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The Brockton Public Schools
Internet Safety Center

Welcome to the BPS Internet Safety Center. We want to assure you that each BPS student's safety and well-being is of prime concern to the BPS.

The district AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) is currently undergoing updates and modifications to meet the challenges of our new cyberspace-based system of communication. In any given moment, our students and staff can be communicating via electronic systems and devices that were only a dream or a Star-Trek-type gadget a few short years ago:

Instant Messaging     Texting     Email     Blogs   Chat Room   MySpace  

Camera phones   Camcorder   iPhone    
Virtual World     Cyber Bullying

With the advances in technology and communication, comes new challenges to the safety of our students. Many of them, young, naive and trusting, are giving out personal information that can and is being used to hurt them. Our young people are becoming victims of cyberstalkers, Internet predators, peer predators and bullying. Bullying has taken on a whole new genre in the cyberspace realm. Cyber Bullying is still bullying. Only with cyberbullying, often times the bully is unknown or is posing as the victim himself. For Cyberbullying resources, we are referring you to MARC - the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State College. There you will find a plethora of free web resources on Bullying and Cyberbullying. Additional Internet Safety Resources acan be found by clicking HERE.

This web site is designed to inform staff of the dangers of the Internet and of Cyberspace and to provide resources for you and your students to safely peruse the information super, super highway. Click on any of the links on this page for more, in-depth information and resources.

DEFINITIONS

Instant Messaging (often abbreviated simply to IM) offers real-time communication and allows easy collaboration, which might be considered more akin to genuine conversation than email's "letter" format. In contrast to e-mail, the parties know whether the peer is available. Most systems allow the user to set an online status or away message so peers are notified when the user is available, busy, or away from the computer. On the other hand, people are not forced to reply immediately to incoming messages. For this reason, some people consider communication via instant messaging to be less intrusive than communication via phone. However, some systems allow the sending of messages to people not currently logged on (offline messages), thus removing much of the difference between Instant Messaging and email.

Instant Messaging allows instantaneous communication between a number of parties simultaneously, by transmitting information quickly and efficiently, featuring immediate receipt of acknowledgement or reply. In certain cases Instant Messaging involves additional features, which make it even more popular, i.e. to see the other party, e.g. by using web-cams, or to talk directly for free over the Internet.

It is possible to save a conversation for later reference. Instant messages are typically logged in a local message history which closes the gap to the persistent nature of e-mails and facilitates quick exchange of information like URLs or document snippets (which can be unwieldy when communicated via telephone).

Text messaging, or texting is the common term for the sending of "short" (160 characters or fewer) text messages from mobile phones using the Short Message Service (SMS). It is available on most digital mobile phones and some personal digital assistants with on-board wireless telecommunications. The individual messages which are sent are called text messages, or in the more colloquial text speak texts.

SMS gateways exist to connect mobile SMS services with instant message (IM) services, the world wide web, desktop computers, and even landline telephones (through speech synthesis). Devices which can connect to mobile phones and PDAs through protocols such as Bluetooth can also sometimes use that link to send SMS messages over the wireless network. SMS arose as part of the widely deployed GSM protocol, but is now also available with non-GSM systems.

The most common application of the service is person-to-person messaging, but text messages are also often used to interact with automated systems, such as ordering products and services for mobile phones, or participating in contests. There are some services available on the Internet that allow users to send text messages free of direct charge to the sender, although users of all North American networks have to pay to receive any SMS text message(T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon).

Electronic mail, often abbreviated to e-mail, email, or simply mail, is a store-and-forward method of composing, sending, receiving and storing messages over electronic communication systems. The term "e-mail" (as a noun or verb) applies both to the Internet e-mail system based on the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and to X.400 systems, and to intranet systems allowing users within one organization to e-mail each other. Intranets may use the Internet protocols or X.400 protocols for internal e-mail service supporting workgroup collaboration. E-mail is often used to deliver bulk unsolicited messages, or "spam", but filter programs exist which can automatically delete some or most of these, depending on the situation.

A blog (an abridgment of the term web log) is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) are part of a wider network of social media. Micro-blogging is another type of blogging which consists of blogs with very short posts. As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112 million blogs.[1] With the advent of video blogging, the word blog has taken on an even looser meaning of any bit of media wherein the subject expresses his opinion or simply talks about something.

A CHAT ROOM, or chatroom, is a term used primarily by mass media to describe any form of synchronous conferencing, occasionally even asynchronous conferencing. The term can thus mean any technology ranging from real-time online chat over instant messaging and online forums to fully immersive graphical social environments.

Text-based chat

Online chat is a way of communicating by sending text messages to people in the same chat-room in real-time. Some chat rooms such as Yahoo! use both text and voice simultaneously. The oldest form of true chat rooms are the text-based variety. Talkomatic, developed on the PLATO System around 1974, has a strong claim to have been the prototype of the text-only chat room. The most popular of this kind is Internet Relay Chat (IRC). The popularity of these kinds of chat rooms has waned over the years, and IRC's popularity has rapidly given way to instant messaging. Also a notable number of people were introduced to chat rooms from AOL and web chat sites.

There are also graphical user interface (GUI) text-based chat rooms which allow users to select an identifying icon and modify the look of their chat environment.

Visual chat rooms (Active Worlds, Habbo Hotel, There, etc) add graphics to the chat experience, in either 2D or 3D (employing virtual reality technology). These are characterized by using a graphic representation of the user (avatar) that can be moved about a graphic background or in a graphic environment. These virtual worlds are capable of incorporating elements such as games (in particular massively multiplayer online games) and educational material most often developed by individual site owners, who in general are simply more advanced users of the systems. The most popular environments also allow users to create or build their own spaces.

Some visual chat rooms also incorporate audio and video communications, so that users may actually see and hear each other. However, some find these types of environments cumbersome to use and actually an impediment to chatting.

Chat room activities
The primary use of a chat room is to share information via text with a group of other users. New technology has enabled the use of file sharing and webcams to be included in some programs and almost all Internet chat or messaging services allow users to display or send to each other photos of themselves.

Some people who visit chat rooms use them as a place to experience online sex, also known as cybersex or computer love. While not physically able to see their partner, cyber-ers apparently get stimulation by reading x-rated quotes. While many in the media focus on this aspect of chat rooms as it certainly boosts their ratings, it is by no means the only thing chat rooms are used for. While many people engage in "cybersex" for many reasons, it is also true that sexual predators use cybersex conversations as a means of identifying potential victims.

Games are also often played in chat rooms. Historic examples are initgame or Hunt the Wumpus on IRC.

Rules of behavior
Chat rooms usually have stringent rules that they require users to follow in order to maintain integrity and safety for their users. Particularly in rooms for children, rules usually do not allow users to use offensive language, or to promote hate mail, violence and other negative issues. Also chat rooms often do not allow advertising in their rooms or flooding, which is continually filling the screen with repetitive text. Typing with caps lock on is usually considered shouting and is discouraged. Chat rooms usually have a list of rules for users to obey when they chat online though they are not usually kept.

Sometimes chat room venues are moderated either by limiting who is allowed to speak (not common), or by having moderation volunteers patrol the venue watching for disruptive or otherwise undesirable behaviour.

Yet, most commonly used chat rooms are not moderated and users may type what they personally choose to send.

Dangers
As chat rooms are often frequented by children, they can be an avenue for pedophiles to initiate contact with potential victims. Predators will often pose as a child themselves, and attempt to lure children into a face-to-face meeting.[1]

A virtual world is a computer-based simulated environment intended for its users to inhabit and interact via avatars. This habitation usually is represented in the form of two or three-dimensional graphical representations of humanoids (or other graphical or text-based avatars). Most, but not all, virtual worlds allow for multiple users.

The world being computer-simulated typically appears similar to the real world, with real world rules such as gravity, topography, locomotion, real-time actions, and communication. Communication has, until recently, been in the form of text, but now real-time voice communication using VoIP is available. This type of virtual world is now most common in massively multiplayer online games (Active Worlds, ViOS, There, Second Life--although not games, per se, but more like virtual environments that can include gaming--Entropia Universe, The Sims Online, Red Light Center, Kaneva), particularly massively multiplayer online role-playing games such as EverQuest, Ultima Online, Lineage, World of Warcraft, RuneScape, AdventureQuest, or Guild Wars.

MySpace is a social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos internationally. Its headquarters are in Beverly Hills, California, USA,[1] where it shares an office building with its immediate owner, Fox Interactive Media; which is owned by News Corporation, which has its headquarters in New York City.

According to Alexa Internet, MySpace is currently the world's sixth most popular website,[2] and the third most popular website in the United States,[2] though it has topped the chart on various weeks.[3] The service gradually gained more popularity than similar websites to achieve nearly 80% of visits to online social networking websites in 2006.[3] Today its traffic is similar to that of Facebook, a competing social network.[4]

The company employs 300 staff[5] and does not disclose revenues or profits separately from News Corporation. The 100 millionth account was created on August 9, 2006[6] in the Netherlands[7] and a news story claimed 106 million accounts on September 8, 2006,[8] and the site reportedly attracts 230,000 new registrations per day. As of January 2007, there are over 200 million accounts.

The camera phone Over the years there have been many video phones and cameras that include communications technologies. None of them had focused on the integration with the wireless Internet which would allow instant media sharing with anyone anywhere. Such experiments include, for example, a device that was known as the Apple Videophone/PDA in 1995.[4]. There were several digital cameras with cellular phone transmission capability shown by companies such as Kodak, Olympus in the early 90s[5] There was also a digital camera with cellular phone designed by Shosaku Kawashima of Canon in Japan in May 1997.[6]

Camera phones share pictures instantly and automatically via a sharing infrastructure integrated with the carrier network. They do not use connecting cables or removable media to transfer pictures. Personal computer intervention is not necessary. Some camera phones use CMOS image sensors, due largely to reduced power consumption compared to CCD type cameras, which are also used. The lower power consumption prevents the camera from quickly depleting the phone's battery. Images are usually saved in the JPEG file format, and the wireless infrastructure manages the sharing. The sharing infrastructure is critical and explains the early successes of J-Phone and DoCoMo in Japan as well as Sprint and other carriers in the United States and the widespread success worldwide.

Major manufacturers include Sharp, Nokia, Sanyo, Samsung, Motorola, Siemens, Sony Ericsson, and LG Electronics.. The resolution is typically in the megapixel range.

Social impact
While camera phones have been found useful by tourists and for other common civilian purposes, as they are cheap, convenient, and portable; they have also posed controversy, as they enable surreptitious photography. A user may pretend to be simply talking on the phone or browsing the internet, drawing no suspicion, and be able to photograph a person or place illegally or against that person's wishes.

As a network-connected device, megapixel camera phones are playing significant roles in crime prevention, journalism and business applications as well as individual uses. They are also prone to abuse such as voyeurism, invasion of privacy, and copyright infringement. Because they can be used to share media almost immediately, they are a potent personal content creation tool. On January 17th, 2007, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a plan to encourage people to use their camera-phones to capture crimes happening in progress or dangerous situations and send them to emergency responders. Through the program, people will be able to send their images or video directly to 911.[12]

Enforcing bans on camera phones has proven nearly impossible. They are small and numerous and their use is easy to hide or disguise, making it hard for law enforcement and security personnel to detect or stop use.

From time to time, organizations and places have prohibited or restricted the use of camera phones and other cameras because of the privacy, security, and copyright issues they pose. Such places include the Pentagon, federal and state courts,[13] museums, theaters, and local fitness clubs. Schools have banned them over the concern that they could be used to take images of notes that can be used in order to cheat on exams. One country, Saudi Arabia, in April 2004, banned the sale of camera phones nationwide for a time before reallowing their sale in December 2004 (although pilgrims on the Hajj were allowed to bring in camera phones). In South Korea and Japan, all camera phones sold in the country must make a clearly audible sound whenever a picture is taken: These laws are intended to reduce the number of up-skirt photos taken. In Singapore, camera phones are banned at companies or facilities that have an association with national security. In Europe, some BDSM conventions and play parties ban cellphones altogether to prevent camera phone abuse.

There is the occasional anecdote of camera phones linked to industrial espionage and the activities of paparazzi, as well as some hacking into wireless operators' network.

Camera phones have also been used to discreetly take photographs in museums, performance halls, and other places where photography is prohibited. However, as sharing is automatic and instantaneous, even if the action is discovered, it is too late, as the image is already out of reach, unlike a photo taken by a digital camera that only stores images locally for later transfer.

The newer camera phones also support video-clips and sometimes peer-to-peer video calls. Camera phone video and photographs taken in the immediate aftermath of the 2005 London bombings were featured worldwide. CNN executive Jonathan Klein predicts camera phone footage will be increasingly used by news organizations. The ability to immediately share media from anywhere at anytime makes every citizen a potential real-time news-reporter.

Camera phones with video capability have become even more controversial[citation needed] than those that can only take stationary photos. They have opened up a new wave of illegal or otherwise questionable discreet videotaping.[citation needed] For example, on December 30, 2006, the execution of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was filmed by a video camera phone, and made widely available on the Internet. A guard was arrested a few days later.[14]

Laws
Camera phones have brought to light the issue of laws relating to public and private photography. While in general photography is unlikely to pose any legal dilemmas, care should be taken before photographing individuals or private property where permission has not been given.

A camcorder is a portable consumer electronics device for recording video and audio using a built-in recorder unit. The camcorder contains both a video camera and a video recorder in one unit, hence its compound name. This compares to previous technology where an acquisition and recording devices would be separate.

The earliest camcorders, developed by companies such as JVC, Sony, and Kodak, used analog videotape. Since the 1990s recording onto digital tape has become the norm. Starting from early 2000s tape as storage media is being gradually replaced with tape-free solutions like optical disks, hard disk drives and solid-state memory.

All tape-based camcorders have removable media in form of video cassettes. Solid-state camcorders can have either removable media in form of memory cards, or built-in memory, or both. HDD-based camcorders usually have non-removable media in form of a hard disk drive.

Camcorders that do not use magnetic tape are often called tapeless camcorders. Camcorders that use two different types of media, like built-in HDD and memory card, are often called hybrid camcorders.

The iPhone is an Internet-enabled multimedia mobile phone designed and marketed by Apple Inc.. It has a multi-touch screen with virtual keyboard and buttons. The iPhone's functions include those of a camera phone, portable media player (iPod), in addition to text messaging and visual voicemail. It also offers Internet services including e-mail, web browsing, and local Wi-Fi connectivity. It is a quad-band mobile phone that uses the GSM standard, and hence has international capability. It supports the EDGE data technology.

Apple announced the iPhone on January 9, 2007.[16] The announcement was preceded by rumors and speculations that circulated for several months.[17] The iPhone was initially introduced in the United States on June 29, 2007 and is in the process of being introduced worldwide. It was named Time magazine's Invention of the Year in 2007.[18]



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The Brockton Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, veteran’s status, sexual orientation or disability in admission to, access to, treatment in or employment in its programs and activities. 

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