Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cyber Safety Videos for Kids (K through 8th Grade)

Michigan's Cyber Safety Initiative

Click on the Above Link to Access the Cyber Safety Videos for Kids.

The state of Michigan has a strong cyber-security program and put together age appropriate videos designed for kids from:

  • Kindergarten to 1st Grade
  • 2nd and 3rd Grade 
  • 4th and 5th Grade
  • 6th through 8th Grade
Discussion: Unfortunately, technology has outpaced most parent's ability to understand it, use it, and safely monitor and supervise their children's use of the Internet and information technology (iPhone, iPads, etc.). Most children spend long hours unsupervised on the Internet...? It has become a virtual "pacifier"and some parent's allow their children to have computer access in their rooms under the guise of privacy. I strongly recommend kids have computer access in an open area where parents can freely move through and view what is going on. Parent's don't need to be defensive in supervising what their kid's are doing on the Internet. Searching the computer's history and putting age appropriate parental controls is important, and the child use needs to be transparent. You should have access to their accounts, passwords, and sites - if not then do not let them use it. (It is a privilege, not a right) One parent said, "if any electronic information comes into my home or leaves out of my home, I have every right to know what it is, and if my child doesn't like it they don't get to use the Internet!" Many parent's act as if it is a child's right to have Internet privacy. The next step is teaching them digital citizenship and cyber safety. This will translate to making them adults who are more aware of Identity Theft and other Cyber threats.

Final Comment: What we teach our student's and kid's about the Internet is what they will take into adulthood. This is how we keep our schools and society safer and more secure.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Preventing School Mass Shooters & Katherine S. Newman

While it is understood there is no psychological profile for a school shooter, there are behavioral indicators. Katherine S. Newman (scholar and author of the book Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings) came up with Five Criteria to help identify a potential school shooter in her book. This work has exhaustive research and data which I am shocked has not been incorporated into the state and federal discussions on school safety in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. 

The Five Criteria are
1. Marginality: individual feels socially ostracized (real or perceived) and feels marginal (loner, bullied, harassed).
2. Individual Vulnerabilities: mental illness, family problems, depressed, suicidal, or a combination.
3. Cultural Scripts: change roles, manly exit, notoriety better than being ignored, send a message, fame, advertise threats but then committed to follow through or face more negative attention, escalating commitment, designs (plans) the rampage script.
4. Under The Radar: unrecognized change in academic or disciplinary history, downward changes in behavior, violent writings in school or social media, criminal history, threats, lack of parental awareness.
5. Access To Weapons: at home or relatives, purchase or borrow weapons, steal weapons, and some weapon experience.

In 2008, she was a keynote speaker at a Campus Safety Conference and her talk was filmed. This video is 52 minutes long where she touches the five criteria and upon three main questions:

1. What motivates these school rampage shooters?
2. Why didn't the school identify the behaviors of the shooter beforehand?
3. Why didn't the community identify the behaviors of the shooter beforehand? 

This video is worth your time if you are an educator, law enforcement, or involved in school preparedness (safety & security). Especially interesting is how she talks about the societal aspects of school and community cultures that negate (by not reporting concerns) the prevention of many of these school shootings. 

This reinforces my strong belief that promoting a "See Something, Hear Something, Read Something, Report Something" in our schools and communities is critical to prevention of school shootings.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

5 Simple Steps To Make Your School Safer and More Secure

5 Simple Steps to Take To Make Your School Safer and More Secure

Click on the link above to view the document. 

STEP 1: Instill, and Maintain, a School Preparedness Mindset.  
·         “See Something, Hear Something, Say Something”  campaign that is all inclusive

STEP 2: Form a School Preparedness Committee

STEP 3: Learn About School Preparedness (Free FEMA EMI Online Courses)

STEP 4Find, Review, and Refine your School Preparedness Plan

STEP 5: Conduct School Preparedness Drills and grow capability