Posts in Category "Internet Safety"

January 8, 2013

Hey Dad, What is a JPEG?


In the process of parenting two kids and growing as an Adobe Education Leader each new year, I realize I have a responsibility as a dad to help my own kids grow into the 21st century.   It has been comforting for me and for them to come home after school, telling me with excitement about what they have been learning in their internet safety program at school.  I bring up with them about naming files and organizing their assets with computer folders.  They tell me about learning about this already.  I have moments of feeling humbled and surprised by how much they are learning at school.  I decided as a dad to get involved from the beginning, teaching them computer literacy skills.  The idea is for my kids not to notice that dad has now just shown up in their  technology world.  I don’t want them to have this experience of a sudden jolt of dad looking over their shoulder.  I have decided to sit down with my kids once a week, becoming a guide and coach for them, having them identify with me as a helper.  I have introduced and working with both of my kids on these programs and skills:


Photography: (Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Photoshop, Bridge) – Downloading Pictures, Scale and File Type and Naming, Organizing Their Assets, Importance of Metadata, Photo Safety and Appropriateness).

Video: (Adobe Premier Elements) – Downloading Video, File Size, Video Output, Formats for Publishing, Video Safety and Appropriateness, Editing).

Email and File Storage: (Google Applications, Creative Cloud) – Filtering, Folders, Naming, and Search.

Presentations: (Microsoft Powerpoint, Adobe Presenter 8, Adobe Connect) – Lighting, Webcam, Recordings, Slide Creating, Importance of Audio Setup, Audio and Video Integration.

Website: (Google Sites): URL’s, Tables, Photo Scaling, Uploading, Organizing Assets, Color.

Social Networking: They are not old enough to have their own Facebook Account

Mobile: (Adobe Collage, Adobe Connect Mobile, Adobe Photoshop Touch, Adobe Ideas).

My vision and hope is by teaching them basic and more advanced skills of Digital Photography, Video, Asset Management, Emailing and Texting, Online Presentation and Website Development is that when it is age appropriate for them to have their own mobile devices and have access to social networks that they will be leaders amongst their peers, helping educate others what is safe and appropriate, and becoming very skilled for their own future.



Dave Forrester

Connect Shaman


8:37 PM Permalink
July 11, 2011



There is a dark side to our digital world and it is called cyber-bullying. Our intervention is required.

Cyber-bullying is lethal but I did not appreciate the depths of this reality until I looked it in the face and saw the upset and nightmares it creates. I had read the articles about cyber-bullying. I had watched a video. I thought I was aware but I was wrong. It was only when it faced me directly, when one of my students was taken down that horrible path, that I fully understood what it is and why it must be addressed. It is the dark side of our digital world.

The student in question is a very quiet, intelligent, accomplished person, with wonderful friends and a bright clear future. When this student was away for many classes, I worried. The Guidance department then sent out a note to the student’s teachers explaining that medical issues prevented this young person from attending school and since it was near the end of the year would we each please contact mom and help the student to complete the year successfully, understanding that the student was not capable of doing everything normally at least for the time being.

I called mom – and learned the horrible truth. Her child had been the victim of a vicious cyber-bullying attack. This wonderful, quiet, young person was talking about suicide. Not as a “drama queen/king”, but quietly, intelligently… and that is when mom and dad sought emergency counselling and started round-the-clock care so their child would never be alone. When I was on the phone with mom she completely broke down. She was in tears, I had tears running down my face, and it suddenly was all too real. When I suggest that “lethal” is the only word to describe cyber-bullying, I truly mean it.

When I called mom I had a game plan in mind. I do house calls. I don’t do them very often, and I always have parental permission before I “drop in” and it occurred to me that this was the time for one of those visits – if the student could not come to me then I would go to them and the family agreed to this. It is very difficult to explain what it is like to see a warm, caring young person who used to look so good now looking like they were in Hell, but that’s what faced me. I said I was there to provide support and to show that their child meant the world to me. I didn’t care about the academics – they had a fabulous track record in my class and further work was not needed. I had taken the time to come over to prove that this teenager was a very important person and had every reason to live. That was why mom allowed me to come over. That was my whole message. The visit lasted about an hour. There were warm hugs all round, many tears were wept, some anger was vented, some details were shared. And I learned at point blank range just how destructive and horrible cyber-bullying is. Not “can be”, not “could be”… “is.” Period.

Teens don’t have a lot of inner resources with which to deal with life’s challenges and their executive function – well – it’s just not at an “executive” level yet. They depend heavily on their friends and peers for their identities and the internet is a large part of this. Watch some teens on their phones and you’ll see how distraught they become when they miss part of an online texting conversation. Not all teens do this at this level, but many do, and cyber-bullying preys on that vulnerability and dependence.
We do amazing things with amazing kids and it is a privilege and an honour to be a part of their world. Being allowed into someone’s home is an even greater honour and for that I offer a heartfelt thanks to that family. Thank you for letting me in. I am glad I could help in some small way. Like the title says, there is a dark side to our digital world and we must address it directly. It is time to create a curriculum that helps to undo the dark side. Please send your thoughts and comments – I would like to hear what you are doing in this regard.

Fortunately, there is also a bright side to our digital world. It is called student success. Here are a few examples from my past year of teaching.

Working in multimedia is wonderful and each year there are moments when we see kids succeed in ways that only these media allow. One young fellow has many learning challenges. Doing academic work is difficult for him. He tries but it’s not usually very successful. He was bailing on all of his classes, including mine… and then he completed his music video. What a breakthrough! He worked with a few friends and put together a movie using Premier Elements 9.0 and suddenly the storyteller that is locked away inside this young man was revealed. The video was far from perfect but it was a fabulous statement from him. I love Premier Elements because it does so much and is so accessible. Another student worked with her partner to tell the story of a monster that stole people’s dreams. Hours and hours of filming and scripting and editing (again in Premier Elements 9.0) finally came together in their labour of love. They were justifiably proud of their accomplishment. Over and over again I watched students tell stories and comment on their lives through the videos and posters they were making. The power of multimedia was very much in evidence all around my classroom lab. It was a joy to see the tools of our trade being used to create healthy, productive projects. As I look back on the year I was reminded that most kids in most situations do indeed do the right thing. When I was dealing with the cyber-bullying situation I needed to remember this.

My year ended on a strong up note when the bullied student showed up at school on report card day (they were back!!!) to say a very warm and deeply felt, thank you. It doesn’t get any better than that. I hope your year has been as warm and nurturing.

6:37 PM Permalink
February 13, 2009

Stop Cyberbullying and a Few Reflections

On February 25th, in Washington, DC, WiredSafety will host the 9th annual Wired Kids Summit. It’s a day where the kids are the stars. They present awards to their favorite web sites that entertain, educate, and keep kids safe. They present research they have done as part of their Teenangels and Tweenangels training. They are on stage and the industry leaders, law enforcement, policy makers, and other adults are the audience.
This year we will be launching our Free Stop Cyberbullying tool kit. It is a soup to nuts resource collection to help schools and parents deal with a situation that is growing daily.
Our informal surveys of more than 45,000 students indicate that 85% of them have experienced or been involved in some form of online bullying in the last year. Yet only 5% of them have made their parents aware of it.
I’ve just put the finishing touches on the professional development portion of the tool kit and there is no way I could have come close to developing this material without Adobe support and software.
The professional development is unique in that it is not add-on curriculum. It is Web 2.0 training with ideas and resources for fighting cyberbullying woven throughout the lessons and activities that will help teachers and students achieve a wide range of national standards.
Rather than simply creating a written manual, Adobe Presenter allowed me to create and include nineteen different multimedia presentations that make the content come alive. But if reading is your thing, Presenter allowed me to include the text of the presentation as searchable notes.
When it came to creating tutorials on making and using blogs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, Adobe Captivate 4 allowed me to make ten video tutorials that show teachers the step by step processes.
Needless to say, we used Acrobat to create PDF files throughout the tool kit, and dozens of our WiredSafety videos, animations, and games that are included throughout the product were created with Flash and other Adobe tools.
Finally, I used DreamWeaver to package my material and send it off to be included in the final product that we will announce at the Summit.
This all started seven years ago, as part of a state grant program that funded twenty-one projects to improve reading and writing with technology. I was mentoring in the Atlantic City School District.
The grant required teachers to create a web site to document and disseminate their work. I had been using a program called 3DWriter, which I had developed just for teachers, and was having good success. Then, Marilyn Cohen, the visionary Technology Director of the district asked me to take a look at Macromedia Contribute. After examining it for about 30 minutes, I was sold. The teachers took to it like ducks to water. By the end of the year they had created more content than any of the other twenty grant programs.
The amazing work those teachers did with Contribute, helped me become a Macromedia Education Leader (MEL), and gain the support of a great company and a dynamic group of educators.
A few years later Adobe acquired Macromedia and the MEL’s met the Adobe Master Teachers. The merging of the two groups into the Adobe Education Leader (AEL) family created the most amazing and dynamic group of educators I have ever come across.
The support offered by Adobe and my fellow AEL’s has been exhilarating and nothing short of life changing for me. I’m sure it has had the same effect on many of my colleagues and teachers throughout the world.
Thanks, Marilyn, for introducing me to Contribute and thanks, Adobe, for all you do for me and my colleagues around the globe!

7:16 AM Permalink
November 2, 2008

Cyberbullying Toolkit is in the process of developing a Cyberbullying Toolkit for schools that will contain resources of all types including policy, risk assessment, video, animations, games and classroom lessons.
Most if the material in the tool kit has been developed using Adobe Presenter, Acrobat, Director, and Flash.
Thanks to the generosity and support of Adobe and others, the toolkit will be available FREE to anyone.
I use Moodle as a cyber sandbox for testing. If you would like an advanced peek at a few of the activities that will be in the toolkit, you can visit the sandbox using the following guest login.
Go to
Username: toolkit
Password: wiredsafety
There is a feedback forum. Your questions, comments, and suggestions are appreciated.
If you would like to be notified when the toolkit is available, just send an email to art at wiredsafety dot com.

10:17 AM Permalink
September 21, 2008

BFF or Worst Enemy

bff.JPGWe tell our children not to share personal information online. That’s the right message, but often we are giving it for the wrong reason. Adults often think that sharing personal information is an invitation to predators. While that my have some truth, research shows that predators don’t use that information to track down victims. It also shows that kids who want to avoid predators generally do so and handle online strangers appropriately.
So if we are giving the right message for the wrong reason, what is the right reason? The reason for not sharing too much information is actually something that children can relate to and accept than the stranger danger message. Sharing too much information can lead increases in cyberbullying, trouble with friends, trouble with school officials, trouble with college acceptance, or trouble with future employers, not to mention trouble with the parents of boy friends or girl friends.
For an activity that you can do with your children or conduct with your class visit “Put Your Best Foot Forward”, one of my Adobe Presenter, Cyber Safety through Information Literacy lessons at WiredSafety.
But there is another part to this important message that is often overlooked. Sometimes your best friend forever (BFF) can be your worst enemy. You might be safe and not share personal information, but that’s not enough. You have to make your friends aware for the dangers of sharing and make sure they don’t share any of YOUR personal information.
This Flash animation illustrates my point. It may be a little over the top, but we produced it with our tongue planted firmly in our collective cheeks. You can also download the essence of this blog and the animation in PDF format as a message you can present to teens to help make them Cyber Safe and Information Literate!

7:18 AM Permalink
September 15, 2008

Flash aids Internet Safety

Safe Fifer is a multi-agency child safety event, held in Scotland, supported by Fife Constabulary, Fife Fire and Rescue Service and several other agencies and businesses. The event, which attracts several thousand school children from across the Fife area, is intended to drive home safety messages in a variety of important safety areas.
Safe Fifer presentation
This year, one important consideration was the increasing problem of online child safety, and in particular the dangers of posting information publicly on social networking sites. To help deliver the safety message Fife constabulary enlisted the help of local college students and staff to create an interactive presentation about using social networks.
Colin Maxwell, lecturer at Carnegie College, said “The local police wanted an interactive and engaging way of warning school children about posting information publicly on social networking sites. They wanted a simulation of a social network site that was interactive and could incorporate video. The best choice of software for constructing this was Adobe Flash, as it was easy to make graphics, add video and create interactivity”.
Schools and communities Officer, Police Constable Shirley Steele, said “It was great working with the students and their lecturer Colin Maxwell…they were able to provide us with professionally designed software along with input from a younger person’s perspective”.
The safety message will be extended to high school pupils over the forthcoming months as PC Steele has joined forces with Anne Deas of Fife Education Service to train school teachers to deliver the material.
Part of the presentation consists of a video developed by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which can be seen on Youtube.

1:10 PM Permalink
August 23, 2008

Sydney Safe Seeker – Internet Safety Game

sydney1.JPGSo far I’ve given you two interactive Flash activities to help you begin “the talk” about sexual predators with your children and I promised to give you a preview of a game we are creating to measure a child’s vulnerability to the ten ploys used by sexual predators.
The game was created by our partner charity, the Child Safety Research and Innovation Center and is called Sydney Safe-Seeker and the Incredible Journey Home. It’s actually suite of products focused on “Street Proofing” the child. The core of the package is the game which was created using Adobe Director, but it includes record keeps, lessons, activity sheets, and other material.
Designed for ages 5-10, it’s a role-playing adventure style game with numerous interactions that lead up to a potentially unsafe situation. Sydney and his friends are sucked through a worm hole and have to find four warp stoned in order to come home. During their journey th4e children are asked to make decisions based on game scenes that were developed to mirror real and sometimes dangerous situations.
As they play the game audio and video feedback help teach them about the wisdom of their decisions. As the same time their actions are being tracked and can later be reported to teachers or parents. Their actions determine which ploys and to what extent children are vulnerable to predators.
The value of this initiative is twofold: first, it teaches young children to incorporate street proofing into their daily lives, giving them an essential skill, which will protect them and the children they play with and second, it provides all of the community stakeholders around the child with the best safety practices to convey to children as well as materials and supplementary resources to help these caregivers and safety professionals convey these messages.
Here are just a few snips from the game.

8:59 AM Permalink
August 12, 2008

Ten Ploys Used by Online Sexual Predators

onlinepredators.JPGIn my last blog I showed you the ten ploys face to face predators use to lure children. Today I’m going to provide you with a Flash animation that shows how these same ten ploys work online.
Remember the online sexual predator picture as portrayed by the press is over stated. Predators don’t usually hide their age or the purpose of meetings. Children go knowingly and willingly.
It is really only a small segment of the teen population that is at risk. They are the teens who would be at risk off line. Often they are sexually active and have a lot of issues in their lives.
However, a small percentage of that small percentage are youth who are groomed a lured into meetings without knowing they are in for trouble. Whether it is off line or online, this can be prevented by having frank talks with your children about predators and how they work.
Here’s the Flash animation of The Ten Ploys Sexual Predators Use Online. If you would like to download and send this blog and animation to someone as an Acrobat 9 PDF Right-click here and save the file or link to your computer.
In my next blog, I’ll give you a preview of Sydney Safe Seaker, the video game that measures a child’s susceptibility to the ten ploys used by sexual predators.

7:10 AM Permalink
August 5, 2008

Ten Ploys of Offline Sexual Predators

As they say, the best laid plans of mice and men…
This entry is actually the first of two entries, but I created it a week ago and forgot to publish it. The second entry was published a few hours ago. So I guess today will be a double header.
sydney.JPG Sexual predators use specific ploys to ensnare their victims. Later this year, the Child Safety Research and Innovation Center (CSRIC), a Canadian online safety charity, will be releasing an adventure game aimed at elementary school children.
Sydney Safe-Seeker and the Incredible Journey Home multimedia game provides an interactive exploratory environment where the children ages 5 – 10 are asked to make decisions based on game scenes that were developed to mirror real and sometimes dangerous situations. The game actually measures and reports back to teachers and parents the vulnerability of the child to ten different ploys used by sexual predators.
In addition to measuring and reporting, the game develops safe habits through the use of prompts and feedback during the course of the game. The more the child plays, the more they learn about safety.
Here’s an
interactive animation
that was created using characters from the game. It will provide you with information about the ten ploys used by face to face predators.
Thanks to Adobe Acrobat 9, multimedia can now be embedded in the PDF. If you would like this blog and animation in PDF format that you can send to others, just right-click here and select Save File As… or Save Link As…

11:22 AM Permalink
July 30, 2008

Having “The Talk” with Your Teen

Ok, it’s time for you to have “the talk” with your teen. No, no… I don’t mean THAT talk. I mean the talk about Internet safety. But having this talk is often more uncomfortable to the parent or the teacher than the birds and the bees talk, because in the case of technology, the teens know more than the parents.
You may have been paying close attention to the media messages about online predators and have carefully prepared yourself with all of the stories about their deceptions. Then when you have the talk, your children are likely to listen dutifully and promise to be careful, or they will roll their eyes and say, “Duh… Iike I’ve heard this a million times before. I AM careful online.”
The media message about the dangers of the Internet is one based on the need to capture eyeballs and increase the bottom line, not the need to educate or keep people safe. While the danger is real, media picture of the predator and victim is not accurate. I would like to try change that situation by providing you with information based on the latest scientific research and tens of thousands of conversations I’ve had with teens in my role as a technology teacher for more than a quarter century and as the Educational Technology Director of, the world’s largest Internet safety and help organization.
Each time I blog here, I will try to provide you with information and resources that will help you get the dialog going in painless ways. I’ll provide personal insights, stories, or facts based on solid research along with some resources created with the help of Adobe products, that you can view and in some case download.
So to get the dialog going, check out this Adobe Presenter presentation about the facts and myths surrounding Internet sexual predators Then check back here for my next post in which I’ll talk about the ten ploys used by offline and online sexual predators.

5:55 PM Permalink