LG Launches Text Ed with 'Glee' Star Jane Lynch

LG.JaneLynch.TextEd The LG Text Ed program, which was launched in early 2010, offers parents a number of articles, tips, videos and other content so they can educate themselves on the dangers of mobile phone misuse, employ strategies to help protect their children from potential problems, and discover how they might be modeling their children’s mobile phone behavior.

In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, presented during the Federal Communication Commission’s recent Generation Mobile Forum, 40 percent of teens said they’ve been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.

LG Text Ed with Jane Lynch

Jane.lynch.mug.shot Bringing her trademark intensity and flair to the LG Text Ed campaign, award-winning actress Jane Lynch is working with LG Mobile Phones to raise awareness about risky mobile phone behavior.

In a series of comedic vignettes, which can be viewed on www.LGTextEd.com, Lynch tackles issues such as sexting, texting while driving, mobile bullying, and other questionable teen behaviors. 

At the end of each video, Lynch directs parents to LGTextEd.com where they can find professional advice and guidance to help promote safe and responsible mobile usage among their text- and tech-savvy families.

In the texting while driving video, Lynch confronts a classroom of parents about their own texting and driving bad habits and urges parents to model good behavior for their children.

Using humor to get to the heart of the issue, Lynch helps parents help themselves by putting the phone away in the car and encouraging their kids to do the same.

Parents can find additional information on the LG Text Ed initiative and mobile phone misuse (mobile bullying, sexting) by visiting www.lgtexted.com. You can also connect with LG Text Ed on Facebook.


Related: 'No Phone Zone' Lesson Plan: Teaching Teens the Dangers of Texting & Driving

The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Manual

Facebook.button.round Like Facebook, but wish your information wasn't so public?

Time to lock your settings down. Facebook doesn't make this easy, however; features are constantly added and the default for each new one seems to favor transparency instead of privacy.

The result: there are hundreds of little changes you need to make to truly control where your information goes.

The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Manual

This handy guide outlines everything you could ever want to know about locking down your privacy on Facebook, and a few things you probably didn't even know you wanted to know.

This guide outlines a variety of things regarding Facebook privacy, including:

  • Making sure a comment meant for your friends isn’t seen by co-workers
  • Understanding what it means to upload content to Facebook
  • Control whether others can check you in to certain locations
  • Keeping your Facebook page off Google’s search results
  • Blocking unwanted users from seeing your page

"It Gets Better Project" Delivers Digital Hope and Shows the Power of Social Media

It-Gets-Better-Logo“It gets better… It gets so much better… I promise, it gets so much better.”

These are the promises of participants in the It Gets Better Project, founded by advice columnist Dan Savage. In September 2010, following a rash of suicides by gay teens bullied by their peers, Savage created a YouTube channel to offer hope to those in similar situations.

The goal was to showcase the positive and fulfilling lives led by Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer adults, and to give LGBTQ young people something to hold on to when they saw only misery in their futures. Savage encouraged adult members of the queer community to upload their own videos describing how life “got better” for them after high school.

The response was enormous. Savage received 3,000 emails about the project in its first 24 hours. Over 200 videos were uploaded in the first week, and the limit of 650 videos for a single YouTube channel was reached a week after that. Savage set up a website to help direct users to the many new videos being uploaded every day to other channels.

Hollywood stepped in as well, with videos uploaded by celebrities such as Tim Gunn (Project Runway), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek) and President Barack Obama

Though the star power helped bring visibility to the campaign, Savage emphasized a focus on average, everyday LGBTQ adults. He wanted to show kids that you don’t have to be rich and famous to be happy and find love, whatever form of love that may be.

"It Gets Better" is a good message for all bullied teenagers, no matter the reason for being bullied.

Online buzz spiked when news of American Idol contestant Adam Lambert’s contribution to the project hit Twitter. A GLAAD campaign to “wear purple”on October 20 to raise awareness of anti-gay bullying gained traction on Facebook and Twitter.  

Some participants even reported wearing purple despite not knowing the reason why – they simply saw it in their feeds and wanted to fit in with their friends (who quickly told them about the campaign).  

The power of social media over behavior can be staggering.

via www.nmincite.com

Social Networking Privacy Tips for Parents


TRUSTe, provider of the leading privacy trustmark, has announced the results of a survey of parents and their teenagers on social networking behaviors – the first national social networking privacy survey to be conducted on both parents and their teens that also measures parental expectations against actual teen behavior.

The study is titled “The Kids are Alright,” as it reflects in many ways parents and teens doing the right things on social networks.

The survey found that overwhelming 98 percent of parents indicate that both their teen’s privacy – as well as control over their own personal information – is important, very important or extremely important when using social media websites.

Social Networking Privacy Tips for Parents

The majority of parents and teens said they feel confident about the safeguards they have in place for their Facebook accounts, although 89 percent of parents want default privacy settings on all teen accounts to limit the amount of information that is public and to restrict advertiser and application access to their teen’s information.

Parents are looking for more direct ways to control their teen’s information and overall want greater control. Not surprisingly, most parents spend less time than teens on social networking and Facebook, although the majority of both groups checked Facebook at least once a day and frequently more often.

Related: Digital Parenting Resources: Teens, Social Media & Cyberbullying

The Kids Are Alright: TRUSTe Survey on Social Networking, Teens & Privacy

Logo-truste TRUSTe, provider of the leading privacy trustmark, has announced the results of a survey of parents and their teenagers on social networking behaviors – the first national social networking privacy survey to be conducted on both parents and their teens that also measures parental expectations against actual teen behavior.

The poll included responses from two thousand parents and teenagers to reveal: their level of involvement with social networks; perceptions and concerns about their privacy when using social networks; and parental monitoring and engagement with their teens on social networks.

The study is titled “The Kids are Alright,” as it reflects in many ways parents and teens doing the right things on social networks. Overall, the survey suggests that parents and teens are doing a number of the right activities to protect their privacy:

  • 72 percent of parents surveyed monitor their teens’ accounts, with 50 percent of these parents monitoring weekly, 35 percent daily and 10 percent monthly; and,

However, teens are still engaging in potentially harmful activities:

  • 80 percent of teens use privacy settings at some point to hide content from certain friends and/or parents; and,

TRUSTe: Social Networking & Privacy Survey

Facebook clearly dominates as the leading social networking site with a whopping 95 percent of parents and 90 percent of teens with a social networking account using the popular site.

Within households where both the adult and teen reported Facebook accounts, one-third of teens surveyed said they helped open and set up the account for one or both of their parents, and most of those teens are friends with their parents, with more girls friending parents than boys.

Teens also engaged in more social networking activities than parents, such as chatting, playing games, sharing online content and taking quizzes and on average have a larger number of Facebook friends.

Social Networking Privacy Tips for Teens

Logo-truste TRUSTe, provider of the leading privacy trustmark, has announced the results of a survey of parents and their teenagers on social networking behaviors – the first national social networking privacy survey to be conducted on both parents and their teens that also measures parental expectations against actual teen behavior.

Here is a list of top privacy tips for teens as complied by the staff over at TRUSTe!

Social Networking Privacy Tips for Teens

Common Sense Media Launches 'Power to the Parent' – A National Media Awareness Campaign

Common.sense.mediaCommon Sense Media, a nonprofit that provides families with information about media and technology, launches its new multiplatform public awareness campaign Power to the Parent.

 Designed to educate parents about the impact that media has on kids' live and the importance of parents (and parenting) in this picture, the campaign is supported by a $40 million TV ad campaign, online manner ads, a microsite, and a social media component.

The goal of Power to the Parent is to get parents to be involved in kids' lives and how they are using media to help them make educated and safe choices when using various media. The campaign includes three parent-targeted TV spots, tilted Role Models, Stadium, and Time Spent, which are already airing and will continue to run over the next year.

Comcast, Cox Communications, DirecTV, NBC Universal, and Time Warner Cable are supporting the TV campaign. The online initiative is supported by Common sense Media's partners Yahoo!, Facebook, GreatSchools, and Hulu, all of which will offer a connection to the campaign microsite via banner ads, links, and other content.

Trend Watch: People Are Online What They Are Offline--Divided, and Slow to Build Bridges

IN 2007 Danah Boyd heard a white American teenager describe MySpace, the social network, as “like ghetto or whatever.” At the time, Facebook was stealing members from MySpace, but most people thought it was just a fad: teenagers tired of networks, the theory went, just as they tired of shoes.

But after hearing that youngster, Ms Boyd, a social-media researcher at Microsoft Research New England, felt that something more than whimsy might be at work. “Ghetto” in American speech suggests poor, unsophisticated and black. That led to her sad conclusion: in their online life, American teenagers were recreating what they knew from the physical world—separation by class and race.

A generation of digital activists had hoped that the web would connect groups separated in the real world. The internet was supposed to transcend colour, social identity and national borders. But research suggests that the internet is not so radical. People are online what they are offline: divided, and slow to build bridges.

via www.economist.com

Cartoon Network Launches 'Stop Bullying: Speak Up' Campaign

Cartoon_network_stop_bullying_logoLast week the Cartoon Network announced further details of its multi-platform Bullying Prevention Campaign at the National Bullying Prevention Summit in Washington, DC.

Speaking to an audience comprised of government officials, business leaders and leading educators of bullying prevention, Cartoon Network’s President and Chief Operations Officer Stuart Snyder unveiled the official title of the campaign—STOP BULLYING: SPEAK UP—which will serve to educate and empower young bystanders to take action to reduce/prevent bullying.

Bystanders represent the 75-85% of students in schools that witness incidents of bullying every year, whether on the playground, in the classroom, on the bus, on social media websites, or cell phones.

The STOP BULLYING: SPEAK UP on-air and online CAMPAIGN will launch in October to coordinate with the fifth annual National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Center for Bullying Prevention.

Related: Digital Parenting Resources: Teens, Social Networking & Cyberbullying

As part of a larger commitment to the anti-bullying efforts, CNN, sister network to Cartoon Network, which has to date covered numerous stories about the rise and growing concern over bullying in America, will also recognize October Bullying Prevention Month by presenting an Anderson Cooper 360° Town Hall event the first week in October.

“Bullying recently has been designated by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a national health crisis.” -- David Doss, senior executive producer for Anderson Cooper 360°

Award-winning journalist Anderson Cooper will welcome government and education leaders, parents groups and child behavioral experts from top universities and non-profit institutions to discuss the many issues and concerns surrounding bullying.

Cartoon Network’s initial steps include launching a new series of original PSAs that will premiere on Friday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m., introducing the pro-social effort and directing viewers to key online resources at CartoonNetwork.com.

Update: Lady Gaga Tells Little Monsters 'Bullying is for losers'

Update: Here's the link to the Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign resources!

Related: Ellen Degeneres 'United Against Bullying' Resources

Update: On March 10, 2011 the White House is hosting "Conference on Bullying Prevention" that will be streamed live on Facebook. The conference will address bullying--both online and offline.

Myth Busters: Facebook, Teens & Cyberbullying

Facebook handles 2m abuse reports through its site every week, and 80% of those are false. But of those cases that are genuine, by far the biggest issues are cyberbullying, addiction, oversharing and 'sexting' - when girls are bullied into sending photos of themselves to 'boyfriends'.

Balkam cites research by Ncmec, the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in the US, which found that 1% of child victimisation cases involved the internet. "Those cases are shocking and disturbing and they make the nightly news, but therefore they seem a greater problem than they are."

The future of online safety is also about far more than just Facebook, which bears the brunt of the publicity because it is the most visible site.

via www.guardian.co.uk

Togetherville: Designing a Social Web Experience for Kids

Togetherville.logo What is it?

Togetherville is a social networking experience intended for your younger children (5-10 year olds). The new service is designed to provide a training ground where parents can teach their kids important lessons about online communication, community building and what it means to be a good digital citizen.

The Togetherville community experience piggy-backs on the Facebook platform and allows grownups to guide their kids through an age-appropriate social networking experience, kid friendly content, moderate connections and interactions all in an ad-free environment.

How does it Work?

In Togetherville, grownups act as the moderator for new contacts, assuming the responsibility for inviting family members/friends and other kids' to join their child's online neighborhood. The 6-to 10-year-olds are invited to engage with their real-world friends, play games, watch videos, and create art.

Is it safe?

Togetherville is intended for kids who are too young for Facebook and is fully compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Kids' are *NOT connected* to anyone without their parents approval, so parents don't need to worry about 'stranger danger.'

Unlike other child oriented social networks, kids' use their real names instead of an alias. This is important because it teaches them to be responsible for their actions within the community. Since their identity isn't a secret, the thinking is that this will reduce the chances that they will engage in cyberbullying or other no-no behaviors.


Togetherville "Allowance"

Allowance is a new site feature that helps teach kids financial literacy while providing parents with a way to reward good behavior, both online and off.

Parents or other approved adults (family members, coaches) can give a child Togetherville currency called "T-bills," which can be spent on virtual goods, games or gifts within each child's unique Togetherville neighborhood.

Once they have T-bills, parents and adults can give Allowance to children for whom they are administrators. Kids and adults can use T-bills for virtual goodies, gifts and games.

As with any feature in Togetherville, a parent or other adult with administrative rights has complete control over who can give their child funds. In addition, just like in the offline world, a parent can suspend or eliminate a child's Allowance at any time.

Developing Healthy Media Habits

A lot of people will say that kids' don't need to be online and that they should go outside and play.

Think of it this way: too much of anything is bad. Too many hours playing video games or watching cartoons--not healthy! Eating too much ice cream, Taco Bell or drinking too much soda are also not a good thing.

It doesn't really matter if it's chocolate milk, riding your bike in the dark, watching too much TV or being online. As adults, we need to be the ones who help children develop healthy habits.

Social by Design

Think of Togetherville as a social networking apprenticeship where parents act as a Facebook "expert" who mentor and help their children through the experience of participating in a social networking community.

The situated learning theory argues that learning and knowledge acquisition takes place only when situated in a social and authentic context.

Ultimately this process –known as legitimate peripheral participation—moves the newcomer deeper into a community of practice leading them closer to acquiring the knowledge and skills required to be an expert. In Togetherville, young kids' will form a community of practice (and safety net) consisting of their peers, site moderators, and several parent "experts."

Cognitive apprenticeship is an instructional design and learning theory wherein the instructor (or parent), through socialization, models the skill or task at hand for the child. Kids' may also receive guidance from and learn from their peers.

The role of the parent is to help novices (in this case, your kids') clear cognitive roadblocks (Facebook/social networking) by providing them with the resources needed to develop a better understanding of social media. This process is called scaffolding.

Ultimately the kids will become an expert who no longer needs the scaffolding provided by Togetherville and/or parental guidance. In turn, they will have a better understanding of potential roadblocks and are now equipped the skills to navigate the world of social media/networking sites like Facebook.

Putting it All Together

In the end, what's important here is to take a balanced position when it comes to kids and technology. As a parent or teacher, don't be afraid to jump into the technology and social media pool and get your feet wet.

Use this as an opportunity to spend time with your kids and learn more about how they are using technology, mobile phones and social media in their lives.

Most importantly, when it comes to kids and social networking, don't panic!

Houle: Your Kids Are Different and It's Okay!

20100319-david-houle-millennials-300x205.jpgFuturist David Houle has an interesting series of articles over on Oprah.com that explore the world of Millennials and the challenges of raising kids in the digital age.

The thing that I really like about Houle's column is that he takes a rational and, unlike so many other guru's, non-alarmist approach to the subject.

There are so many fear based stories out there about kids, digital technology and social media, so it's refreshing to see such a balanced approach on the subject.

The one area where I disagree slightly with Houle is his use of the term "digital natives." I'm sure from his perspective and based on his conversations with CEO's and other corporate types, that Millennials in the workplace, compared to their older colleagues, appear to be super digital, technology gifted whiz kids.

Coined by author Marc Prensky in 2001, the phrase has its usefulness in helping us adults grasp the major media shift we're experiencing and embrace young people's openness to it.

But two leading new-media thinkers – Sonia Livingstone of the London School of Economics and Henry Jenkins at the University of Southern California – both have concerns about the phrase becoming too definitive.

Sure kids can work an iPod or update their status on Facebook, but what about using technology in an authentic, useful context? But when it comes to using technology in a situated context to complete a task, navigating privacy settings and all around digital literacy, or using technology at school kids still come up a bit short

Over the last decade there has been lots of talk, in both the press and educational circles, about the technological prowess of digital natives. We've heard a lot about what's exciting in educational technology, but the reality is that teachers still see a lot of kids struggling to use technology.

In the end, what's important here, and I'm sure Mr. Houle would agree, is to take a balanced position when it comes to kids and technology. As a parent or teacher, don't be afraid to jump into the technology and social media pool and get your feet wet. Use this as an opportunity to spend time with your kids and  learn more about how they are using technology, mobile phones and social media in their lives.

Most importantly, don't panic! As a wise man once said, 'your kids are different...and it's okay!'

Image Credit: www.oprah.com