Saturday, March 13, 2010

Meet the e-Thugs

Remember Nelson Muntz from “The Simpsons”? He’s the bully with the simian brow and Cro-Magnon build. In many ways, he represents the stereotypical bully in our collective consciousness – physically intimidating, not very bright, and a social outcast. Recent studies, however, have found that most bullies – boys and girls – are self-assured, often popular kids that crave power, and who will use just about any means to secure and flaunt it. The Internet and cell phones have become frequently used venues in which to conduct aggressive behavior, and many schools struggle with how to effectively combat online bullying.

CyberSmart! is one organization that “gets it.” While their mission is to promote 21st century skills to increase student engagement and prepare them to succeed in an increasingly digital-centric society, CyberSmart! also addresses the importance of students’ personal safety and emotional well-being. Instead of trumpeting the dangers of the Internet and pulling out tired platitudes to “ignore the teasing”, they’ve developed a series of lessons and activities for K-12 students that aim to educate and empower kids when facing both traditional and digital forms of aggression. Also impressive are the supporting materials for each lesson: Student activity sheets, letters to educators about cyberbullying, downloadable home connections with topics for parents to discuss with their kids, extension activities, and optional Web 2.0 tools to further supplement the lessons. Each lesson is also aligned to the National Educational Technology Standards for Students. Bullying is a huge problem that needs more attention, and the materials from CyberSmart! are a definite step in the right direction. Huzzahs all around!

Group Think
Subjects: Bullying, Internet safety
Grade: 4-5

In this lesson, students learn how “mob mentality” can sometimes take over and drive certain situations. Afraid of upsetting the group’s balance (or becoming a target themselves), individuals suppress their own doubts or emotions, and “go along to get along.” Students here analyze the role of bystanders in bullying situations, and discuss how sometimes kids behave differently in groups than if they were alone.

Cyberbullying: Not a Pretty Picture
Subjects: Bullying, Internet safety
Grade: 6-8

Bullying via computers and cell phones has escalated in recent years, with cell phones rapidly becoming the weapon of choice. In this lesson, students discuss scenarios in which a friendly relationship turns into a bullying one. They also identify and note abbreviations and other textual clues to help reduce cyberbullying.

Acceptable Social Networking?
Subjects: Bullying, Internet safety
Grade: 9-12

MySpace might be dead, but social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are thriving. In this lesson, students consider situations where one student creates a fake online identity in order to seek revenge or harass another student. Students discuss ways to resolve such situations, and brainstorm tips to help other teens avoid similar situations.

~Joann's Picks~

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading our blog! We are so glad you are joining in the discussion.