New Toolkit for Educators on Cyberbullying, Digital Citizenship
9.21.11 | Common Sense Media has just released a new toolkit on cyberbullying available at no cost to K-12 educators.
The toolkit, part of a comprehensive digital literacy and citizenship initiative Commonsense Media launched last year, offers lesson plans on cyberbullying organized by grade level, as well as parent education materials.
As the materials point out, many educators find themselves thrown into the role of digital referee or security expert without training. Teachers are also called upon to counsel parents worried about their kids behavior and safety online.
The curriculum activities offered here can be a good starting point for conversations with parents and students about digital literacy, including how to be aware of one’s actions in a now much more public sphere and the consequences of one’s behavior, whether virtual or in-person.
Research from Harvard’s Good Play Project about how youth make ethical decisions while interacting online finds that they most often think only of the immediate, individual effects of their actions and much less about the larger community.
The toolkit’s lesson plans and videos include helpful role-playing exercises to get students talking about issues such as how to distinguish between teasing and cyberbullying, and how behaviors sometimes change when young people are in groups. There are even some vignettes from the critically acclaimed television series “Friday Night Lights.”
Experts point out that there’s nothing fundamentally different about the kinds of bullying and harassment that occur in digital spaces. What is different, they say, is that where kids interact has expanded to include online spaces such as Facebook as well as physical sites such as schools and malls.
“Technology is already at the center of our kids’ lives – whether it’s for education, play, or socializing,” James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, said in a release last year. “As a nation, we all have a stake in how our kids grow, develop, and ultimately choose to lead in this digital world we all live in. We have a responsibility to educate kids to become smart digital citizens. Leaders in industry, education, government, and of course, parents must acknowledge the demand for education, and work together to find the resources to make it happen.”
You can find lesson plans on the new cyberbullying toolkit online here.
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