Parents Beware: School Cyber-Misbehavior Can Mean Suspension

McAfee Offers Back-to-School Tips for Promoting Good Online Behavior

ATLANTA., – August 11, 2011 – The explosion of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers has raised a new concern for parents as they pack their children off to school for the New Year: potential disciplinary action by school administrators for cyberbullying, sexting and other online misbehavior taking place on school grounds.

In the past few years, many states have enacted laws authorizing schools to suspend students for cyber-misconduct, and schools from coast to coast have responded aggressively to student abuse of online privileges. For example:

  • In January 2010, 28 middle school students in Seattle were suspended for joining a Facebook page dedicated to harassing one of their classmates.

  • In February 2011, a 15-year-old student in California was suspended for offensive Facebook comments about his biology teacher.

  • In April 2011, 10 junior high school students in Arkansas were suspended for sending sexually explicit text messages.

“Schools are imposing harsh punishments for cruel, sexual or otherwise objectionable online behavior, not only because it has led to tragedies like the widely publicized 2006 suicide of Megan Meier but also because of concerns about the school’s own liability,” said Shane Kenny, McAfee director of sales and marketing. “Parents need to be as aware of these issues as they are of threats like stranger danger and the wrong choice of friends.”

Kenny recommends that parents take three steps to prevent school discipline against their children for inappropriate online activities:

  • Determine the school district’s policies for dealing with online attacks against fellow students, teachers and/or staff.

  • Discuss those policies with children and warn them that they will face punishment at home as well as at school if they violate the rules.

  • Require adherence to the same rules at home to ensure consistency, lessen the likelihood of problems like cyberbullying at school, and help children become good online citizens.

McAfee® Safe Eyes® parental control software can assist in the effort to discourage unacceptable online behavior by tracking children’s browsing habits, documenting blocked pages that children have attempted to access, and flagging expletives and sexually suggestive comments made on children’s social network pages. Parents can use Safe Eyes software usage reports and alerts to help detect and resolve problematic online behavior before it spills over into the school environment.

The Safe Eyes platform is available for PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch, and supports all Internet browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer. A $49.95 Safe Eyes software annual subscription covers up to three Mac and/or PC computers with the ability to customize settings for each child and enforce them on any machine. Safe Eyes Mobile software for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch is available separately for $19.95 at the Apple iTunes store.

About McAfee
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), is the world's largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, browse and shop the Web more securely. Backed by its unrivaled Global Threat Intelligence, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security. McAfee is relentlessly focused on constantly finding new ways to keep our customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com

NOTE: McAfee and Safe Eyes are registered trademarks or trademarks of McAfee, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other marks may be claimed as the property of others. The product plans, specifications, and descriptions herein are provided for information only and are subject to change without notice, and are provided without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied.

McAfee
Kim Eichorn, (408) 346-3606
kim_eichorn@mcafee.com
or
SS│PR
Molly Antos, (847) 415-9327
mantos@sspr.com