New Brunswick 7th Graders Take National TextED Web Safety Course
Junior high students in New Brunswick are taking an online, soon-to-be national course about practicing safe texts.
More than 250 Grade 7 classes across Canada have signed up for TextED, an interactive website that teaches texting safety and encourages children to become aware of texting risks such as harassment and bullying.
The project was developed with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.
TextED Course Curricula
TextED uses guides and quizzes to warns children of the risks of sending texts without thinking them through. Texts can be forwarded to others, and if they write something hurtful about someone, it could end up in front of the wrong set of eyes.
It actually talks about healthy relationships, it talks about sharing too much information online, it talks about what a true friend can be,” said Jared Mallard, a Grade 7 teacher at Bliss Carman Middle School in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Other more dangerous risks include text bullying and sexting. A survey of almost 1300 teens found that 1 in 5 teens have sexted - sent sexual content by text, either words, links, videos, photos, or a combination.
Legal Consequences of Unsafe Texting
Last year, Phillip Alpert of Orlando, Florida forwarded a naked photo of his 16-year-old girlfriend to her friends and family after the two had an argument.
Alpert had just turned 18 and was charged with sending child pornography. He will be on the list of registered sex offenders until he is 43.
Some people don't realize that their text messages can be forwarded to other people, so they just write things and then realize afterwards that it backfires," said Cassie Costello, one of Mallard’s students.
Other cases include one from Pennsylvania in which 6 teens were charged as juveniles with possession of child pornography when 3 underage girls sent nude photos of themselves to 3 underage boys.
In Ohio, a 13-year-old boy taped a sex act and showed it to his friends. He now faces felony charges of pandering obscenities.
Safe Texting Course in Canadian Classrooms
If successful, the program could be implemented in all Grade 7 classes in Canada, although parents at Bliss Carman Middle School feel it should be added to Grade 5 classrooms, which is when most kids get cell phones.
Mallard’s students are applying the dangers of texting to other media such as Facebook. They’re working on a film about a girl who shares her Facebook password with her boyfriend, who hacks in and sends threatening messages to people on her friends list.
Mallard hopes the film will become a part of the TextED program and encourage parents to become more involved in texting—and learn suspicious acronyms that their kids may use.
- CD9 – Code 9 (Parents Are Around)
- GNOC – Get Naked On Cam
- GYPO – Get Your Pants Off
- IWSN – I Want Sex Now
- J/O – Jerking Off
- KPC – Keeping Parents Clueless
- LMIRL – Let’s Meet In Real Life
- MOS – Mom Over Shoulder
- MPFB – My Personal F*** Buddy
- NIFOC – Nude In Front Of The Computer
- P911 – Parent Alert
- PAL/PAW – Parents Are Listing/Parents Are Watching
- PIR – Parents In Room
- POS – Parents Over Shoulder
- RUH – Are You Horny?