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Risk implications of kids going mobile: Research

Even back in 2010, the EU Kids Online researchers in 25 countries noted that “the ways through and the locations from which children go online are diversifying, and this trend is continuing.” It has indeed continued. Increasingly obvious to parents, the mobile platform enables “ubiquitous internetting,” as Dutch researchers put it way back in 2006). […]

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Anonymous apps and services are not synonymous with ominous

I’ve heard a lot of consternation about apps and sites that let users post anonymously and, indeed it is possible to use services like Whisper, Ask.FM, Secret, and Yik Yak to be annoying, mean, or downright cruel. But the same can be said for any tool that enables social interaction, whether it’s a social network, […]

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A positive, insightful new book for schools on bullying

In the preface to her new book, Positive Relations @School (& Elsewhere), author and risk-prevention educator Nancy Willard tells of a conversation with a very smart 5th grader in a dance class waiting room. She was explaining to another parent why a “rules and punishment approach” to dealing with bullying wasn’t working for schools, when […]

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Popularity: The other kind of vulnerability

A study cited in “When Popularity Backfires” at Time.com found that socially ambitious kids can be just as likely to experience bullying and harassment as “social outcasts” at school. Interested in the “hotspots” of social aggression in students’ social experiences at school, sociology professors Robert Faris at University of California Davis and Diane Felmlee at […]

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The evolution of online safety: Lessons learned over 20 years

When I wrote the original version of Child Safety on the Information Highway (click here for 20th anniversary updated version), in 1994, “online safety” was largely defined as keeping kids away from porn and predators and the solution was pretty much focused on parental controls. But, over the past two decades, there have been a lot […]

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How Yik Yak is different from other social media

Based on news reports and conversations with educators about troubles with Yik Yak, the location-based anonymous texting app, at schools in many parts of the US, three scenarios leap to mind…. Remember that kid at school (or maybe that frat house) who felt the need or the pressure to set off the fire alarm to […]

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Major study of teen online conflict in Canada, insights for all of us

Though “cyberbullying” is in the title, the just-released study from Canada’s premier digital and media literacy organization, MediaSmarts, is about far more than that. The study offers a wide range of insights from young people themselves on the full spectrum of negative behaviors that turn up in digital media, including meanness, gossip-spreading, acting out of […]

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‘Neknominate’ is a stupid and potentially deadly online dare game

The Irish Mirror calls it “sickening online drinking craze,” and that’s factually correct.  “Nekominate,” also known as neck and nominate, is a game that’s growing in popularity in Australia, the UK and parts of Europe where someone posts a video of themselves doing something stupid or dangerous and then “nominates” another person to stick his or […]

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Safer Internet Day takes a positive spin — view event live on Tues

View the live webcast here from 9:00 AM to noon Eastern (6:00 to 9:00 PT) by Larry Magid This column first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News For the past 11 years, the European Commission and InSafe, a Brussels-based nonprofit, have been coordinating Safer Internet Day celebrations across Europe and other parts of the […]

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Whisper’s popularity no longer a secret

It’s being said that the preference pendulum in social media culture is swinging back from transparency (as in Facebook) to anonymity (as in Whisper). And the growing popularity of the Whisper app – where users’ posts are Internet meme-style photos overlaid with text (the app makes posting easy by offering up photos it “thinks” match […]

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