I just finished speaking at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Panel on Students and Cyberbullying held at the Cesar Chavez Elementary school in San Francisco.
I was joined on the panel by Brian Marcus (ADL National Director of Internet Monitoring) and Adrienne DeWolfe (California Technology Assistance Project). We had a great conversation with both parents and educators on Gen Y, cyberbullying and hate speech on the web.
Our message to parents and educators was pretty similar: Don't panic! Arm yourself with knowledge and understand that blocking content and web pages isn't the answer. Here are some other tips:
- Talk to your kids/students about what is appropriate and not appropriate
information to release on the Internet. Take an active role in their digital
- Protect your kids digital identity by creating news alerts for their name on Google, Yahoo! and MSN.
- Talk about the implications “lifecasting” can and will have on their future.
- Remind kids that the web is that "permanent record" we were all warned about. Even though you go back and change that blog entry or delete that embarrassing photo, the information is archived on the Internet Archive and/or Wayback Machine.
- Whether it's Club Penguin,Twitter or MySpace--make sure your kids learn how and why they should use privacy filters--and then double check to make sure they are using them.
- Visit the sites your kids use and read the TOS (Terms of Service) and Community Guidelines. Learn how to report abuse and share the information with your kids.
- Social networks are self-policing, if you find objectionable content, bullying or other abuse—report it! Think of it as a 21st Century Neighborhood Watch program.
The good news is that parents are already taking the lead on web safety. A survey released last month by Common Sense Media found that:
- 85 % of parents of children who go online said they have talked to their child in the past year about how to behave on the internet.
- 88% of parents said the internet helps their children acquire skills and information needed to succeed in school, as well as helping youngsters learn about the things that most interest them and about different cultures and ideas.
- An Harris Interactive poll found that more than 93% of those surveyed said they have taken action to make sure the web sites their children visit meet parental standards.
There are lots of great resources out there to empower parents and educators on social media safety & cyberbullying. The ADL, Yahoo!, Media Awareness Network, and MySpace (to name a few) all provide free web safety guides for parents and teachers on web safety, digital literacy & social media.
Thanks to Lianne Baskin and Johnathan Bernstein from the ADL for inviting me to participate in the conversation. I hope that those of you who attended were able to leave with some good information and insight into the digital world of Gen Y.