Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Digital Safety & Citizenship with Dr. Sameer Hinduja

As the Lower School Technology Specialist, I know about dates such as this: Digital Citizenship Week this year is October 16--20th.  (Which, ironically coincides with this year's White House proclamation of Character Counts Week, October 15-21st).

Last week, tying into that, we had an Internet Safety, Digital Reputation, & Cyberbullying Assembly at school. The speaker, Dr. Sameer Hinduja (Co-director of Cyberbullying Research Center with Dr. Justin Patchin), was amazing!  As a speaker, researcher, author of 7 books, and Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University, Sameer is quite the expert in his field!

Sameer was on campus for approximately 48 hours, and spoke to all constituents in different assemblies: grades 4-5, Middle School, Upper School, Faculty, special group leaders, and parents too. Each assembly was geared to the specified group, and  Sameer spoke candidly and expertly to whichever group he was addressing. My own middle schooler and upper schooler came home telling me they enjoyed their assembly and the fact that Sameer really spoke to their level and knew what he was talking about. He had his finger on the pulse of social media.

The main messages were that of kindness, empathy, resilience, character, creating a positive digital reputation, anti-bullying, and avoiding digital drama. 

He. Was. Excellent.  

My favorite take-aways (in no particular order):
  • Sameer's definition of 3 important words definining behavior:
    • rude: unintentional insult which upsets someone
    • mean: intentional insult which upsets someone which happens once
    • bullying: intentional insult which upsets someone which happens over and over, even when you tell them to stop.
  • You can't perfectly insulate children and teens when online. Given that, you need to teach them to be smart consumers of tech (especially since that's their world).
  • 1 of 3 kids have been victims of cyberbulllying--the results were from an anonymous poll of numerous 12-17 year olds...this impacts the dating world, which then leads to the potential of dating violence. I love that he spoke to Upper Schoolers about this, and how pressure to "sext" could lead to future dating abuse down the line!
  • Communication is key... and parents need to enter their teens worlds.
  • Encourage kids to make kindness go viral and do something legendary. (He shared so many "good videos!")
  • The "X Plan" is a great tool for parents to set up with their kids to give them an "out" during difficult party/group situations.
  • Raising moral kids and kids with a moral compass is the best line of attack! Build creative problem solvers in your children with resilience, who rise above, who overcome obstacles, and who fail forward.
  • The more people succeed over time, the more "haters" they'll be exposed to.
  • When it comes to "tech time," creation is always more important to consumption. Let that be the guide to your "tech time policing."
  • When it comes to digital presence and digital response to other, just like the toothpaste...once it's out there, it's out there.
  • "Pause before you post, think before you text or type."
If you ever get a chance to see Dr. Sameer Hinduja, please do. You'll be glad you did. His future schedule is taking him to Nashville on November 5-7, 2017 to the 14th Annual international Bullying Prevention Association Conference.

Resources from Cyberbullying Research Center worth diving into, on specific topics:

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