Category Archives: SPS Tech News

Finding Free Wireless Around Scituate

wireless

Locations around Scituate with Wi-Fi

  • Scituate Public Schools
  • Scituate Town Library
  • Scituate Harbor (harbor side of Front Street)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Starbucks (Cohasset)
  • Also:
    • Visit http://www.wififreespot.com/ to locate free Wi-Fi in other parts of Massachusetts and around the U.S.
    •  All Buffalo Wild Wings, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Target, and Starbucks locations have free Wi-Fi

Digital Parent App Alert Is it “Up” or “Down” Periscope?

periscope

Digital Parent App Alert
Is it “Up” or “Down” Periscope?

What is Periscope?
Periscope is a new social networking app which allows “livestreaming” through a Twitter account. In other words, instead of merely posting words or pictures for followers to view, users can broadcast themselves live over the internet using their phone’s camera and microphone.
Periscope launched two months ago and was downloaded by a million users in its first 10 days of existence. It is available for iPhone and Android and is free. There are other “livestreaming” apps in competition—most notably, Meerkat, Hang w/ and Stringwire.

What can it do?

Livesteaming apps such as Periscope allow users and their surroundings to be broadcast in real time across the internet. Recently journalists used Periscope to capture events such as the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore as they unfolded. Viewers can post textual comments and even interact with the “livestreamer” as they broadcast. Celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon have taken to using Periscope to allow fans to virtually hang out with him off camera.

Issues for Parents to Consider?
There are numerous issues parents should consider before allowing their children to download and use Periscope.
Potential Exposure to Inappropriate Images: As Periscope streams events live and takes them to virtually any dark corner of the world, there’s no way for anyone to know what’s going to happen next. Sexually explicit or violent material, endless strong language, and drinking and drug use may all occur before your child’s eyes in real time.
Lack of accountability: There’s no “report” feature on the app, which could make it an additional tool for bullies. It is not like YouTube where a complaint may result in a video being removed. Periscope offers no guarantees or protections for what your child may witness through the app or even what may be directed AT him/her.
Privacy and Safety Concerns: Livestreaming allows for the broadcasting of images of people in without their permission or knowledge. The app, by its very nature, is invasive, allowing users to broadcast their lives to outsiders — as well as broadcasting anyone who happens to be captured in the live stream. All comments also are viewable by anyone watching the video. If users input a location, that location is shared with the video potentially making your child a target for predators in the area.
If your child has downloaded or asks permission to download Periscope, discuss these issues. Why does your child want the app and hope does he/she plan on using it? Will your son or daughter be watching others? Will they be broadcasting themselves? Don’t forget that anything broadcast can potentially be captured by viewers and will be forever part of his/her digital footprint.
My Humble Opinion
I have to say “down” periscope for any users under 18. I don’t believe the risk of exposure to the darkest sides of the internet is worth immediate access to the events of our world. Instead encourage your student to turn the device off and engage with you, family members or friends in person.

SPS K-6 Technology: Digital Citizenship

by Darlene Foley, Elementary Technology Integration Specialist, Google Educator Certified

Being a good digital citizen is no different than being a good citizen and showing that you’re responsible. As a member of a classroom, a sports team, or a family, we have responsibilities delete methat include being kind, being respectful, and being safe. Regardless of where we are, those responsibilities are steadfast. It’s no different when we are online; those same responsibilities exist. This is the message that our elementary students have heard all year long and will continue to hear since technology is a part of every classroom and connected to so much of what we do on a daily basis.

Grades 4-6 have begun to dive a bit deeper into this topic of Digital Citizenship. In the last lesson students learned that when they text a simple message to a friend, post a photo on Instagram, or share a funny video on Vine, that they are creating a digital footprint and creating an image for themselves. Moreover, it’s a digital footprint and an image that they are responsible for and have control over. Students took some time to think about the image they’d like to uphold when working on the (non) digital footprint project shown on the right. This lesson provided a great opportunity to show students a Common Sense Media video that underscores the permanency of digital information and how it can impact their image. I urge parents to watch it with their 4-6th grade child and to discuss how students plan to create a positive digital image for themselves whether it’s through social media apps or working collaboratively on Google Drive for an assignment.

Parents Watch Out for this App

It “Swipes” Good Sense from Our Kids

 swipeUnfortunately parents have a new app to worry about. It is called “Swipe” and was created by Swipe Labs. Although the name refers to the way the manner in which users navigate through the app, it also has the ability to swipe the good sense and judgment with which we are raising our children.

As Swipe’s developers explain “With Swipe we wanted to build something fun that made conversations more like running into friends in real life — wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. When you get into the app, you’ll see a stack of photos & videos posted by your friends.”

A Swipe user can take pictures and instantly post them to their friends anonymously. The recipient of the picture can do three things (all involve swiping).

  • If the picture doesn’t interest the recipient, he/she swipes left to delete.
  • If the recipient thinks it’s cool, he/she swipes right to let the poster know the photo was liked.
  • If the recipient wants to reply, he/she just taps the post to write a message, and swipes upwards. When the poster gets the reply, he/she can send one back to the recipient and reveal his/her identity. Replies can go back and forth until someone gets bored — and just swipes it away.

Although this appears to be an innocent way to share pictures among friends, the app’s slogan signals the opportunity for bad behavior—“See the photos & videos your friends won’t post on Facebook.”

There are a several issues that parents need to be aware of concerning kids’ use of Swipe:

  •  Underhanded Means of Spreading: When the app is downloaded, the user agrees to a lot of fine print which includes permission for Swipe to access all contacts stored on the child’s device. The app then sends communication (often via text) to all of these contacts inviting those people to download Swipe via a message like “Sammy Sailor is inviting you to join Swipe” with a link to a download site. The user, in this case, Sammy Sailor, is not even aware that the message is being sent.
  • Anonymous online behavior is dangerous: Psychologist John Suler has described the tendency for people to say and do things online that they never would say/do in person as the online disinhibition effect . This effect becomes even more pronounced with adolescents whose neurological ability to use good judgment is not fully developed. In short, given the ability to post pictures without fear of accountability or reprisal, teens will often post dangerous, harmful or inappropriate pictures. The ability to post anonymous pictures is one of the central features of Swipe making it a dangerous app in the hands of our kids.
  • Listen to the app’s own rating: The rating Apple has given this app tells you the potential dangers inherent in its use. (By the way, Swipe is currently only available for iPhone/iPad/iTouch users but the developer promises an Android version soon). Swipe is rated 12+ due to the fact that users can encounter Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References; Sexual Content and Nudity; Profanity or Crude Humor; and Mature/Suggestive Themes”. Is this really the app you want your kids using?

 

So What Do You Do Next?

Now that you know something about Swipe, it will be important to discuss the app with your child.

  • Has she/he downloaded it already?
  • What kinds of pictures are friends sharing?
  • What kinds of pictures is your child sharing?
  • What will she/he do if an inappropriate photo is shared with her/him?
  • What will she/he do if invited to download Swipe by a friend?
  • Should Swipe be allowed onto his/her device in the first place?
  • Once an image is shared via Swipe it is forever going to exist in the virtual world. A “friend” can screenshot whatever you post and distribute it to whom he wants.

 

Remember that inappropriate online behavior can become a permanent part of your child’s “digital footprint” and follow him/her throughout the future. Also certain online behaviors can violate school rules and state/federal laws. Teens often think that their online behaviors have no accountability and are shocked to find they could be subject to school punishments and even criminal charges.

think dig cit

Digital Life Lessons Speakers Present to Gates Students

Gates students learned about fostering a positive and safe digital footprint during Wednesday’s Academic Advisory. Plymouth County Asst. District Attorney Kristen Stone met with the 7th grade to discuss steps students can take to use to digital social tools safely and responsibly. Simultaneously Scituate High School teacher Steve Maguire explored how to cultivate a positive and kind digital identity.

“Your digital footprint will be there forever”, stated Asst. Dist. Attorney Stone. “If someone says kstonethey can take it down or won’t share what you’ve posted, they are lying. There is no way to be confident someone hasn’t ‘screen-shot’ or copied it. It’ll be there forever.”

Ms. Stone described the criminal troubles that a person could find themselves in for posting, creating or sharing inappropriate digital images, posts, etc. She also described steps to stay safe online. (See below)

“It is important that student realize that even the pictures students take and share have metadata or geo-tagging embedded in them” explained Ms. Stone. “A predator with a modicum of computer expertise can track down a young person’s location using this information. It is so critical that students refrain from posting these pictures online for anyone to find.”

“It is scary that there might be people out there who want to harm kids”, said a 7th grader who saw Ms. Stone’s presentation. “But it was great that she gave us ways to stay safe.”

smaguireMeanwhile Steve Maguire explored important digital life lessons with 8th grade students. Mr. Maguire, a member of the SHS Science department offered lessons shared by his current students.

 

Lessons from SHS students included:
Don’t have your fights on social media for the world to see
   – Don’t ever post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see
   – Nothing is really anonymous…everyone always finds out

With humor and warmth, Mr. Maguire emphasized the fostering of a digital persona characterized by empathy and kindness.

“If your digital footprint is permanent do you really want to be remembered for how cruel you were to someone else? How you ruined someone else’s day?” asked Mr. Maguire. “Use every opportunity to be positive, to be kind, to touch someone else and make their life a little better.”

“[Mr. Maguire] was really hilarious but he also made me think about the power I have to connect with others and make them happy”, observed one 8th grader after the presentation.

Want to Learn More?

Asst. Dist. Attorney Kristen Stone will be presenting to Scituate parents on Wednesday November 5 at 7pm in the SHS auditorium.  Please join us!

Steve Maguire will be presenting “Parenting the Middle Years” series throughout the year in conjunction with the ScituateFACTS coalition.  The next session is Setting the tone: Creating Healthy Discipline Boundaries with your Children on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.  Click here for more information.


Staying Safe Online
Tips from Kristen Stone

• Remember online “friends” are usually still “strangers”

• Agreeing to meet with someone you met online is forbidden

• No anonymous chat rooms

• Unfortunately people lie online

• Why talk to a stranger online when you wouldn’t go up to a stranger at the mall or in public and start a conversation.

• Avoid sharing personal details in your online/account profiles (full name, address, phone number, school name, birth year, social security number, etc.)

• Never give out any password

• Use account settings to maximize your privacy

• Turn off GPS and location services to prevent strangers from knowing your whereabouts.