Cyberbullying is a complex and complicated issue. It is vital, therefore, that any work in this field is grounded in research and avoids the myths and scare tactics that we know tend to alienate young people who then believe that adults really “do not get it.” While the jury is still out on just how pervasive a challenge cyberbullying is, it is important that we all share our knowledge and work together as we try and craft solutions that are timely and effective. Dealing with cyberbullying really does “take a village.” The authors of Cyberslammed: Understand, Prevent, Combat, Transform the Most Common Cyberbullying Tactics clearly understand this and the very real challenges that we all are facing as we learn how to communicate in safe and respectful ways in our blended online/offline worlds. In Cyberslammed, the authors draw upon the advice of a number of the most highly respected experts and practitioners in the field, including Anne Collier, Stan Davis, and Nancy Willard, in order to provide informed, up-to-date, and helpful information. Importantly, the authors do not leave their readers to “join the dots” of this complex issue. Instead, they have created a helpful framework, or “steps” (understand, prevent, combat, transform), to organize and present their information in a way that is easy for the reader to understand and follow. These steps are duplicated on their website, which also is well worth checking out. The website is a useful tool in and of itself, but it is especially beneficial when used in conjunction with Cyberslammed, the book.
So why else should you choose Cyberslammed over some of the other books about cyberbullying? Here’s why. Because it is a practical workbook that can be used by parents and educators in partnership with young people (middle and high school students) to discuss and work through realistic scenarios. In so doing, adults and young people can help empower each other to be able to anticipate, navigate, and intervene more effectively in specific cyberbullying tactics. Each chapter of this easy-to-use book has the same format. Each covers a specific cyberbullying tactic, gives a tactic overview, presents a realistic hypothetical scenario, and provides lesson plans within the four steps of “understand, prevent, combat, and transform.” Each lesson plan provides suggested individual and group activities, topics for discussion, and necessary background information, such as conflict resolution strategies. While the lesson plans are provided for adult educators, they also could easily be adapted to be co-taught with student leaders. The book contains a number of helpful appendices, including a basic survey. Additional resources can be found on the authors’ website.
In Summary: Cyberslammed is both informed and informative. As such, it is an important tool that can be used by adults in partnership with young people as we all work together to help create and promote the social norm of communicating with respect and civility in our new blended online/offline worlds. Bravo, Kay and Vinitha, for a job well done!