Social Smarts: Privacy, the Internet and YOU! (Graphic Novel)

socialsmarts

 Recently, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released a very helpful Graphic Novel that outlines how you can be safe on the internet, using social media and still maintain your privacy!  This graphic novel outlines the potential pitfalls, risks and behaviour online that is not safe, and should be avoided at all costs!  The graphic novel, “Social Smarts: Privacy, the Internet and YOU!” can be downloaded as a PDF document, or you can visit their site to watch a video, or look at other resources like teaching guidebooks for educators and parents!  Some of the best tips from this graphic novel are:

  • Locking down your social media accounts so that only pre-approved real-life friends can see your information and activity
  • Be aware of when other people might be taking your photo, and ask them to not post it online, or tag you in any photos. (be sure to look at your settings and dis-allow anyone to ‘tag’ you)
  • Don’t “leave yourself logged in” to any computers, or smartphones that don’t have a password.  Anyone can use the computer/smartphone to pretend to be you!  Always have a password on your smartphone and never “remember my password”!
  • When playing games online, don’t share personal information over your headset, you are speaking to anyone else in the game and they can hear everything you say!
  • Remember that all your activity online, when you “like” something, or your “check-in” some place, this information is collected and stored by companies to profile you and sell you things!
  • If you are using some network or service online that is free, you must remember that you are not a customer, you are a product and are being used by the company or service to make money!
  • Remember that its OK to turn off your smartphone, or step away from the computer to make connections in real-life and to talk and build relationships with the people around you all day long!

Please, watch this excellent video below to learn more, and to check out the Graphic Novel as soon as you can!

SafeBook – How to be Safe on Facebook Infographic

How do you stay safe on Facebook, and other Social Media sites?  This is an essential question that many are asking, hoping to avoid cyber-bullying, identity theft and loss of privacy.  Yesterday, I found this excellent infographic that simply explains some of the key attitudes and behaviours that everyone should use when setting up and interacting on Facebook.  The infographic was designed by Fuzion, a marketing and PR design company that wanted to help educate students on how to use Facebook safely and easily.

Safebook%20-%20online%20guidelines

The Fuzion team have provided this excellent infographic that clearly outlines the best practices and usage of a social media tools like Facebook, with insightful advice, helpful settings, and excellent strategies for dealing with bullies!  They also have some strong advice for parents and teachers, and how they can be involved to help make Facebook and Social Media safer and friendlier for everyone.  There specific advice for parents is:

We owe it to our kids to show them how to:

  • Set up their personal accounts properly

  • Maintain their privacy settings

  • Connect with “friends” safely

  • Think about what they post

  • Post appropriately

  • Spot and deal with inappropriate behaviour

  • “Unfriend” and Block certain users

  • Report Bullying

If you would like to use this poster in your classroom, and to share with your students, parents and wider community, please, visit this page here, as they have a larger PDF version you can print out.  Thanks Fuzion for this wonderful tool that can help educate and make Facebook Safebook!

Making sure you #care when you #share

Recently, on twitter, many BC educators were discussing how to effectivily use Social Media to encourage students, teachers, parents, and everyone else to show more empathy and caring when networking, connecting, sharing and discussing online.  Too often, social media allows others to be mean, or to be inappropriate, to cut others down, rather than building them up.

It started as a conversation between Chris Wejr (@ChrisWejr) and Carolyn Durley (@okmbio) and quickly others jumped in to add their thoughts and ideas and a new hashtag idea came from Michelle Hiebert (@MauiMickey) to start using #CARE  as a hashtag when tweeting to others to show that you #care when you #share.

#care when you #share

By using #care when you tweet (or even facebook) you can demonstrate that you are encouraging positive, empathetic usage of Social Media.  You are committing to demonstrating friendly, positive interactions online where there are no put-downs or bullying, or mean-spirited debate.  You are committing to making the online social media space as friendly and welcoming as you can.  When we all take a little time to interject some posititivity, some friendliness, some caring and some empathy, it helps spread the good vibes and helps everyone feel that they belong.

So please, take a little time to tweet or share something nice about someone special to you, or even a newly connected member of your social network.  Let them know that you #care and that before you #share anything online, you think about its impacts and if it will help those around you!  If we all commit to #care when we #share, the world can become a lot nicer for everyone!

How can we all help to end Bullying? (Cyber or Not!)

Please see this cbc news  article to learn the heartbreaking story of Amanda, a young woman whose bullying tragically led to her taking her own life.

I, like many of you, have been very upset with the news of Amanda’s passing.   She struggled with horrible, inexcuseable bullying, and she took her own life rather than face her tormentors anymore.  She tried changing schools, she tried making new friends, yet, her bullies followed her online and continued to make her life a living hell.  What did Amanda do to deserve any of this?  Nothing.  No student ever deserves any of these attacks, nor insults, nor mental and physical abuse.    Amanda wanted to live her life, to enjoy this world, to make friends and to feel good about herself.  Why would any student want to take that away from her?  How could this have gone on for so long and led to such a tragic ending?  What can we do to help end this so no one else has to go through what Amanda has?

We all need to step up and confront bullying WHENEVER and WHEREVER we see it.  If you see someone bullying someone else in the hallway or the street, STAND UP.  Tell them its not ok!  If you see the same bullying done online, STAND UP, help them, confront the bully and let them know it is NOT OK to bully anyone else.  We can’t turn a blind eye, we can’t just tell them to “Stick up for yourself”.  We need to all come together and really STAND UP when we see bullying.  It is not something we should condone, or allow to happen in our presence, online or offline!

PARENTS and EDUCATORS:

We need to role-model and monitor our students, not just in school, but out of school.  There is a saying that many people are familiar with, that “it takes a whole village to raise a child”.  We all have a role to play in guiding and monitoring our students and children, and it needs to happen wherever we are!  We cannot standby and abdicate the online world and let students run around without any guidance, supervision, or role-models online.  We need to be online with our students and our children.  We need to stop and confront students and children when they are misbehaving!  We have no problem doing this in shared public spaces like malls, libraries, or other community centers.  Why do we not do the same online, in Social Media?  Why do students have free reign to privately do whatever they want on Facebook and other social networks?  Why do parents avoid connecting with their children online?  Why are teachers so afraid of role-modelling appropriate citizenship in online environments?  If we, as parents and educators don’t teach students how to behave well in these online (and offline) environments who will?

If you are a PARENT:

  • befriend your child on Facebook and other Social Networks. Use your account to keep an eye on their activities.  Would you let your child take your car without first going over all the safety information and rules, and lots of practice with you, in the car?  Why would online social media be any different?
  •  Ask them to signin in front of you, show you what they’ve been doing and saying online.  Demonstrate to your children what friendly, respectful behaviour looks like online.  Talk to them about what you are seeing in their “news feed” that is innapropriate, or dangerous!  Communicate often about whats happening in their own social networks.
  • talk to your children about the permanent nature of anything online and how anything they put online will be there forever!  There is no ‘delete’ on the internet!
  • Ask your child if they have been bullied online.  Talk about resources and strategies that they can do to help it stop!  (see the Cyber-bullying page)

If you are an EDUCATOR:

  • There is no question, you need to be involved in new social media tools as a professional.  Its time for you to become familiar with these environments. If you saw bullying in the schoolyard, you would stop it immediately. If you saw bullying at your local mall, or dairy queen, you would stop it immediately.  Educators NEED to be online with students.  We have an obligation to teach proper behaviour no matter what the environment.  To pretend its not our place is to abandon our most needy students.  The ones that have no one to stick up for them. If Educators cannot lead the way on proper social media usage, who will?  We cannot let students have a private club online with no adult supervision. We are starting to see the results of our abdication so far.
  • This does not mean we need to cross personal boundaries.  Consider setting up a professional Facebook account for interacting with students.  Use it to role-model and to supervise.  Let students know that they have adults in their social network. They are not hidden away anymore.  They have to be responsible for their online activity.
  • Use Social Media in your classes!  Students need a safe, supervised environment in order to learn!  We need to create these safe spaces online that encourage respectful, polite and friendly connections.  Students need feedback on their behaviour to learn.  Students need instruction on what is appropriate or not.  Students need discpline when they cross the line.  We can’t continue pretending that students are not on these tools, or are invisible when online.  We need to teach them.

If we all seriously look at social media and online environments as extensions to our communities, not seperate spaces, we can begin to demonstrate safe, responsible and respectful usage of these new tools.  If we don’t take the time to learn and teach students and children how to interact online without bullying, we will have so many more problems in the future.

Amanda, I’m so sorry we all let you down.  I will think of you and your experience often, and I hope that your legacy will amount to a genuine change in how we teach children and students how to be better citizens, online or offline.  We will all miss you Amanda.

Who does “Google” think you are?

We have all been warned that our Social Media profiles and online activities through sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus keep track of where we go, what we look at, what we click on, and who we interact with, but its easy to dismiss this “profiling” when it is not very apparent or visible.  Ever wondered why that advertising on your Google search was targeted at exactly the things you like and buy?

Have you ever wondered what kind of “profile” google has created about you?  Well you can  see your advertising “Catagories” and your assumed “Demographics” by clicking on this link:

http://t.co/hSxzJaPf

Its a very insightful experience to say the least.  Now, in order to deconstruct what these “Categories” and “Demographics” are saying, let me share my “profile” for you to see:

Click on image to “embiggen”

As you can see from this image, Google has correctly identified me as a “Male” and although I won’t turn 35 until later this year, they were pretty close to my current age.  Google definitely figured out exactly where I live in the world, and is thus able to target advertising directly at me from local companies in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

The “Categories” that Google has identified as my “key interests” are very insightful!  I think that they have created an accurate ‘picture’ of what I am most interested in, and what topics I am most likely to engage in online.  You can see that I like Movies, Online Video, K-12 Education, Technology, People and Society, and Libraries!  If you knew me in person, you would most definitely agree with this online google “profile”.

What is helpful to note, is that by accessing your own Google Profile, you can “Remove or Edit” any of these categories or demographics at anytime, if you knew about it!  So, please, get informed about your online Google Profile!  If you want to learn more about maintaining your online privacy, there are many other tools and strategies that you can employ to keep yourself from being “targeted” through strategies like google page.    Please see this page to learn how to “Opt out of Everything Online” to remove any profiles or targeted advertising!

Stay informed, and stay in control of your online identity!

Students WANT Social Media!

There is no doubt that Social Media is quickly embedding itself into all aspects of our 21st century lives.  We are increasingly looking at new ways of connecting online, using technology to bridge time and distance that keeps up apart.  This is no different in Schools, where students are desperate to find and use Social Media tools, and to further develop their skills and knowledge on how to best use these new tools and communication avenues.  Many of the tools we explore help students search, find, connect, produce and then share their experiences, knowledge and understanding! So why not at school?

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) is described as “an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner. Our 150,000 members in more than 145 countries are professional educators from all levels and subject areas––superintendents, supervisors, principals, teachers, professors of education, and school board members.” They have produced this amazing infographic that outlines the many different ways that Students want to, and already are, using Social Media! (click to embiggen)

An introduction to Google Plus!

Have you heard about Google Plus?

Google Plus is a new Social Networking tool that the engineers at Google have put together!  It was designed from the ground up to be more secure, private, and easy to use and share your stuff through!  While it has been in “Invite-Only” mode for the last 2 months, they just opened it up for anyone and everyone to sign up. (http://plus.google.com to sign up)

Why should you check out a new social network?  Whats wrong with the ones you use now? (Facebook / Twitter) Well, Google Plus (or G+) is meant to keep your private info, well, private!  You have to actively choose to share your information or posts.  You can connect with lots and lots of people *(like on twitter), but they don’t automatically get access to your private posts or photos that you share only with friends and family.  It is also easily intergrated into other google services, like Gmail, or Gdocs, or Gcalendar.  So, if you are already a Google user, than Google Plus will fit right in.  If you are interested, I highly recommend you check out this short video introduction I made to see how it basically works and how you can start building your circles!

%d bloggers like this: