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This week's safe schools snippets

Schools add Internet etiquette, safety to coursework

As more students spend large chunks of study and leisure time online, schools across the USA are adding coursework focused on privacy, cyberbullying and electronic plagiarism.

Many schools not only are incorporating Internet safety into lesson plans but also shifting their focus from the pervasive “stranger danger” message typically given to young computer users. Read more in USA Today.

How to bully-proof young girls

Sugar and spice and everything nice. That’s what little girls are made of, right? Well, not exactly, it seems. Bullying and nasty cliques start as early as elementary school, says Michelle Anthony, a developmental psychologist and the co-author of Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades (St. Martin’s Griffin). Anthony and her co-author, Reyna Lindert, have developed a helpful technique for parents to employ. In brief, they advise observing the social situation, connecting with the child and guiding the child to the point that she is supported in her actions. TIME senior reporter Andrea Sachs spoke with Anthony about their research and conclusions.

Bullies use sexual taunts to hurt teen girls

In a sobering echo of earlier teen suicides, a 10-year-old Illinois girl took her life Nov. 11 after allegedly experiencing two years of bullying at school. And although Ashlynn Conner was just in fifth grade, her mother says her peers taunted her by calling her a slut. Read more in Live Science.

Loss of funding quiets safety message in Jeffco Schools

When tragedy strikes — as in a recent car crash in Wheat Ridge that claimed the lives of two teens and seriously injured two others — Jeffco Schools officials can only bemoan the loss of federal money that once funded the district’s campaigns to curb poor decision-making among its students. Read more in the Denver Post.

Text message bullying becomes more common

A growing number of U.S. kids say they have been picked on via text messaging, while there has been little change in online harassment, researchers reported Monday.

Of more than 1,100 middle school and high school students surveyed in 2008, 24 percent said they had ever been “harassed” by texting. That was up from about 14 percent in a survey of the same kids the year before. Check out this Fox News report.

Wireless, tech giants to start rating apps

Wireless and high-tech giants will announce Tuesday a ratings system for mobile apps to warn families about smartphone and tablet software that contain violent and other mature content.

AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless will be the first companies to adopt a standard ratings system modeled after one used by video game makers, according to wireless trade group CTIA. Read more in the Washington Post.

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