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<April 2015>

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Safe Teens - Net & Cells

A conversation with Esther Wojcicki on ‘Moonshots in Education’
Esther Wojcicki is an award winning journalism teacher and the author of a new book on education called Moonshots in Education: Launching Blended Learning in the Classroom. The book explores digital and online learning with models and examples from schools that are already implementing digital learning. Moonshots is an approachable book that’s part Wojcicki philiophy and part tips and advice from her co-author Lance Izumni and contributors Alice Chang and Alex Silverman. Actor James Franco (a former student of Esther’s) wrote the forward. One of my favorite passages is about a culture of trust The first thing to establish in a classroom is a culture of trust. That doesn’t mean the students are given complete freedom to run wild and do what they want; it means the students trust each other to help in the learning process and the teacher trusts the students. A conversation The interview you can hear below, a conversation really, is more than just about the book. It’s about an educational philosophy that stresses doing rather than just studying and is based on something quite radical in education — respect for students. And the reason I call this a conversation rather than just an interview is [...] Continue reading

‘Revenge porn’ is about betrayal, not pornography
This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News Sharing explicit pictures or videos with an intimate partner is not always a harmful practice, but it can be devastating if those images get into the wrong hands — like those of Kevin Bollaert. In the first criminal prosecution using a new California law targeting “revenge porn,” San Diego-based Bollaert, 28, was convicted Monday on six counts of extortion and 21 counts of identity theft for operating two websites. One of Bollaert’s now defunct sites posted nude and sexually explicit pictures of woman, often taken by a former intimate partner, with names, age and other information about the victims. Another reportedly enabled victims to pay to have their pictures removed from the first site. Cowardly act “Just because you’re sitting behind a computer, committing what is essentially a cowardly and criminal act, you will not be shielded from the law or jail,” California Attorney General Kamala Harris said. “The result of this conduct was to make people feel shame and embarrassment in the context of their family, their community, and their workplace,” she added. “Revenge porn” is a term for pictures posted or shared, often by a former intimate partner, [...] Continue reading

Teen Health and Wellness

Teens Spend Big on Prom
Teens that attend prom this year will spend an average of $919 on the event, according to a study from Visa. That amount covers tickets, clothing, flowers, limo rental, food, and—for some teens—the “promposal,” or prom proposal. Promposals are often-elaborate gestures, and they account for a third of the $919. The study revealed that teens from less wealthy families (those making less than $25,000 a year) will spend nearly twice as much, or about $1,400, as teens from wealthier families (those making more than $50,000 a year) on prom.

Flakka: A Dangerous New Street Drug
A new drug is sweeping through Florida, Texas, and Ohio and is likely to spread elsewhere. Flakka is a powerful and addictive synthetic stimulant that can make users paranoid, delusional, and violent. News reports tell of flakka users injuring themselves, running naked through traffic, and handling guns while hallucinating on the drug. The active ingredient is alpha-PVP, a chemical similar to the one found in dangerous synthetic “bath salts.”

April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2015 is dedicated to preventing sexual violence on college campuses. One in five young women and one in sixteen young men are sexually assaulted while in college. Most cases are not reported or investigated. Forty percent of colleges haven’t investigated a single sexual assault in the past five years. This month, you can help by starting a discussion about consent, by calling for colleges to take allegations seriously, or simply by raising awareness. Follow and contribute to the conversation with the hashtag #SAAM on social media.

Latino Teens Feel the Effects of Discrimination
A new study of Latino high school students has found that discrimination negatively impacts mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. Researchers were surprised to find that these mental health issues were less common in Latino teens who were immigrants and more common in teens who were the children of immigrants. Discrimination-related anxiety and depression decreased as Latino teens progressed through high school.