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Watch Out For Teachers (& Student Profiles). Not Internet Pervs

Here are a couple of articles that support my notion that it's teachers and other real-world adults not strangers on the internet that most parents should be worrying about.  (Plus, what their kids put on their own profiles.):

Security_alertInternet-Predator Concerns Overblown, Researchers Say The Seattle Times
A lot of parental worries about Internet sex predators are unjustified, according to new research by a leading center that studies crimes against children.  

Schools Let Sex Abuse Cases Slide (first in a series) The (Portland) Oregonian
While school administrators were aware of his inappropriate behavior with students, years passed before Joseph Billera, a charismatic middle school band teacher, was arrested and convicted for raping two students and molesting two others.

Former teacher sentenced in sex case MSNBC
A former middle school teacher was sent to prison for six years Tuesday for having sexual encounters with five teenage boys. Authorities said Allenna Ward, 24, met 14- and 15-year-old boys at the school where she taught as well as at a motel, a park and behind a restaurant.  

 

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Also check out: http://www.publiceducation.org/newsblast/February08/February08.htm, newsblast took the information from you:

Before the Internet, Jessica Hunter was a shy awkward girl who struggled to make friends. Somewhat typical, right? On the Internet, at age 14, she took on the persona of Autumn Edows, a Goth artist and model because she wanted to be a completely different person. As Autumn, she posted provocative photos of herself and fast developed a cult following. Her parents found out by accident, and the knowledge, not surprisingly, came as quite a shock. In "Growing Up Online," a new series from PBS, viewers get an inside look into the worlds kids enter and create online, focusing on the important ways the Internet is transforming childhood and development. There has been much ballyhoo of the threat of online predators, but many children think these fears are misplaced. Most children have been online since second grade and "know how to avoid." Internet experts tend to agree with the kids, signifying the real concern should be the trouble kids can get into on their own. Through networking sites, kids with eating disorders can share tips about staying thin and depressed children can share information on suicide methods. The documentary also notes a profound generational disconnect, perhaps the greatest American generation gap since rock ‘n’ roll. Caitlin McNally, who graduated from college in 2003 and served as an associate producer, found that the only way to follow up with a kid was through a text message or social networking site. She would place call after call and send e-mail upon e-mail and receive no response, but with a text, a response would ping back within minutes. McNally sees writing an e-mail for this generation as akin to what a handwritten letter was for her generation, and she finished college not even five years ago. Another interesting aspect of the use of technology is the way educators respond to it. At school, teachers almost have to become entertainers, as it has grown near impossible to "expect a learner of today to be engrossed by someone who speaks in a monotone voice with a piece of chalk in their hand," says social studies teacher, Steve Maher. The documentary elicited a real difference of opinion between the teachers interviewed as to whether technology was good or bad for education and development. On the one hand, technology offers kids amazing opportunities that were unthinkable a decade previous -- classes are now multimedia experiences. Yet on the other hand, while technology can broaden a child’s knowledge, it has also made it much shallower than it was before. Kids seem to know a little about a lot, but have grown so impatient that they cannot handle the deep complex thinking that is the key to mastery. The documentary is informative, available for viewing online and provides teaching guides and a discussion forum. Tip of the hat to This Week in Education (second link) for tracking down this interesting information source!

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