THE EXAMINER – PLEASANTVILLE: Darren Hayes – Op-Ed on Safer Use of Mobile Devices

Seidenberg Professor Darren Hayes published an op-ed in the March 15 Examiner in Pleasantville on the mobile safety summit held this week at Pace.

The bully in kids’ pockets

By Darren Hayes, professor, Pace University Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information systems

More than 40% of kids have been bullied while online, while a staggering 58% of kids admit that someone has said hurtful things to them online. Nearly 60% of these kids have not informed their parents about being victimized. The recent highly-publicized cases of Tyler Clementi, from Rutgers University, and Phoebe Prince from Hadley, Massachusetts, highlight the need for greater awareness and education for children and their guardians.

Increasingly, the danger is right in kids’ pockets. One survey suggests that 22% of children aged 6-9 own a cellphone while 60% of kids between the ages of 10-14 do and 84% of teenagers aged 15-18 have one.

The rapid migration of technology to mobile devices, especially among the younger generations, also has prompted the move of cyber bullying to these devices. Today’s cell phones contain all of the tools necessary to intimidate through texting, e-mail or posting to online social networks in an effort to publicly humiliate a child.

Technology has enabled the bully to continue his harassment well beyond the classroom or schoolyard, and to be generally more determined and less intimidated because of the absence of face-to-face confrontation.

Computers and mobile devices do however provide a wealth of digital evidence to determine the perpetrators of harassment and ultimately intervene to protect the victims.

Much-needed legislation has come in the wake of cyber bullying tragedies. The states of New York and New Jersey  recently passed anti-bullying laws; a program on the topic was recently held at the White House.

But the fight against the scourge of cyber bullying will only be effective with the support of people and groups like teachers, corporations, community leaders, prosecutors, and lawmakers. It is critical for all of these parties to meet and strategize to effect change in the community.

Safer use of mobile devices by young people will be the focus of a Mobile Safety Summit on Wednesday, March 16 involving students, policymakers, educators and members of the industry. The event will take place on Pace University’s campus in Pleasantville. Pace’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems is collaborating with the WiredSafety organization and its executive director, Parry Aftab, a leading international cyber safety expert.

The summit will focus on students and educators. The Verizon Foundation is providing a $15,000 grant to help bring information and awareness on mobile safety and cyber bullying to high school and college students, and to spread these concerns to adults who can act on them. The summit will help define the issues of mobile safety from students’ perspectives. Findings and ideas from this interactive discussion will be shared with key industry professionals, policymakers, parents, and school leaders.

Panels and breakout sessions will encourage participants to frame an action plan for moving forward on best practices in mobile safety.  More information is available at http://seidenberg.pace.edu/cybersafety.

NEWS RELEASE: Sexting and Cyberbullying Among Topics at Summit March 16

A news conference will be held Friday, January 28, when Verizon officially presents a grant at 3:30 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room of Choate House on the Pleasantville Campus.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Safe use of mobile devices for young people to be advocated
at summit for students, educators, industry, policymakers

Sexting, cyberbullying, distracted driving
among topics at event in Pleasantville March 16

Partnership of Pace University and WiredSafety will challenge leaders to adopt best practices

PLEASANTVILLE, NY, January 25, 2010 – Safer use of mobile devices by young people will be the focus of a Mobile Safety Summit which will include challenges from students and educators to policymakers and the mobile device industry.

The event will take place on Pace University’s campus in Pleasantville, New York, on March 16.

The University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems is once again collaborating with the WiredSafety organization and its executive director, Parry Aftab, a leading international cybersafety expert. The Verizon Foundation is partially funding the events. The partners held a previous gathering on cyberbullying in 2008.

“Cyberbullying, sexting, and distracted driving are impacting youth, and solutions must include youth voices to be effective,” ” Aftab said. “This summit will bring educators and young people together with the industry, experts, and policymakers for a common goal – creating safer, well-designed, and innovative mobile offerings for everyone.”

Panels and breakout sessions will encourage participants to frame an action plan for moving forward on the best practices in mobile safety.

Additional details will be made available at a news conference Friday, January 28, when Verizon officially presents its grant at 3:30 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room of Choate House on the Pleasantville Campus. Entrance 3, 861 Bedford Road. Media admission by press pass.

News conference participants will include Aftab and Nancy Hale, PhD., the Pace professor of information technology who is co-organizing the conference, as well as Constance Knapp, PhD, acting dean of the Seidenberg School, and Catherine Gasteyer, Verizon’s director of government and external affairs for mid-state New York.

More information is available here.

Youth perspectives

The summit will concentrate on students and educators. The Verizon Foundation is providing a $15,000 grant to help bring information and awareness on mobile safety and cyberbullying to high school and college students, and to spread their concerns to adults who can act on them.

The session will help define the issues of mobile safety from students’ perspectives.

Media welcome. Contact Cara Cea, 914-906-9680 if planning to attend.

Groundbreaking concerns

“WiredSafety and I are excited about partnering again with Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems,” said Aftab. “In these areas the Seidenberg students, administration, and professors are among the world’s best. Our last collaboration, the International Cyberbullying Summit in 2008, was the first of its kind. With the growth of mobile devices, technologies and apps, we expect this mobile innovation, safety, and best practices event will be just as groundbreaking.”

“Verizon has a long-standing commitment to internet safety,” said Gasteyer. “We serve millions of broadband customers through our wireless and wired networks. As such, we are committed to protecting children and young people online, and making sure the Internet is safe, educational, and fun for them. This grant is a good fit for Verizon, and we are proud to work with Pace University for a second time to empower educators, parents, and children on this front.”

“We are grateful to the Verizon Foundation for this grant that will let us offer a vital community resource and formulate a best practice model for keeping young people safe,” Hale said.

About Pace and the Seidenberg School

Inherent in The Seidenberg School’s activities and services to students, businesses, and the community is the belief that information technologies are tools for the empowerment of people. Established in 1983, Seidenberg is the youngest school within Pace University. Its mission is to prepare men and women for professional work, research, and lifelong participation in a new and dynamic information age. The school offers a student-oriented environment; small classes; committed teaching; research with professors; innovative programs, projects, and partnerships; and convenient multi-campus locations in New York City and Westchester County as well as online courses and programs.

About Wired Safety

WiredSafety.org is the world’s oldest digital safety group, providing education, information, and one-to-one help for consumers. Its StopCyberbullying.org website is the most popular cyberbullying prevention website in the world and helps inform young people, parents, community organizations, educators, the industry, policymakers, and law enforcement about the issue affecting more than two thirds of US teens. WiredSafety.org is one of five members of Facebook’s International Safety Advisory Board, is a member of the advisory board for MTV’s cyberharassment initiative, AThinLine.org, and created the Girl Scouts of the USA’s cybersafety program, lmk.girlscouts.org. WiredSafety’s executive director, Parry Aftab, is a digital privacy and security lawyer and author, and the recipient of the latest FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award, which will be presented in March 2011.

Contacts:
Parry Aftab, WiredSafety, 201-463-8663, parry@aftab.com
Chris Cory, Pace media relations, 212-346-1117, cell 917-608-8164, ccory@pace.edu