need to be.  It is 2010 and Web 2.0 technology is here to stay. Like any tool, the Social Networking Sites (SNS) are in and of themselves not bad, but it is HOW they can be misused and by WHOM which is the concern. An adult from a foreign country electronically entered the homes of dozens of middle school students because their parents knowingly or unknowingly left the VIRTUAL DOORS open to their kids safety. This perverted adult asked kids through Facebook (SNS) to film themselves doing inappropriate things and send it to him.
          It is my strong opinion that middle school kids should not be on social networking sites (SNS), and that high school students can be on social networking sites ONLY IF MONITORED by parents. After the age of 18, then they are adults but prior to that they need to be electronically supervised. For the high schooler, no access for parent = no access to SNS, period. (More on SNS on future blogs). Some topics for discussion:
  • This foreign adult attempted to contact over 100 middle school students both male and female.
  • He may have used a search engine based upon a story he saw in an online posting or newspaper article.
ON A POSITIVE NOTE:  This was reported after a cyber crime presentation was given a local group, Education Connection (from Litchfield, CT) at the middle school. The students reported it and an investigation was initiated. This is a great example of how education can be used to teach the vulnerabilities and associated responsibility that must be used in conjunction with the Internet to keep our children safe.

Video of Brother of Inskip Teacher Who Shot His Principal and Assistant Principal