Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Dealing Softly with Bad Teachers Sends the Wrong Message to Students

August 28, 2014


Our impressionable students need to understand the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions. When they see us do something terrible, yet get nothing more than a reprimand, it sends the message that one can always say “sorry” and it will go away.

But sorry doesn’t always cut it. It certainly shouldn’t have been enough to let this reluctant teacher keep her job:


On her Twitter feed, a Newark Memorial High School teacher described in explicit terms her desires for her students. She wanted to pour coffee on them. She wanted to stab them. Some of them, she said, “make my trigger finger itchy.”

Alerted by one of her colleagues to the tweets — which are laced with profanity and racist remarks — the district disciplined teacher Krista Hodges with a written reprimand, and she continues to teach. Hodges has apologized, saying she meant none of it seriously. But some in the school community are stunned by the turn of events, given the alarming sentiments the teacher expressed.

mrs hodges


5 Tips to Help Your Children Use Social Networking Safely

April 26, 2013

Written by Dana Udall-Weiner, Ph.D  courtesy of

1. Talk to your teen about their time online.

 Talking to your kids about how they use social media and technology helps them break out of autopilot and become more mindful of their actions and reactions, Udall-Weiner said. “[This] is an important skill when it comes to developing emotional competence.” It’s important for teens to understand how being online affects them (such as their mood).

 She suggested asking your kids these questions: “Which websites do you often visit?  How do you feel emotionally, both during and after using these sites? Have you ever had any uncomfortable experiences online, or seen anything upsetting? Do you believe that there are any downsides to viewing the sites you regularly visit, or to using the Internet in general?”

2. Teach your teen to be media literate.

 A mistake parents often make, according to Udall-Weiner, is that they don’t teach their kids about media literacy. But it’s vital for kids to understand that what they see isn’t what they get online. For instance, “Parents need to actively remind their children that images are not reality—that no one is as thin, perfectly-muscled, unwrinkled, or flawless as that person in the ad.” She suggested visiting Media Smarts for more information.

3. Set time limits on Internet use.

 Teens are still developing their executive functions, which include monitoring behavior, organizing information and setting goals, she said. Plus, spending too much time on sites like Facebook can make teens feel worse. “My clients regularly tell me that they become very upset after looking at Facebook, since everyone looks happier, thinner, or more popular than they feel.” So parents might need to set restrictions on Internet use.

4. Surrender all phones before bedtime.

 “This is a way to ensure that kids aren’t up late texting or surfing the web, rather than getting precious sleep,” Udall-Weiner said. This rule also applies to parents’ phones, “since kids emulate what they see.”

5. Know the research about Internet use.

 Research has suggested that looking at images of thin models — which are splashed all over the Internet — may be associated with various negative consequences. “After seeing these images, people report things like decreased self-esteem, poor body image, depression, guilt, shame, stress, and an urge to engage in eating-disordered behavior, such as restricting food intake,” said Udall-Weiner. She also specializes in body image and eating disorders and founded ED Educate, a website with resources for parents.

Research also has suggested that the Internet makes us feel more disconnected from others, she said. “It’s important for teens to know the research on Internet use.” Talk to your kids about these findings.


Click on the link to read Monitoring Children’s Social Networking Activities Proving too Difficult for Parents

Protecting Your Children From Online Porn Just Got Harder

January 28, 2013


I respect Twitter’s stance on censorship but it doesn’t make life any easier for parents:

The new video-sharing app launched by Twitter is running into some upstart problems as it is being filled with sexually-explicit content.

The ease and lack of restrictions on the service, called Vine, allows for racy users to spread porn quickly.

Like with Twitter, users are able to search the platform by hashtags, so technology commentors began realizing the problem when a quick run of the term porn- or a vast array of more specific sexual tags- immediately produces a host of dirty videos.

This new facet of the service strikes at a potentially perilous point for the company, as they are known to be very firm believers in the freedom of the users.

As pointed out by Tech Crunch, Twitter administrators are known for their censorship-free stance and only budge when it is a question of legality.

Click on the link to read This New Craze Proves that Adults are Just Bigger Versions of Children

Click on the link to read Parents and Teachers Should Not Be Facebook Friends

Click on the link to read Introducing the App that will Give Parents Nightmares

Click on the link to read Facebook’s Ugly Little Secret

Click on the link to read Who Needs Real Friends When You Have Facebook Friends?

The Impact of Social Media on Kids

May 13, 2012

I agree with many of Jim Steyer’s points in regard to the need to educate children about using the personal setting on Facebook, as well as the addiction issues relating to children and social media. I am a big fan of his suggested “erase” button, which would enable children to delete any uploaded information they regretted putting on their pages.

Facebook’s big stock offering on Wall Street must be followed by an intensive debate on Main Street about social media’s powerful impact on children, an expert on the topic says.

Jim Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a San Francisco think tank focusing on media and families, said the technology that Facebook represents is having “an enormous impact” on youngsters, families and schools worldwide.

“We need to have a big national, if not global conversation about the pros and cons of that,” Steyer, a father of four who is also a civil rights lawyer and Stanford University professor, told AFP in an interview.

While social media such as Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter offer “extraordinary possibilities” in such areas as education, he said, “there are also real downsides in a social, emotional and cogitative development way.”

Steyer was in Washington to promote his just-published book “Talking Back to Facebook: The Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age,” which argues for greater parental involvement in their children’s online lives.

“Whether we like it or not, kids are now spending far more time with media and technology than they are with their families or in school,” – as much as eight hours a day on average in the United States alone, he wrote.

Children face the triple peril of what Steyer calls RAP – relationship issues, attention and addiction problems, and privacy issues – as well as cyberbullying, online pornography and, for girls, body image fears.

“There is an arms race for data, and to build things as fast as possible … but that’s not a great strategy when you’re talking about kids,” he said, accusing tech outfits for “not respecting the concept of privacy.”

Earlier this week, a Consumer Reports survey found nearly 13 million US Facebook users – out of 157 million, and 900 million worldwide – do not use, or are not aware of, the site’s privacy controls.

Girls are especially vulnerable, Steyer said, with studies indicating that many body-conscious teens are photoshopping images of themselves so as to look thinner and score more “likes” among their friends.

On a governmental level, Steyer suggested the United States follow Europe’s lead in privacy regulation and introduce an “eraser button” enabling users to wipe off anything they might have posted in the past.

“We need clear and simple rules (around privacy) for the tech companies, too, because right now they’ve dominated the debate and they’ve set the rules themselves,” he said.

But the immediate responsibility, he said, falls on moms and dads.

“It’s part of parenting 2.0 today, so you have to do your homework,” he said.

“You have to actually learn the rules of the road… and then you have to set clear and simple limits for kids, set clear rules of behaviour – and you have to be a role model.

“If you’re constantly addicted to your cellphone or your ‘CrackBerry’ then that’s not sending a very good message to your kids.”

Tips for Keeping Children Safe Online

February 24, 2012

Geek Squad have come up with some common sense tips for concerned parents. These tips are a good starting point for helping your children keep safe online:

Filtering Software: Install filtering software such as NetNanny or the free Windows Live Family Safety 2011. These programs can help your kids surf the Internet safely – without being exposed to any inappropriate material. You can also consider setting up free filtering at the wireless router level with OpenDNS, which will ensure that all devices that connect to your home Internet are filtered.
Maximize Current Programs: Many computers already come with online safety programs. Learn how to accurately use Parental Controls in Windows and Mac Operating Systems, and other programs that aid in monitoring and managing what children view online. Maximize the use of programs you already have installed and at your fingertips.
LOL Does Not Mean ‘Learn Online Lingo’: But you should: Among the many networking sites are Facebook and Twitter. Learn how these sites work and the coded language commonly associated with them. We can consider citing this study that says teens are increasingly using Twitter because parents have figured out Facebook, so they think they’ll have more freedom where their parents aren’t.
Gaming Parental Controls: Many games have online modes, where your kids can play against others around the globe. It’s important to know who your kids are playing with and what content they can access. Set parental controls on games to protect your kids without affecting their gaming experience.
Control Your Kids’ Online Environment: Windows Vista features parental controls that help parents monitor what kids can access on a computer – even when they’re not in the room or at home. Parents can select what games, programs and websites children can access. Time restrictions can even be set to ensure that the kids are following the rules even when mom and dad are not home. This feature is found in the Parental Controls panel and is part of the User Accounts and Family Safety Control Panel applet.

Facebook and Teachers: How Evil Predators are Ruining it For the Rest of Us

January 25, 2012

It sickens me to read about teachers misusing their privileges and being accused of engaging in inappropriate dealings with students. Similarly, it upsets me no end that these horrendous people end up making life even harder for well-meaning, caring and decent teachers.

Male teachers will be completely aware with what I am saying. It is hard to be a male teacher (especially Primary teacher) in an age where there are daily stories doing the rounds about teacher sexual abuse. We have to be careful to the point of obsession. Whilst female teachers wouldn’t hesitate to talk to a student alone behind closed doors, a male teacher cannot afford to. Whilst female teachers cuddle and get kids to sit on their laps without the slightest of hesitation, male teachers wouldn’t even extend their hand for a handshake. I am not trying to complain about this. In fact, I am a big advocate of these rules. It’s the fear of being falsely implicated that makes it a struggle.

And it’s not just male teachers who are effected by these evil people. They have also taken technology like social media, which I hear has incredible benefits as an educational tool, and prevented good, hard-working teachers from freely using it to assist their students.

One in 10 misconduct cases from schools involved teachers using social networking sites like Facebook to start inappropriate relationships with their pupils, it was reported.

n 43 of the 336 cases referred to the General Teaching Council for England last year for “unacceptable professional conduct”, teachers had used online forums, emails and websites like Facebook and Twitter to contact children.

A total of 14 were suspended and 18 were given prohibition orders, according to the Guardian.

The figures also revealed a wide variation in school policy over social networking websites with some banning teachers from having accounts while others allow staff to be “friends” with pupils.

The GTC registrar, Paul Heathcote, told the Guardian: “Often the use of social media by teachers can be positive and make a valuable contribution to a teacher’s practice, to pupils or to the school.

“Only if the use of social media by a teacher is relevant and serious enough to potentially affect a teacher’s registration is it likely to progress to a hearing.”

I would argue that it has become too risky to use Facebook as an educational tool between teacher and student. And we know exactly who to blame for that.

Shy Students Should Be Allowed to Tweet Their Teacher in Class: Study

January 17, 2012

Last week I wrote a post on the challenges of teaching shy students. I gave an account of my struggles with one particularly shy student and the strategy I used to get him to talk. I have great empathy for the child that is too afraid to speak and understand the frustrations involved when teaching such a student.

However, I feel a bit uneasy about a recent study that promotes conversation via Twitter between shy student and their teacher.

The Courier-Mail reports new research from Southern Cross University has found strong benefits for the use of Twitter by students too embarrassed or uncomfortable to ask teachers questions in the time-honoured raised-hand method.

Southern Cross business lecturer Jeremy Novak, along with Central Queensland University’s Dr Michael Cowling, studied the use of Twitter among university students as a method for asking questions and gaining feedback without having to stand the stares and scrutiny of fellow students.

The positive feedback from students, particularly international students, has convinced the research team the use of Twitter technology could also be embraced by classrooms at high school and even primary school level.

In my opinion, shyness is not a genetic disease or impenetrable condition. To me, shyness is a result of a lack of self-esteem. Shy children act that way because they don’t feel valued. Instead, they feel judged, ostracised or labelled.

A teacher can do one of two things. They can either enable the shy student by using Twitter, or they can actually attempt to help that student find their feet and feel good about themselves.

“But who has the time for that? We have the curriculum to cover!”

This line sums up my frustrations with current educational thinking (as perpetuated through teacher training programs). In my opinion, it is every bit as important for a teacher to assist their students in matters of self-confidence as it is for them to teach them the curriculum. In fact, I would suggest that it is more important. Facts are learnt and forgotten. The average person on the street has long forgotten calculus and how many chemical elements make up the periodic table. What they wouldn’t have forgotten is how they were treated and how their experiences at school have changed them for the better or worse.

Why placate a shy person when you can change a shy person? Why play the game when you can show them that they have a voice and it’s special and unique and something to be proud of.

And besides, receiving Tweets in class is so unprofessional.What, am I supposed to stop my class so I can check my phone for a Tweet?

Trust me, as good a feeling as it is to teach children new skills or concepts, helping a child discover that they are important and that their thoughts and opinions matter is so much more rewarding.

The Sad Reality of Teacher/Student Facebook Communication

January 9, 2012

People who draw attention the benefits of teacher/student Facebook communication miss the point. There is no doubt that there are some fantastic innovations through social media that would allow teachers to respond to the educational needs of their students. But all benefits go out the window when one considers the dangers.

High school teacher Jennifer Kennedy has a prepared response for students who send her “friend” requests on Facebook.

No. Or, at least not until they graduate.

It’s a rule she said she shares with fellow teachers at Sacramento New Technology High School.

Increasingly, school district officials across the region and throughout the country are coming up with their own guidelines for what kind of online and electronic communication is acceptable between teachers and students.

Is it OK to be Facebook friends?

What about direct messages on Twitter?

Or text messaging from personal cellphones?

“We have a generation of kids who communicate this way,” said Kennedy, who teaches sophomores and seniors. “If you say absolutely no Facebook or texting, you are cutting off an important relationship with students.”

In districts with policies against such behavior, officials have said social media sites blur the line between the professional and private lives of teachers. And then there are the rare but widely reported allegations of abuse initiated or intensified through social media.

These allegations of abuse spoil any chance teachers and students have of communicating via social media sites. Perhaps this if for the best.
What is your opinion on this issue?

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