Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cell Phones

My husband has an advanced degree in instructional technology and is currently teaching a graduate level course in cyber ethics. So lately I am always hearing about new trends from cyber space ethics. The recent discussion he had with his class was the ethical debate over Obama’s Blackberry. He also occasionally volunteers at local high schools as well. So I hear lots of terms about cyber bullying, teen hacking and other teen computer issues. So I feel fairly well informed.

In my middle school art class we have recently finished an advertising poster contest about school bullying. Many of the students now add computer and cell phone use into the theme of “school bullying”. Now I don’t know if they will win the contest because I think a lot of people don’t think of that as “school bullying” it happens outside of school and at home. Bullying has now moved from just in school to in the student’s home life, they cannot escape.

Now 6 years ago when I started having the students create these posters students really didn’t think about cell phones and computers as part of school. It was present I heard of issues of IM bullying from other middle school teachers, However it wasn’t considered “In School”. Now students have been informed and seem to be getting the message and I hope parents, teachers, administrators, and the general public have. I am interested in seeing what posters win and if any have computers or cell phone images.

Here comes to a new thing I have been hearing about since last year but has now made national news, cell phone sexting. Now my teen daughter has a cell phone and lap top. She also knows unlike a lot of parents that my husband is very savvy about computers and if needed could hack in and find out anything he wants to know about her activity on the computer. However… the cell phone I am not so sure on what parent control features are available for parents. Can I check on it, can I check through the provider and know what is being e-mailed? Will most parents even think about it? I am! Right now, I am 99% sure she probably wouldn’t do anything right now, but what about someone sending something to her? Could happen if not now, possibly later. Some schools are now sending out safe sexting messages.

Here is my question should they or should it be a parent area? If so will most parents be able to approach this subject? Or as some I have talked to will say well at least they aren’t doing the REAL thing how can it hurt them? Ever hear of My Space and Facebook, well I have and it is in the college age and some high school age groups as a form of harassment using video or pictures of people. This will only move down the ages probably has already started and soon you will hear about 3rd graders in the news.

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