Monday, March 5, 2012

Step up to the line to end bullying, App#12--MTV's A Thin Line

A Thin Line:

(This is an interactive site that is filled with quizzes and videos for students and educators about when the "line" has crossed into bullying. If you want more resources on cyberbullying and digital citizenship, go to the Cool Tools page where you will find a series of tools and links.)

Synopsis: In light of the recent movie, Bully, ( I think it is even more crucial to shed light on some resources that MUST be used in the classroom. We try to install basic rules in children, but do we show how those rules apply to the Web? And, as evident by the film, bullying is a problem even when it is seen in the public eye. So, what about what we don't see, what is hidden within texts, phone calls, Facebook posts, and other online communication? MTV offers a site at the Thin Line. When viewers first access it, they may sign a "Draw the line" pledge in which they pledge the following:
    • Live without pressure or abuse.
    • Step in and help if I see someone getting harassed.
    • End unhealthy relationships.
    • Take control of my decisions.
    • Disconnect whenever I want.
This is called the Digital Rights project. Students are asked to give their first name, zip code, and a digital right they think all should be entitled to. This becomes part of a living list of rights. Students can also post their "action" for drawing their line in exchange for dailyfeats points. These points can be redeemed for rewards. Within the "get facts" and "take control" tabs, there are a series of resources for students seeking help and seeking for information about bullying resources. Under the "Your Stories" tab, students can select "over the line?" and enter in their stories of when they or someone else stepped over the line with bullying. Students can rate which ones they felt were over the line and discuss where that line is drawn. Under that same tab, students can take a quiz about "drawing the line":

The Website is an online collaborative space that is continually changing. Students may join the network and talk with peers about digital citizenship, digital rights, and cyberbullying. It gives a voice to those who may have not had a say before.

Integration: This Website is a more interactive tool that should be blended with other tools in the classroom. Digital citizenship and rights should be priority subjects in the classroom and should be integrated within the curriculum, specifically character education. Though this Website is not a stand-alone resource, it is a great tool to combine with others. With its sponsor (MTV) and collaborative space, it targets a younger audience and lures them into bullying discussions. However, before showing any of the interactive tools, the background and facts on digital rights should be shown. Before entering thoughts on bullying, students must have a discussion of what qualifies as appropriate talk online. Luckily, this Website provides all of those resources as well.

For more information on bullying or to see the new film, Bully, go to . This site will be updated with resources in the future. In the meantime, it contains a reading guide for the movie as well as resources for getting help and learning about "the line" between bullying and friendly banter.

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