Recently E-School News published the article Teen ‘sexting’: Less Common than Parents, Educators Might Fear. The article discusses the current statistics about 'Sexting' (the electronic transmission of nude or semi nude pictures usually via cellphone). Essentially the article states that Sexting is not as serious as teachers and parents think.
The study is based on a survey of 1,560 children, 10 to 17 years old, who use the internet. I challenge the validity of these findings based on the age range involved. As of right now, the study states that slightly more than 7 percent of children participating in this study have received, sent or taken inappropriate pictures of themselves or others. I speculate if the focus of the group was reduced to only include high school age students this percentage would sharply increase.
Upon reading the article I did my own research ( aka: asking my students) about their knowledge about kids that participate in Sexting. My results revealed about 70% of my students in one class know of sexted images circulating. In previous years I have gone so far to conduct my own surveys and collect data. Once High School begins, the Sexting numbers rise. I do agree, with one assertion of the study; that promiscuous teens are more likely to engage in Sexting than more conservative teens. I suggest that we all keep in mind that even teens who are rational and not promiscuous can be pressured into sexting.
What parents need to know:
How does Sexting effect teens? A 'Sext' is most often used as relationship currency between boys and girls. It is usually a girl who is seeking to win the affection of a boy or to keep the interest of a boyfriend. As with the case of Jessie Logan, she sent a Sext of herself to a boyfriend. Upon breaking up, the boy spread the picture of Jessie around her High School. Jessie was taunted mercilessly because of the picture, but she persevered through High School and graduated. Sadly, when Jessie made it to college, she found the sext had circulated there as well and she took her life.
The Legal Issue:
Beyond the horrible repercussions that people like Jessie suffer, there are legal ramifications to Sexting as well. First, anytime a teen under the age of 18 takes a nude or partially nude picture of them selves- in the eyes of the law that teen is now in the possession of child pornography. If that teen 'sexts' that picture to anyone else, he or she has now trafficked child pornography.
For example, child pornography charges were brought against six teenagers in Pennsylvania in January 2009 after three girls sent sexually explicit photographs to three male classmates. A More troubling fact is that teens who are charged with possession and trafficking child pornography from Sexting, will most likely be labeled a sex offender for the rest of their lives.
So, perhaps the study mentioned by E-School News is correct and Sexting is not as pervasive as once thought. Regardless, Sexting is a very real issue that already has robbed teens of their reputation and lives. I strongly suggest that all parents sit down with their teens and discuss Sexting and its ramifications.
I had done a post earlier in the year entitled Yes Parents, I do use cellphones in my English classes for my students. Today, this post is for my colleagues at our December faculty meeting.
The video below is a great introduction to Poll Everywhere
Today I gave a brief summary of my favorite mobile tools for the classroom at our faculty meeting. This post will helpfully support my fellow teachers in their effort to use mobile technology in the classroom. Poll Everywhere and Remind101 are staples for my classes. Remind101 created by Brett Kopf and his brother, is designed to send text blasts from teacher to student while protecting the privacy of both.
I will upload the hand-outs shortly so please check back.
Over the past couple of days, there has been much chatter from ed tech bloggers about the newest Norton report about cyber baiting. Cyber baiting is when students instigate or taunt their teachers, capture the teacher "losing it" with the class, (usually on a smartphone) and post the teacher's outburst to the Web.
Countries where this becoming more prevalent are the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Furthermore, according to the Norton Online Family Report, one in five teachers reported to have experienced or have known a colleague who has experienced cyber baiting.
Doing my own extensive research (aka asking my own students) I found many, many disturbing videos. In some cases, students are clearly setting the teacher up for a fall. Others, I believe, are teachers who I believe are totally overwhelmed or who have no business teaching.
The above teacher is clearly trying to teach and is obviously frustrated. In the comment section of the above video, students are actually speaking out against the trouble-makers. As a fellow teacher, I can sympathize with this teacher's frustrations. I feel bad for the teacher because he is unaware that he is being recorded and because he obviously has some chatter going on while he is trying to give directions.
One suggestion I have for any teacher in this situation is to read the book The First Days of School, by Harry Wong. There are amazing techniques offered for removing undesirable behavior that is a personal attack against the teacher. As a teacher, if I can keep the behavior separate from the child, and not allow it to affect me personally, then half the battle is won. Harry Wong is a great resource for any teacher looking to hone his/her management skills.
Now this video on the other hand, is over the top. The teacher is obviously upset that the student has destroyed a calculator. But there are several things wrong with this display of frustration. Acting this way does no good for either party. Was he cyber baited into acting this way? I am unsure, but nevertheless it was caught by camera phone and uploaded to YouTube. Now his bad day will always be available for any future students or parents to see. Yes, he could jump through a few hoops and have the content removed from YouTube and pulled from a Google search. I think this is a lesson for all teachers; we no longer have to worry only about what we publish online, but what may be published about us as well.
What to do?
1. Make sure your school and your colleagues are aware that cyber baiting is a growing trend among teens.
2. Instruct colleagues to create a "Google Alert" whenever new content tagged with their name is published to the Web.
3. Find out if your school has any rules against recording devices in the class.
4. Remember, a teacher who loses it is lost. Bad behavior is not a personal attack usually. Have procedures and
consequences in place and consistently follow them.
Let's just hope technology does not advance to allow students to read our minds! :)
I am a technology leader, professional developer, teacher, parent and proud owner of an IEP. Let's talk about some fabulous learning experiences.