Australia, June 26, 2013: Symantec Corp, in partnership with Cyber Safe Kids, Common Sense Media and the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development today launched a pilot digital citizenship initiative called “Growing Up Digital” for Australian students and communities. Growing Up Digital is a unique, sustainable and holistic approach to educating Australian students and communities on digital citizenship. The pilot, launched today at Greythorn Primary School in Victoria, will be trialed across 10 Victorian independent, government and denominational schools. The Growing Up Digital initiative will provide ongoing, accessible resources to Australian schools, cross-curricular lesson plans, interactive modules for students and parents, and training for teachers. The pilot program will be implemented throughout term three this year and a survey of students, teachers and parents at the commencement and end of the pilot will be conducted to assess the programme’s effectiveness and potential for future growth.
UK, June 26, 2013: Boys asking girls to send sexually explicit pictures of themselves in school happens “all the time”. That is the account from a secondary school pupil who was talking to the Cambridge News about the phenomenon of “sexting” in schools, which often involves boys pressurising girls into sending lewd pictures of themselves. A report by the NSPCC found that sexting is part of wider sexual pressures being piled on girls and is affecting children at a younger and younger age – even at primary school. The charity has called for adults to “overcome the culture of silence, adult embarrassment, and a paralysing uncertainty over changing sexual norms” to talk about these issues. It added sexting may only reveal the “tip of the iceberg in terms of these unequal and often coercive sexual pressures.” The NSPCC found one issue was teacher confidence in tackling sexting. The report, in collaboration with universities including King’s College London and LSE, said: “Teachers’ embarrassment about sexual matters is a persistent problem to be addressed, for it mirrors the embarrassment many parents feel, leaving few or no adults able to discuss with teenagers their developing sexuality or any attendant pressures and problems.” Christian Morris, head of regional fundraising at NSPCC, said: “Sexting is a very real problem for young people here in Cambridgeshire and across the UK. We need people’s support to help us tackle these issues and make a difference to children.”
UK, June 28, 2013: Global internet security company Kaspersky Lab has today released the first in a series of videos designed to raise awareness of online safety. The videos feature a series of clever mind games which viewers are asked to play and aim to provoke thought about cybercrime in a new way, while demonstrating the ease in which cybercriminals gain access to sensitive information. With 200,000 new malware samples discovered every day and an increase in cyberweapons such as Flame and Red October, the videos emphasise the need for improved education around cybersecurity and highlight the vital role we all play in preventing cybercrime. The three videos will be hosted on Kaspersky Lab’s UK YouTube channel and promoted through social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. David Emm, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, comments: “Many of today’s cyberthreats are highly sophisticated, but often the starting-point is ‘hacking the human’, ie using seemingly obvious methods to trick unsuspecting individuals into compromising security. Too often internet security is seen as a ‘technical’ issue with the focus lying too much on the technology. These videos are designed to raise awareness of the human dimension of security.”
US, July 2, 2013: New rules aimed at protecting children using the internet took effect on Monday. This update makes the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) more relevant in the social media and mobile phone age, and places some additional burdens on companies that target kids under 13. The rules went live over objections from industry groups which recently requested a postponement. Websites and phone apps that collect photos or geo-location data from children must now obtain express permission from parents, putting that data in the same category as kids’ email or home addresses. The new rules also make firms more responsible for data collection by third parties, a loophole that had been exploited by marketers in the past. The Center for Digital Democracy, a privacy advocacy group, hailed the move, saying the law needed to be updated for the age of Big Data. “Today marks an important moment for parents of children 12 and under,” said Jeff Chester, the group’s executive director. “Finally their child’s privacy online — whether they use a mobile phone, tablet, gaming device or computer — is protected. The new … rules put the parent in charge of what data can be collected from their child.” While the changes might not be enforced immediately, or noticed by users, the Center for Democracy and Technology has already begin a public effort to make sure the new rules have some bite. It sent a letter to dozens of partner organizations asking that they police the Web watching for COPPA violations.
Canada, July 3, 2013: Winnipeg is developing a code of conduct for teachers to help them deal with kids who are being bullied. It’s meant to be a tool for teachers and to promote a consistent provincial anti-bullying strategy. The document is being developed collaboratively by the province and various school system representatives, including teachers, parents and trustees. It will also provide guidance to principals and teachers on how to respond to inappropriate conduct, including bullying or cyberbullying, that take place both in and outside of school hours. It’s all part of the province’s larger anti-bullying action plan, which includes the controversial anti-bullying bill, Bill-18.