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<September 2015>

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Safe Teens - Net & Cells

Guide helps educators navigate social media for class and professional use
by Larry Magid You’ve heard the stories — teachers who got themselves into trouble over what they posted in social media or were, perhaps, cyberbullied by students. And then there are tales of students wasting their time using social media in class. These are risks to be sure, but when used properly, social media can be a great learning tool and a way to enhance — not risk — educators’ professional reputations. These are the conclusions of a new free publication, The Educator’s Guide to Social Media from ConnectSafely.org. Written by Kerry Gallagher and myself, the guide answers the basic questions of how you can safely use social media in class and for professional development and how to maintain both student and personal privacy. Kerry Gallagher Co-author Kerry Gallagher (@KerryHawk02) is a Technology Integration Specialist at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts. For 13 years she taught middle school and high-school history where her classes collaborated, created and published their ideas in a paperless environment. Of course, many students are using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but so can teachers to share learning tidbits with students and show off excellent student work with the student’s, and in some cases, parent’s permission. YouTube is a [...] Continue reading

Bluetooth headphones protect children’s hearing
Puro Kids headphones If you have kids, chances are very high that they are listening to music through earbuds or earphones. No problem with that, but if the volume is too high, it can affect your child’s hearing. That’s why it makes sense to equip them with headphones or earbuds that limit the volume to about 85 db or less. At that level, children can listen for about eight hours without damage, according to NoiseHelp.com. Higher levels are OK for much shorter times. For example: At 91 decibels, your ears can tolerate up to two hours of exposure. At 100 decibels, damage can occur with 15 minutes of exposure. At 112 decibels, damage can occur with only one minute of exposure. At 140 decibels, immediate nerve damage can occur. (source: NoiseHelp.com) The noise levels (in decibels) on the thermometer are approximate as measured at a typical listener’s distance. Use this sound thermometer to judge your or your child’s noise exposure. Noise levels at 85 dB or above can be harmful to your hearing and require protection. Most headphones will pump out as much sound as you put into them which means that if you turn up the volume on your device [...] Continue reading

Teen Health and Wellness

Teen Creates App to Combat Cyberbullying
Trisha Prabhu, a 15-year-old from Illinois, has created an anti-bullying app called ReThink. The app sends an alert whenever it detects a user writing something hurtful in a text, social media post, or email. The popup alert asks the user to reconsider before posting or sending the message. In a study of ReThink users, the average teen’s willingness to post hurtful messages dropped from 71 percent to 4 percent. Prabhu was inspired to create the app after reading a news story about a preteen girl who committed suicide after being cyberbullied.

Health Experts: DIY Braces Are a Terrible Idea!
Hoping to avoid expensive professional braces, some teens are resorting to do-it-yourself braces, keeping elastic bands or metal clips around their teeth in an attempt to close up gaps and straighten smiles. The American Association of Orthodontists and other experts have issued warnings against the trend, calling it dangerous. DIY braces can lead to injuries and infections. Elastic can migrate toward the roots of teeth, destroying gums. In some cases, teens have lost teeth, requiring expensive treatments.

Bring Healthy Back this School Year
For most teens, summer means a break from school. It also means, apparently, a break from healthy habits. A new study has found that teens on summer break tend to consume more sugar, eat fewer vegetables, and spend more time sitting in front of TVs and other devices than during the school year. With a new school year beginning, it’s time to kick your health into high gear. Eating healthy and exercising can help you sleep better and excel in school.

Study Links Social Media Use to Poor Mental Health
One in four teens are “almost constantly” online. According to a new study from Canada, teens who spend more than two hours a day using social media are more likely to have poor mental health, from anxiety and depression to suicidal thoughts. Researchers do not know if social media is contributing to these problems, or if troubled teens are simply more likely to rely on social media for support.