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EDTC 6535 – Online Safety and Copyright Issues

November 7, 2010

There were two central topics of discussion this week which were covered in our reading: online safety and copyright issues. Online safety is a growing concern worldwide. I have always found that there is a certain – very dangerous – anonymity that comes with using online resources. I vividly remember going onto chat-rooms with my friends when I was in high-school and being able to tell jokes, be obnoxious and even annoy random people online, knowing the whole time that I could say what I want because nobody could really know who I was.

What’s interesting is that the “anonymity idea” is going away. Since the merging of websites, mobile technologies, being able to “like” things on facebook, and posting status updates and even location updates on sites like twitter and foursquare, it has become a lot easier to find and actually identify people on the internet. It used to be that the computer screen was a buffer between the real word and the World Wide Web, but that’s not really so anymore. This idea was made clear for me while watching the “Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’s” you-tube videos “Jigsaw” and “Consequences”. Especially in the latter video, where an older boy stalks a younger girl online and then in person, it becomes clear that the actual boundary between the WWW and the real-world is paper thin. Unfortunately, although plenty of our students think that they’re tech-savvy, few of them realize the real dangers involved with using this sort of technology. In fact, when I bring it up in class, many of them scoff, or say things like “who would be stupid enough to post their information online?” The real answer: plenty of people. In reality, there are a lot of people who are naïve enough to post their information, and trusting enough to leave it unprotected. Unfortunately, there are also volumes of people who are manipulative and sleazy enough to take advantage of that. Like the boy in the video, (Consequences) danger can come in any shape or size.

This topic is closely tied to the online bullying that has gone on in recent months – as I mentioned on the typewithme discussion.


The other topic that we covered this week was copyright issues and laws. I think that this is a bit of a sensitive subject for most teachers, as copyright is easy to break given the accessibility of information on the internet. For example, if students are creating a project that they will need images for, they are likely to use pictures or other images off the internet. Simply by searching Google images for a certain topic, countless images will pop up, most of which can be copied and pasted into other documents or websites. While students and teachers should be citing where they get pictures from, they’re hard to trace. Similarly, teachers and students do this all the time, so it’s hard for a teacher to require sources of images for one project, when other teachers do not.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrea permalink
    November 7, 2010 8:14 pm

    I think that you bring up an important point about teens and life online, which you mentioned in the TypeWithMe discussion as well. The line between the real world and the online world has become blurred, almost to the point of non-existence. Ann mentioned that the frontal cortex is not completely developed until the age of 21; thus, they often fail to see the end result of many of their decisions. They lack the life experience to truly know what they should worry about. It is a huge concern and we, as educators, need to do our best to help bridge this gap for them. I bet that, even though many of them scoffed at the idea of something putting their information online, some of your students were warned that day. At the very least, our modeling awareness is going to spark a certain amount of caution in our students. Thank you for your thoughts!

  2. November 8, 2010 3:47 pm


    Your comments this week, especially about online safety for for young people hit home. I have an eight year old son, who has been using the internet at school, and recently at home for assignments. He and his friends see the internet as a cool place for gaming, and downloading free stuff. My and my wife have spoke to him about the some the dangers tied to these practices, but he probably will not understand how serious this is, until something happens that is inconvenient to him.


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