A curriculum guide for teachers—and parents—who want to explore issues of cyberbullying with teens and preteens.
In six thematic lesson plans, each based on an example of a different type of online bullying behavior, Stephens and Nair present background information, discussion questions, and group and individual exercises designed for use in the classroom or an after-school program. The topics include ganging up against one person in an online environment, creating fake social media profiles, misuse of rating websites, and distribution of inappropriate photos and videos. The authors are aware of the fast-changing nature of social media platforms and wisely do not spend much time on the specifics of Facebook, YouTube or other currently popular sites. Instead, they break the incidents down into their individual components, encouraging students to understand the motivations behind inappropriate behavior, identify points at which a situation could be defused instead of escalated, and develop their own strategies for coping before problems arise. Each lesson includes “threat level assessments”; students are instructed to recommend responses to incidents that range from minor annoyances to significant issues. The lessons also include a one- to two-page essay directed at students that provides suggestions for emotional resilience and coping strategies, drawn largely from the work of a bullying and martial arts expert. The book’s format should make it clear to potential readers that it’s not written for a general audience; readers interested in narrative works on cyberbullying should look elsewhere. But the authors understand their target audience and provide all the information necessary for teachers to use a prepackaged curriculum or design their own. Some of the exercises provided are weaker than others, particularly an exploration of genocide included in the chapter on “Haters’ Clubs”; the authors note that it’s “the original text of this document and could not be altered for this workbook,” but it still seems to be stretching the metaphor too far.
A solid foundation to help educators teach young people about appropriate behavior both on- and offline.