Cyber Bullying: A Prevention Curriculum

The second prevention Toolkit resource to be featured this week is Cyber Bullying: A Prevention Curriculum authored by Susan Limber, Robin Kowalski, and Patricia Agatston.  There are two curricula: the first for Grades 3-5 and the second for Grades 6-12.  Lets take a look a closer look 

As noted on the website, both curricula were designed to:

  • Raise students and parents awareness of what cyber bullying is and why it is so harmful;
  • Equip students with the skills and resources to treat each other respectfully when using cyber technologies;
  • Give students information about how to get help if they, or others they know, are being cyber bullied;
  • Teach students how to use cyber technologies in positive ways.

Each curriculum includes a Program Guide: and a CD-ROM with additional resources:

  • Reproducible parent resources in both English and Spanish;
  • Program posters and all student handouts;
  • Resources to address cyber bulying school wide (school policies, legal concerns, state and federal laws, etc.);
  • A short training on cyber bullying for program facilitators this can be used as either a self-led training, or as part of the Teacher Training Outline.

Both programs fit well within a health education, communications, technology, or general life skills curriculum.  Additionally, a school counselor may offer this program as part of a support group or counseling or education program, and it may be used in after-school, community, youth enrichment (such as YMCA or Scouts), and faith-based programs.  Each of the programs is most effectively used as part of a broader ongoing bullying prevention programs, such as the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, or as part of a general violence prevention effort.

The authors note that this is not a research-based program, but it is based on the latest research in the field of prevention and the topic of cyber bullying.  Many of the lesson activities are patterned after prevention models that research has shown to be effective in decreasing negative student behaviors, while increasing student attitudes toward refraining from negative behaviors (p. 3, Cyber Bullying Scope and Consequences [which can be downloaded from the website]).

Each program costs $99.00 and can be ordered from the website.

Grades 3-5 Curriculum

In this five session program, students follow two upper elementary school students, Texter (he is a text messaging expert) and Internetta (she is internet savvy). These two characters serve as role models as they share their experiences in helping their friends deal with cyber issues, including cyber bullying.  The Program Guide covers the following:

Introductory Materials

  • Introduction to the Curriculum
  • Curriculum Scope and Consequence (can be downloaded from the website)
  • Related National Academic Standards
  • Session Description and Preparation

The Sesssions (each can be completed in 40 minutes)

  • Session 1: What is Bullying?
  • Session 2: What is Cyber Bullying?
  • Session 3: How Does Cyber Bullying Affect People?
  • Session 4: How Do I Treat People Well When I Use Technology?
  • Session 5: What Do I Do if Someone is Mean to Me through Technology?

Each session generally begins with with teacher reading aloud a story about two upper elementary school students (Texter and Internetta), who serve as role models as they share their experiences in helping their friends deal with cyber issues, including cyber bullying.  The teacher then leads the students in a large group discussion.  The second part of each session involves an activity or game that integrates the content of the story and discussion.

Parent/Guardian Materials

The curriculum includes a parent/guardian letter that informs parents and guardians about the curriculum.  Each session includes a homework assignment for students to do with a parent or guardian (or other adult).  There are two activities for students and adults to do together, including making family Internet safety rules and knowing what to do if cyber bullying occurs.  All parent and guardian materials are provided in both English and Spanish.

Grades 6-12 Curriculum

This is an eight-session curriculum and includes detailed instructions on presenting the information, activities to reinforce the key concepts, and reproducible student handouts.  Peer leadership is a key component of this program.  Trained student leaders selected by their peers assist in teaching portions of the lesson.  Older teens may also teach the program to younger teens.  The last three sessions serve as a cooperative learning/project based opportunity.  A Pre-/Post-Test can be used to assess students knowledge and attitudes before and after presenting the curriculum. The Progam Guide covers the following:

Introductory Materials

  • Introduction to the Curriculum
  • Curriculum Scope and Consequence (can be downloaded from the website)
  • Related National Academic Standards
  • Session Description and Preparation
  • Cyber Bullying Pre-/Post-Test
  • Peer Leader Selection and Training

The Sessions (each can be completed in 50 minutes)

  • Session 1: What is Bullying?
  • Session 2: What is Cyber Bullying?
  • Session 3: How Does Cyber Bullying Affect People?
  • Session 4: Why Do People Cyber Bully Others?
  • Session 5: How Should You React to Cyber Bullying?
  • Session 6: Creating a Positive Cyber Site Part I
  • Session 7: Creating a Positive Cyber Site Part II
  • Session 8: Creating a Positive Cyber Site Part III

Parent/Guardian Materials

A parent/guardian letter is provided that informs them about the curriculum.  Each of the first five sessions also has a take-home assignment that students complete with a parent or guardian.

Our Editorial: We particularly like this program for several reasons as follows:

  1. It is informed by current research;
  2. It can be used across the curriculum and with a broad age-range of students;
  3. It is not a one-off, ad-hoc approach, but rather provides resources to address cyber bullying school wide and to draw in community support; 
  4. We especially appreciate the proactive prevention efforts for teaching younger students about the importance of right habits and behaviors;
  5. Helps teach 21st Century Skills such as cooperation/collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking;
  6. Encourages peer mentoring as a strategy to address cyber bullying (see Hinduja & Patchins blog on this topic);
  7. Empowers young people by having them be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
  8. Encourages cross-generational learning between students and adults
  9. Links with National Academic Standards;
  10. Teaches students the importance of digital citizenship and how to use technologies in positive ways.

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