With three area Middle Tennessee juveniles recently arrested for involvement with a sexting ring and a Sumner County school put on alert with a possible student Facebook threat today, STARS CEO Rodger Dinwiddie said it is an important reminder for parents to talk with their teens about inappropriate and illegal use of technology.
“One of the first ways in which a teen deals with improper pictures and text messages is to say no and do not forward this material. This could happen anywhere anytime and it does. Sexting and cyberbullying is something our agency works young people throughout Middle Tennessee via our STARS specialists. It is also important for parents to guide their children’s behavior,” Dinwiddie said.
Dinwiddie said there are some basic and important tips for students to remember in being safe online and to prevent participating in inappropriate and illegal situations.
Tips For Teen Online Safety
1. Say no and do not participate in sharing or passing along of inappropriate pictures or material.
2. Do not share your passwords with friends.
3. You aren’t anonymous when using social media and the Internet because it is all trackable. Treat others online respectfully as you should do in person.
4. Embarrassing pictures and rude, mean remarks can live forever on the Internet. Never forget it.
In his interview with WKRN reporter Erin Holt, Dinwiddie said words, rumors, and gossip causes enormous pain. “Our STARS specialists work throughout Middle Tennessee schools to help youth learn to stand up and say no.”
In the sexting case, photos were posted online via an email account. The juveniles were charged with sexual exploitation of a minor which is a felony. In Sumner County, STARS specialists next week are working with students on “Pause Before You Post” covering guidelines on posting and potential consequences and questions to ask before you post.
Below is the WRKN story and please note, the video portion of the story expires May 5, 2013.
Social Media has proven to be a very effective way to raise awareness for Spread the Word to End the Word™. Social media will allow you to engage in conversations that help change attitudes and drive people to pledge at www.r-word.org. Here are some of the more robust social media channels that you can join discussions, subscribe to videos or follow conversations online.
- The official Spread the Word to End the Word Fan Page is www.facebook.com/EndtheWord
- Many young people and other supporters have started pages all over Facebook. A couple of examples:
- You can use your own status update area in your profile to help raise awareness for Spread the Word to End the Word
i. Post links to videos about the R-word from the R-word website, End the Word YouTube channel or Facebook Fan Page.
ii. Post a message encouraging your friends to take the R-word pledge:
- “This cause means a lot to me, I hope you can all take one minute to choose respect and take the R-word pledge at http://www.r-word.org”
- “I just pledged to make the world a more accepting and inclusive place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, I hope you will pledge too! http://www.r-word.org”
- “Join our movement! Pledge to end the R-word! http://www.r-word.org”
- “Language affects attitudes. Attitudes impact actions. Join me and make your pledge to choose respectful people first language at www.R-word.org“
- The official Twitter handle you should follow for Spread the Word to End the Word is @EndtheWord – http://twitter.com/EndtheWord
- When you tweet about the R-word, use the hashtag: #Rword so everyone can follow the conversation
- Use http://search.twitter.com and put in ‘retard’ to see tweets of people using the R-word. Then tweet @ them and ask them to please stop and take the pledge.
- A few sample tweets to help you Spread the Word:
i. Join us on 03.06.13 and help end the demeaning use of the #Rword http://r-word.org
ii. Language affects attitude. Attitudes impact action. Make your pledge to choose respectful people first language http://R-word.org
iii. Watch this powerful PSA on the power of words! #Rword http://j.mp/tDN6uv
iv. Be a Fan of Respect. Help eliminate the demeaning use of the R-word from everyday speech #Rword http://r-word.org/
v. “I pledge! Eliminate this hurtful word and pledge,” says Nicole from Ohio. Pledge to end the #Rword now! http://r-word.org
vi. “I pledge not to use the #Rword, now and forever.” Ashley from Monticello, MN made her pledge. Have you? http://r-word.org
vii. Have you pledged to end the use of the #Rword yet? Encourage your friends and family to take the pledge at http://r-word.org
viii. Pledge Your Support: ACT NOW–pledge your support to eliminate the demeaning use of the #Rword http://r-word.org/
ix. “In such an era of political correctness, why is it that the word ‘retard’ is still ok?” asks Soeren Palumbo #Rword http://r-word.org
x. The Power of Words – His courage to say what he believed was inspired by his love of his sister #Rword http://bit.ly/11IaoQ
xi. Have you pledged to help end the use of the #Rword? http:// r-word.org/
- When you see positive tweets in support of Special Olympics, Best Buddies or the R-word, Re-Tweet them and thank the originating handle and follow them!
- Tweet @ your favorite celebrities and ask them to support Spread the Word!
- You Tube
- The official Spread the Word to End the Word You Tube channel is http://www.youtube.com/EndtheRword
- Share or reference the information as provided by Special Olympics in the You Tube Safety Center on inclusive language and mutual respect http://help.youtube.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=143803
- Link or embed the videos on our End The Word channel to your blogs, Facebook profiles, Tweets, or any other way you engage online – the more people that see our messages, the better!
- Blogosphere and other tips
- There are conversations taking place every day about language, people with special needs, sports, friendship, or any topic you can think of. Find a subject that interests you and engage in those online communities and conversations and help spread the word about this campaign in those communities. Keep the interactions respectful and forward moving, always encouraging people to join us and learn more.
- Whenever you see media items posted on any site like You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, etc it is very likely there will be negative comments toward our efforts. Use those comments as an opportunity to engage the person in conversation instead of just reacting negatively. Offer thoughtful counterpoints to their arguments! An example might be:
i. Commenter: “Stop limiting my freedom of speech!” A common thing we hear, but easily countered with something like, “This campaign isn’t about limiting speech, its quite the opposite. We respect your right to say anything you want, we ask that you recognize that words can be hurtful and that words do matter and then choose to use words that are less hurtful.”
- Do not let negativity from immature people online get you down. You already know why you are passionate about this campaign. Prepare a few lines of text expressing your feelings and why this matters to you. Then have it ready to engage in positive conversation. We cannot effect change without confronting the attitudes we hope to change. Arm yourself with your honest feelings and words and a well thought out statement of compassion. Most people will respond to this positively. Those who don’t, brush it off, its’ likely they’ve heard your message and it sticks with them, maybe they pledge next year or the year after!
- Find more tips! http://r-word.org/r-word-take-action.aspx