I was honored to again participate in an interactive presentation over video with both students, teachers and parents involved in the ProTechT 2008 project this afternoon. This connection involved more students as well as adults than this morning’s session… I’m not exactly sure how many, but we did have twenty different “viewers” of the UStream channel at one point. The ProtechT teachers may have recorded how many students and parents were in attendance in their classrooms. We archived the presentation via Ustream.tv, and I also archived the text chat transcript.

UStream.tv really is amazing. Yet another example of how we are living in a “publish at will” infoverse. The rights and responsibilities which accompany this type of DIGITAL POWER are VERY important to discuss and think about in depth, and that was one of our primary topics during this series of media-enabled conversations. (Part 1 of this discussion over Ustream.tv is also available.)

The referenced link during this presentation for Internet Safety resources for families is:

http://teachdigital.pbwiki.com/internetsafety

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On this day..

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  • Hi Wes,

    enjoyed watching the recorded session. I have a good friend whose 11 year old daughter took a provocative picture of herself and sent it to a male friend of hers from her cell phone. Of course, her friend forwarded that on to many other classmates. The school got involved. Embarrassment ensued. My friends want to move…

    I was talking to my wife about this and I now believe that the paradigm has shifted from protecting kids from predators to protecting kids from THEMSELVES and their friends.

    It’s really depressing as I have a 7 year old and a 4 year old and they, like me, love technology and they know how to make it do what they want it to do.

    As much as I see the benefits of technology in our lives, life was much simpler.

    How, in your opinion, should my friend deal with this now that it has actually happened?

  • John: This is a tough question without easy answers. The most worthwhile questions to answer are often that way, however. I don’t know that I have a single answer to offer or suggest, but here are some options:

    1- The family could seriously consider moving. Depending on how many other students in the school saw the photo and know about the incident, this might be something that would be “unrecoverable” from a social standpoint, especially in a smaller community. Obviously the decision to move schools or move the location of one’s home is a big one, but I know of parents who have made that decision based on bullying problems that were not resolved at school. Ultimately I would hope the parents would do what is best for the child based on the circumstances as well as her reaction and emotional health. I certainly wouldn’t rule out the value of moving to a new location, and chalking up this experience as an important as well as self-critiquing life lesson.

    2- The family and daughter could discuss the potential value and drawbacks to “going public” and writing about this experience. No one communicates with young people quite as well as other young people. Of course elevating the profile of their 11 year old daughter in the media may be exactly the OPPOSITE of what this family wants to do at this point, but it might be worth considering working with her to write a short book about her experiences and the ways they relate to Internet safety. If there is a way to transform a negative situation into a positive one, I am generally in favor of at least exploring those possibilities. We need EVERY young person to understand how important it is to NEVER allow anyone to take a “provocative picture” of them anywhere, anytime, because that photo could end up ANYWHERE in the future– including on the cell phones of all the students at that person’s school. How are young people going to “get” that message? We have some people (mainly adults) out talking to parents as well as kids about Internet safety and the issues which come up (like this one) but how many YOUNG PEOPLE are out sharing this message.

    This may be something to discuss with the school counselor, as well as principal and teachers. There are precedents for young people writing books and making a difference today on important issues– Zach Hunter’s book “Be The Change” is one example. Maybe this young student could author or co-author a book about her experiences, and then share about them in both face-to-face presentations as well as online.

    Again, that may not be something the family is willing to even consider at this point, but I think it is worth mentioning. This situation does beg the question, HOW are we going to help the young people in our communities understand and internalize, in a personal way WITHOUT BEING THE VICTIM of a cyberbullying attack like this, how important it is to be very wary as well as protective of the information they share online or allow to be recorded about them?

  • Hey Wes this was AWESOME!! Did you know you help me drive home 3 hours every weekend? (I work in Myrtle Beach, SC, but drive back to a suburb of Charlotte, NC (the SC Side) every weekend to be with my family. I hope this one will make it to the podcast too.

    I have two unrelated questions:
    1 – did you set this up to “play” automatically when loaded? I ask b/c there were two of your UStream posts in my reader, and both were playing by them self–which I’ve never had happen before. Generally in my experience I had to click a play bitton to see them in the reader. Also, I couldn’t see them (they were down lower on the page in my reader, but I could hear them, and with them both laying at the same time, well, i was greatly confused. What gives? Ws it a malfunction on my computer’s part?

    2 – One of the joys of reading blogs form other people is also rading the comments people leave–to see a somewhat threaded conversation. Is their a “comments” feed I can add to my reader for your blog? I don’t see one on your blog, but maybe I’m missing it.

    Take care,
    Cathy Nelson, Teacher-Librarian
    Myrtle Beach, SC

  • Hi Cathy! Thanks for the feedback and questions. I am so glad to know I’m helping provide ideas and food for thought on your drive home on the weekends. I’m not sure why the Ustream videos were auto-playing, I didn’t think they were supposed to do that. I just have them embedded on my blog with the default embed code the Ustream website provides. Sorry for the double-play. That wasn’t by design, I assure you. Not sure what happened or how that can be avoided. Sounds like maybe your feed reader is doing something that makes the flash file auto-play?

    Yes, I have a comment feed for my blog. This is linked on my right sidebar in the section titled “Links,” and is labeled “subscribe to comments.”

  • I think John’s point is important in that while the “predator talk” gets most of the attention via traditional media and even teachers, it’s not much of an issue. It’s as much of an issue as bomb threats and school shootings….they are real but can’t be the main focus of safety issues.

    The peer to peer bullying, and privacy issues are where we need to focus. I’m glad you did that in your presentation. Good stuff and thanks for sharing.

  • Hi Wes,

    Thank you for your thoughtful feedback. I certainly will show your suggestions to our friends. I’m not sure how they’re going to handle it at this point but I really feel that once things have settled down (and there are indications that they are), they’ll be able to stay where they are and, from what you suggested, create a positive message out of the experience.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

  • Hello Wesley-

    I’ve been meaning to drop you a note to thank you kindly for taking the time to speak with your students two weeks ago. We had 74 students and 8 teachers participating in the conference with you during the afternoon session. The experience was really memorable for us and tied in so nicely to the activities that we’re working on in the Protecht project. The great responsibility that comes along with the powerful tools is something that we all are talking away from our talk. It has really been a theme as we’ve engaged with wiki tools and the discussion board in this project. I feel as though our students are really responding well to many of the activities.

    We also had a few parents join us for the talk and I’m glad they did. Imagine the conversations that these parents were able to have that night at dinner! This just wasn’t possible back in the day.

    I did a short little blog summary from the experience:
    http://middleschoolblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/6th-grade-conference-wwesley-fryer.html

    Thanks again for all of your support and work with us on this project, Wesley.

    Matt Montagne
    Instructional Technology Coordinator
    University School of Milwaukee

  • Matt: It was my pleasure to help out in a small way and I salute you and the other teachers leading ProTecht for blazing a trail many more need to follow. Thanks again for this opportunity, I hope we can collaborate again in the future. I still would like to respond to more of the student questions at some point, and may take some of them on in the not-too-distant future at least as blog post responses.

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