Counseling

How Cyber Smart Are You?

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Today, I am taking a different spin with my post.  This one is all about work.  For those of you who are new to my blog, whether here or on Blogger, I am a middle school counselor.  I enjoy working with this age and love teaching/informing them of new things.  We actually learn from each other.  They keep me hip and knowledgeable about the everyday life of our youths. 

This past week, I have been going into classes to discuss Cyber Safety.  I am going to share with you a modified version of my lesson that I utilize with my special education students.  My lessons with them are more on an elementary level.  This lesson is presented to them over four class periods, because I want to make sure they fully understand the message I am presenting to them.  

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Here is an outline of what I present:

  • Complete and discuss modified Pretest for Bullying:  this is a worksheet to test their prior knowledge.
  • Define: repeated, intentional behavior in order to hurt, take advantage, embarrass or inflict harm on someone else.  You are deliberately trying to hurt someone and show that you have power over them.
  • View Brain Pop Jr. Video on Bullying https://jr.brainpop.com/health/relationships/bullying/
  • Review Brain Pop Jr. Quiz orally with the class.
  • 4 Main types of Bullying 

Physical: hitting, pushing, shoving, damaging property, hiding or stealing something that belongs to someone else, forcing someone to do things they don’t want to do.

Verbal:  teasing, taunting, insulting, name-calling, etc…

Relational Aggression or Social Isolation:  spreading rumors, refusing to talk to someone, isolating or making someone feel rejected from your group.

Cyber-bullying:  the use of technology or electronics to bully someone.

    Informing vs. Tattling (Form found here) Adopted from Family Volley

What are some devices used and ways people cyberbully?

  • Cell/Smart Phones
  • Computers/Tablets
  • Video game consoles (i.e. Xbox Live)
  • Smart Watches
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Social Media
  • Email
  • Texting/Sexting

Speaking of Social Media, by a show of hands who has…

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumbler, Vine, Kik, YouTube, Ooovoo, Yik Yak, Ask.fm, Omegle, Whisper, Pheed. ( You would be surprised with the number of students who have multiple sites at this age).  

How many of you have your sites set to private?  How many of you realize that just because it is set to private, it is never really private?  (Explain and give examples)

Personal Identifiers- Do not post personal information about yourself or others.  Be careful when taking selfies (are you displaying your school logo/ID, background- can it tell where you are located.  Be careful about “checking-in” or adding your location.  Don’t post too much info.  You should never post your full name, address, birth date, phone number, passwords, etc… Anyone can track you.

I do not show the following video to my special needs students, but I do share it with my others.  I am adding a link here because I think you will find it very useful. Source: YouTube

Anything you do online is tracked and can be traced

  • IP address
  • Every keystroke is saved
  • Marketing strategy…see advertisements along edge of pages
  • Sharing Wi-Fi…this is dangerous…password protect yours
  • Sharing Passwords…that’s a no no.
  • Review Cyber Smarts slides from Carol Miller (A national recognize school counselor)  http://www.themiddleschoolcounselor.com/search/label/Cyber%20Safety

Here is another video I have incorporated into my lesson, but not with my special education students.  I end the lesson, with the others, with this video and you will see why.  My students love it and its a great way to wrap up my lesson.

https://whatsyourstory.trendmicro.com/blog/entry/1-006f/

I end my lesson with a bingo game for my special education students.  Here is a copy of the bingo cards I use.  All of the terms are covered throughout the lessons.

cyber-smart-bingo

Some pointers for parents.  

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Source

Know what your child is doing online.  You are their parents, not their friends.  You have a right to monitor EVERYTHING they do.  It is for their safety.  I preach this to my students all the time and I practiced what I preach.  I had total access to my boys social media accounts until they went to college.  I still had access, but just chose not to always go through them.  I taught them certain values and expectations and expected them to carry through with them.

Now, I’m not a sheltered parent. I know what young people are facing in today’s society.  The pressures they are facing each day is incomparable to what we ever experienced.

 Talk with your child about the dangers of the internet and show them the correct way to use it.  If you allow them to have social media sites, closely monitor their actions.  Set boundaries as to what they can and cannot do online.  Be willing to listen to them when they present you with a situation.  

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Source

I was very open and honest with my boys.  I told them about experiences I had while in high school and college and how they are making decisions everyday that could affect the rest of their lives.  I don’t expect them to be perfect and I know they will make mistakes.  But we learn from them and grow.

My hope is for my boys as well as my students to be better prepared when faced with life’s challenges and they know that I am open to talk to with them about anything.  Is it easy?  Hell no!  It is easier for me to talk with my students at times than with my own.  Why? Because they are my babies.  My counselor hat goes out the door and mama hat is in full effect because all we want to do is protect our babies, right?  As far as my students, I have an open-door policy and I encourage you as parents to do the same.  If they are willing to talk, talk with them.  If you don’t take the time and push them away, it could be a decision you’ll always regret.  

How are you keeping your children cyber safe?

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12 thoughts on “How Cyber Smart Are You?

  1. Cyber-bullying is something newer that many of us parents have to become more knowledgeable about, so I thank you for this. At the present time, thankfully, none of my kids are on social media. However, that doesn’t mean social media doesn’t impact their lives. It probably doesn’t help that their mama is a blogger who sometimes shares a little too much.
    Also, Brain Pop is awesome. 🙂
    XOXO

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  2. Yes, we are thinking about doing a parent workshop…but where would we get the time…to make them more knowledgeable. We actually had a speaker come out last year (paid) and only 21 parents showed up that evening. Horrible. Cyberbullying is such a national problem and many students don’t realize how detrimental it can be to their lives and the lives of others. You are very cyber smart, you never use your kids names. And yes, I absolutely love Brain Pop!

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  3. Such important information, for parents AND kids! Everyone, for that matter. Bullying has already been around, but cyberbullying is even worse with its infinite reach and lack of accountability. Thank you for spreading this important message!

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    1. Thanks Wendy! It is important for everyone to be cyber smart. Sad part is, it changes every year. There are new apps and social media sites that it’s hard to stay on top of things. The anonymity of the internet makes it easy for someone to cyberbully which is so sad.

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    1. Thanks Jen! I appreciate you sharing. It is so important for parents to be aware. This is one lesson that I look forward to sharing with my students each year. It feels good when students state afterwards that they learned something valuable.

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  4. Wow. REally great post. My kids are just getting to the age where they are using technology more. I wish they had something similar to this at their school. Valuable lessons here.
    #trafficjamweekend

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    1. Thank you so much! This is something our district ensures that is taught each year. At our school, they are introduced to bullying and what to do it they are faced with it in 6th grade. The lesson here is with 7th grade with a small review of 6th grade. And, 8th grade incorporates novels with bullying aspects incorporating what we teach in 6th and 7th.

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  5. I’m so glad I didn’t grow up in the age of cyber communications. The internet was in its infancy when I went to college, so everything embarassing I did there is staying neatly tucked in the past. I’m not looking forward to having these conversations with my kids, but thankfully your lessons make me feel better prepared.

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  6. Thanks Leslie! I have accomplished my goal. I don’t know why I never posted a lesson like this before, but really felt a need to do so this year. It is so important for parents to know how to approach this topic with their kids and I’m so glad to be able to help you prepare. I am also glad that the internet was not around when I was growing up. Teaching our children proper values and being firm about checking their accounts is crucial in today’s world.

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  7. Great post! I’ve just finished a novel that touches on this topic. It’s with the Beta Reader right now. I’ll keep you posted. It’ll be a great story to recommend to your students. 🙂

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