on July 9, 2007
[This review first appeared in my column in the July-August issue of The National Psychologist.}
National research studies have found that children and teenagers spend six hours and 21 minutes per day, nearly 45 hours per week, using digital media including television, the Internet, music and video games. A nationwide Kaiser Family Foundation study discovered that if you take into consideration that most kids multitask, the actual media diet is an astounding eight hours and 33 minutes per day or 60 hours per week. With children and adolescents spending more hours using media than they spend sleeping, eating or going to school, parents are becoming increasingly concerned.
Nancy Willard, an educator, lawyer and expert on cyberbullying has written a fascinating book entitled Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the Internet Safely and Responsibly (Jossey-Bass, 2007). Nancy's approach is to provide parents and educators valuable information about online risks and how to keep children and teens safe in cyberspace. Covering such issues as cyberbullying, violent video games, online pornography, gambling, Internet addiction, privacy and social networking, this book is a comprehensive overview of the darker side of technology. However, unlike television shows like To Catch a Predator, it does not simply accentuate the negatives, but gives parents an array of strategies for helping their children avoid pitfalls or deal with problems when they arise. Nancy's work can also be found at the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use ([...]
[Postscript: Nancy Willard's book is a must read for any parent of a Net Generation child. It is too easy to believe that cyberbullying will never happen to your tween or teen. Sadly, that is not the likely case. Buy this book. Read it and share it with your children. That way, everyone wins.]
on January 4, 2009
Any parent or educator who wants to develop a library of works on cyberbullying and cyberthreats should begin with this excellent and ground-breaking work by Nancy Willard. Ms. Willard, an attorney and educator, is deservedly recognized as a pioneer in the recognition and prevention of cyberbullying and cyberthreats. She has written and spoken extensively on the topic and most educators and researchers are familiar with, and build on, her extensive work.
This is not a dry, scholarly work that is accessible only to researchers. Ms. Willard writes in a comfortable and friendly style that even teenagers can read and enjoy. In fact, this work is highly recommended for students, parents, educators, law enforcement personnel, counselors, and researchers. While there is a growing number of works devoted to exploring the challenges of cyberspace, Nancy Willard got their first and continues to lead the national effort to address those challenges in both law and education.
To parents and educators who understand that cyberspace can be challenging, but have not acquired Ms. Willard's book, there is a simple question: why not? There is only right answer: I'm getting it!