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learning.now: at the crossroads of Internet culture & education with host Andy Carvin

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Safety archive

January092009

What Role Should Teachers Play in Policing the Net?

A drama unfolded on the messaging service Twitter last week after a bipolar woman posted a note that she intended as a joke, but was perceived by some people as a threat against her child. Soon, police were at her...

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December052008

Lori Drew Convicted in Megan Meier Case

Last week, a jury in California convicted Lori Drew on misdemeanor charges related to the Megan Meier suicide case. Though public sentiment wanted to see her convicted specifically on Drew cyberbullying Meier into committing suicide, in the end she was...

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October102008

Congress Passes Bill Mandating Online Safety Education

Education technology organizations are hailing the passage of legislation in the House and Senate addressing online safety education in schools. The legislation will require schools receiving federal Internet subsidies to educate their students about appropriate online behavior and cyberbullying....

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August292008

CA Legislation Criminalizes Campus Cyberbullying

The California state legislature has just passed one of the first laws in the country to deal directly with cyberbullying. It gives school administrators the authority to discipline studies for bullying others offline or online. But will legislation translate into...

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August082008

Internet Orgs Weigh in on Lori Drew Prosecution

In an interesting legal twist to the Megan Meier saga, a group of high-powered Internet law advocates have published a brief in relation to the case against Lori Drew, the woman being prosecuted in the wake of Meier’s suicide. In...

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May152008

Indictments Handed Down in the Megan Meier Case

This afternoon, a federal grand jury indicted Lori Drew, the woman at the heart of the Megan Meier tragedy. The indictment is a major turning point in the cyberbullying suicide case that shocked the nation....

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April152008

Gangs, Social Networks and Media Literacy

Around the country, community groups offer free Internet access to young people as a way to keep them off the streets and away from gangs, just as gangs have started using social networks to recruit teens. Are they offering the...

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April072008

The Megan Meier Tragedy: A Perpetrator Speaks

The sad case of Megan Meier, the girl who killed herself after being bullied by her neighbors in an online hoax, is back in the news again. One of the perpetrators of the hoax is speaking out for the first...

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April022008

Strengthening Student Resilience to Online Risks

A new report commissioned by the British prime minister tackles the thorny challenge of addressing online safety for young people. The report urges people to put the relative threat of online predators in perspective, while at the same time noting...

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March212008

Online Safety Bill Snags in Senate

A Senate bill that would appropriate $50 million for a competitive grant program funding educational online safety initiatives has now hit a parliamentary snag. Online safety organizations are now pushing to get things moving again....

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March142008

School Authorities Stifle Student Blogging Project

An Australian teacher renowned among educators for his use of blogging in the classroom has just had his latest blogging project shuttered by state authorities. Are other edubloggers next?...

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February192008

Questioning the Notion of Online Predators

A new study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) raises tough questions about the conventional wisdom regarding online predators. The study takes aim at the mainstream media’s coverage of online predation, labeling its portrayal of the phenomenon as “largely...

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February082008

Utah Bill Would Block Wi-Fi Access to Minors

There’s a new twist on policymaking efforts to make the Internet safe for young people: denying them access to it altogether. A bill in the Utah state legislature would require public wifi providers to ensure that minors can’t access the...

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January222008

A Compelling Look at Online Adolescent Behavior, Warts and All

Tonight on PBS, the investigative documentary series Frontline will take a close look at the behavior of young people online. If you’re expecting yet another sensationalized news piece about the dangers of online predators, you won’t find it here. What...

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December072007

Debating Federal Funding for Online Safety Curricula

A coalition of online safety organizations and activists has come out in support of federal legislation that would create a $50 million grant program supporting online safety education initiatives. They’re also criticizing a competing measure on Capitol Hill that would...

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November202007

Megan’s Tragedy

This week marks the fifth year that educator Bill Belsey has organized Bullying Awareness Week. And its timing couldn’t be more ironic, given the horrifying story that emerging of a Missouri teen who killed herself after being bullied on MySpace...

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October222007

When a Stranger Calls

A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project examines the percentage of teens that have received unwanted contacts from strangers over the Internet. And I can’t say I’m surprised by their finding that certain behaviors - such...

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September082007

Dealing with Cyberbullies: No Easy Answers

If you read my previous blog post, you know I’ve spent the last couple of weeks grappling with the issue of cyberbullying and how to respond when it occurs. I immediately reached out to educators and bullying experts to get...

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September042007

An Open Letter About Cyberbullying

To: Mathew Honan, Wired Magazine From: Andy Carvin Dear Matthew, You don’t know me, but I was hoping I could take up a few minutes of your time today. I see we’ve got a lot in common; we’re both writers,...

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July302007

Senate Hearing on Online Safety: More Emphasis on Educating Kids

Last week, the U.S. Senate held a committee hearing regarding children’s online safety and what steps need to be taken to prevent predatory behavior. Interestingly, much of the testimony emphasized the importance of online safety education over the use of...

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July102007

Court Rules Against Student Suspended Over Threatening Instant Messaging Avatar

In the wake of the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court late last month, it was probably just a matter of time before we’d see another student free space case using it as precedent. I might...

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June222007

New Study Analyzes Parental Practices Regarding Children’s Internet Use

A new report on parents’ attitudes towards their children’s media consumption suggests that parents are doing more than ever to promote online safety. Is that actually the case, or do we just feel like we’re doing a better job?...

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June182007

New Initiative Seeks to Educate Teachers About Online Security

In the wake of the Julie Amero legal battle, a group of technology experts and teachers is pulling together an initiative to improve the Internet security skills of teachers and administrators....

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June082007

Getting Out the Message on Online Safety

I’ve often heard from educators and parents that there’s a lack of powerful messaging out there to help students understand the impact of cyberbullying and online safety in general. While it may sometimes seem like that’s the case, there are...

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June062007

Julie Amero Granted New Trial

This morning, a Connecticut judge granted substitute teacher Julie Amero a new trial. She’ll now have a chance to present evidence that she accidentally exposed students to online porn due to malware....

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June012007

Olivia’s Letters

News coverage about a middle school student victimized by online and offline bullying has prompted a grassroots solidarity campaign. She’s received over 1,400 letters of support so far, and it’s serving as a teachable moment that no school should ignore....

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May292007

When Students Become Accidental Celebrities, What Next?

Every teacher and parent should read the article in today’s Washington Post about the California high school student who’s become an online celebrity, from MySpace to YouTube. Who she is and how she got in this predicament, however, probably isn’t...

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May232007

D-Day for Julie Amero

Last week, the Connecticut substitute teacher convicted of exposing students to porn was supposed to find out her sentence. Yet once again, her sentencing has been delayed - until D-Day, of all days - and even the press is beginning...

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April252007

Does Sentencing Delay Mean a Possible Reprieve for Julie Amero?

Julie Amero, the Connecticut substitute teacher facing a controversial 40-year prison sentence for exposing her students to online pornography, has once again had her sentencing delayed. Might the delay be a sign that prosecutors are reconsidering the evidence that led...

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April182007

Virginia Tech: Yet Another Wake-Up Call for Better Emergency Preparedness

Eleven years ago, Readers Digest proclaimed Blacksburg, Virginia as “The Most Wired Town in America.” So why couldn’t this wealth of technology be used to save lives during the horrific massacre at Virginia Tech? Perhaps the wrong tools were in...

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April042007

Stop Cyberbullying: A Look Back at Last Week

Last week I unilaterally declared March 30 as Stop Cyberbullying Day. The response has been overwhelming. Let’s take a look at how the blogosphere mobilized to address cyberbullying....

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March302007

Stop Cyberbullying Day: My Own Story

When you’re a blogger, you expect a certain amount of criticism regarding the things you publish. What you don’t expect, though, is to have your life temporarily hijacked. As part of my contribution to Stop Cyberbullying Day, I thought I’d...

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March272007

March 30: Participate in Stop Cyberbullying Day

This Friday - March 30th - has been declared Stop Cyberbullying Day - by me. I’m hoping to get as many people, bloggers and nonbloggers alike, talking about cyberbullying, because it’s spinning out of control. Just ask blogger Kathy Sierra....

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February212007

The Julie Amero in All of Us

Mainstream media has finally started covering the case of Julie Amero, the substitute teacher who was found guilty of child endangerment because some of her students saw adult-oriented popup ads on her computer screen. And the news coverage is causing...

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February052007

More Details Emerge in the Julie Amero Case

Ever since substitute teacher Julie Amero was convicted last month of exposing her students to pornography on her classroom computer, bloggers have been debating who’s to blame, with most siding with her. Now, a published interview with a tech consultant...

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January262007

Lifting the Hood on DOPA Jr.

The official text of the bill to replace the Deleting Online Predators Act has been published, and it goes beyond the scope of the original legislation, addressing child pornography, cyberbullying and children’s privacy. Let’s take a look under the hood...

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January232007

The Birth of DOPA Jr.

It didn’t take long for the latest generation of the DOPA legislation to rear its head on Capitol Hill. But will the bill go anywhere this time around?...

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January192007

Bloggers Back Teacher Convicted on Questionable Porn Charges

The blogosphere is rallying in support of a substitute teacher who was convicted on porn charges despite evidence suggesting she was a victim of malicious computer software and a lack of technical safeguards on the part of the school....

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January162007

Teacher Faces 40-Year Prison Sentence Because of Filtering Folly?

In a case that’s receiving scant national attention, a substitute teacher has been convicted of exposing students to online pornography, which she claims appeared on the screen due to spyware. Is this merely the case of a rogue educator, or...

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January082007

Are Kids More Responsible Than We Thought?

A recent study suggests that many young people who use MySpace are more responsible online than conventional wisdom might suggest. Let’s take a peak at what teens are doing - or aren’t doing - with their MySpace pages....

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December292006

DOPA Dies on the Vine

The end of 2006 also marks the end of the current congressional session in the House and Senate, closing the door on the Deleting Online Predators Act. Let’s take a look at why this legislation, which passed overwhelmingly in the...

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December012006

Understanding the Impact of Online Communities on Civic Engagement

This week, the USC Annenberg School published a major study on the impact of the Internet on American society. Their research suggests that the online world is becoming equally important to people as the offline world - and it’s affecting...

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November202006

Every Site You Click, I’ll Be Watching You….

A software company best known for its anti-spyware products has jumped into the online child safety market with a tool to help parents monitor their kids’ Internet use....

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October302006

Through the Looking Glass: Coping with COPA

Last week, a federal court in Philadelphia began hearing arguments on the legislation known as COPA. No, I’m not talking about DOPA, the Deleting Online Predators Act, or COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. I’m talking about yet another...

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October102006

Is MySpace Your Space As Well?

Even though MySpace seems to be on every politician and parent’s hit-list, a growing number of educators are staking their own claim on the online social network. We already know how those politicians and parents would react, but what about...

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August142006

Back to School: Five Predictions and a Waffle

It’s that time of year, kids - we’re going back to school. (Okay, I’m not going back to school, but millions of educators and students are, so there’s a good chance this applies to you.) In honor of the start...

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August112006

New Study Shows Rise in Youth Exposure to Porn & Cyberbullying, Decrease in Online Solicitations

This week, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) released a new study on the prevalence of children being exposed to online porn and unwanted solicitations. The results of the study were somewhat mixed, even defying some of...

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August032006

A Virtual ID Card for Kids: Will It Keep Them Safe?

One of the most common questions I get from parents and teachers alike is how do you verify that the person a child is talking to online is who they say they are? A Scottish parent wondered the same thing...

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July272006

Panic! at the Capitol: The House Passes DOPA

Yesterday, the US House of Representatives unexpectedly moved forward in voting on the Deleting Online Predators Act, or DOPA. This legislation, proposed on May 9 of this year, would require all schools and libraries receiving federal Internet subsidies known as...

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May242006

Students Outsmarting Filters for Sport

BoingBoing, arguably the most popular blog in the United States, just posted a link to an April news story from C|NET News on how kids are engaging in a cat-and-mouse game with schools to successfully get around Internet filters. If...

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May232006

Online Predators: Much Ado About… What Exactly?

Last week on the science news website LiveScience, author Benjamin Radford offered a provocative commentary on the recent spate of news stories regarding sexual predators, including those on the Internet. He claims the media exaggerates and sensationalizes the threat of...

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May152006

Online Social Networks Join the Fray Over Online Social Networks

It’s been just four days since word got out about the Digital Online Predators Act of 2006 (DOPA), the legislation that would require all schools and libraries receiving federal Internet subsidies to filter online social networks and other interactive websites....

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May082006

Should Students be Allowed to Carry Cell Phones?

Wired News reports on current attempts by parents groups and policymakers to force New York City schools to allow students to carry cell phones. The schools have long banned mobile devices as a public nuisance, but critics argue that cellphones...

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MySpace Is Just So Last Year

For those of you who have just started hearing a lot of press about MySpace, it turns out there’s more catching up to do, according to the Wichita Eagle newspaper: [T]he biggest social-networking spot may not stay on top for...

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May012006

Welcome to learning.now -
Enjoy It While You Can

Hi everyone! Welcome to my new PBS blog, learning.now. I hope you enjoy reading it, because this may be the one and only time you’ll ever have access to it. The subtitle of this blog is “At the crossroads of...

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