Welcome to the CyberCompass website. 

The CyberCompass initiative is a townwide response to the unprecedented advancements in technology that have a significant impact on the lives of West Hartford’s children and their families.  The mission of the CyberCompass committee, comprised of parents and educators, is to maintain ongoing programs and resources dedicated to keeping kids safe in a wired world. This website serves as a clearinghouse of resources for parents, educators and children to turn to in their efforts to educate themselves, to raise awareness of the advantages and dangers associated with the use of diverse technologies, and to provide age and educationally appropriate guidelines to maximize instruction and prevent children from being harmed in a 24/7 connected world. 



5 Essential Facts of Digital Life
  • Kids are the creators. It’s all about participating, communicating, making music, images, videos, and posting written content. And the content that’s there? Kids must be able to know if it’s credible or not.

  • Everything happens in front of a vast, invisible, and often anonymous audience.

  • Once something is out there, it doesn't go away. Everything leaves a digital footprint.

  • Information cannot be controlled. Anything can be copied, changed, and shared instantly.

  • Distance and anonymity separate actions and consequences. Kids think they can get away with unethical or unacceptable behavior because they don’t see immediate consequences. by Common Sense Media

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR TEEN FOR 21ST-CENTURY CHALLENGES

Model it: Compassion is largely learned, so be aware of how you act around your children. How did you respond to the request for money from that panhandler on the street?  What comment did you make behind his back, in the presence of your kid? What did you say about that idiot driver who just cut you off in traffic? Your teens are watching and listening.

Notice it: Point out examples of compassion that occur around you. It comes in many forms. Relevant to our daily lives are the people who quietly, and without recognition, help others in need, including volunteers of all types. Make a game of identifying instances of compassionate deeds you've witnessed.

Teach it: Compassion has to be taught, so be prepared to provide direct instruction on how your teen needs to think and act in order to develop that quality. One important component empathy. If your teens can’t see things from another’s perspective, it is difficult for them to appreciate what that person is going through. Help them learn to walk a mile in their shoes.


Anticipate it: Character can be fostered by projecting moral strength into their future. In this way, you will be subtly shaping the adult they are working to become. Say things like: “By the time you’re an adult, you will be such a person of strong character. That’ll be really cool.”


Guilt it: A personal value system serves as a means of accountability to oneself (and your family and community). This begins with the value system parents promote in their kids. If they fulfill the promise of personal values it is a source of justifiable pride. Violating personal values should result in guilt for not doing what’s right and shame for letting other people down. Parents need to help their kids along with this.


Repeat it: Once is not enough when it comes to character. Find every opportunity to work it into the conversation. Using all of the strategies mentioned above, you will be able to work character issues into every possible situation in a remarkably diverse number of ways. You need to have mentioned character so often – at least once every couple of days – and in so many different forms that they are sick of hearing about it by the time they graduate from high school. 


Social Networking and Community


Take the Test! 


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News this week....

SaferOnline - Microsoft launched the safer online site to spread the word about online safety and encourage people to "Do 1 Thing" to help make the internet a safer place 

Cyber Streetwise is a site developed for the purpose of sharing tips and techniques for protecting your identity and your electronic devices. The site is set-up as digital street that you walk along to learn about protecting your electronic devices, your identity, and digital footprint. 

What is a digital tattoo? In short, it is your digital identity. Just like a tattoo, your digital reputation is an expression of yourself. Read more...


Young people and social media: Docs examine pitfalls(CNN) -- They're called "Generation M2": highly tech-savvy children ages 8 to 18, whose lives are immersed in electronic media.

Get to Know "Google: Good to Know" - Google offers an entire curriculum for students across the grade spectrum, and is an excellent resource for staff and parent training.

Students' social media profiles hurt college admissions - his year, 35% of college admissions officials who responded to a survey said they discovered something on students' social media profiles that negatively affected their admissions to college -- up from 12% who reported similar findings last year.

New Bullying Site released - The best weapon against this problem is awareness. This website is aimed at students around 10-14 years of age, as it is at this age that most children are affected. Students direct themselves on an interactive journey through a detective’s office to learn more about cyber-bullying  These young teenagers get to hunt and explore their way through a fun website uncovering clues and information about cyber-bullying and how to recognize what to do.