The JOSEPH PROJECT CYBERBULLYING CURRICULUM is a free curriculum for schools and others, using a unique approach not found in other curricula.
I have developed The Joseph Project Curriculum using decades of experience working with children and youth in settings ranging from sports, to youth organizations to educational settings as well as having a background in educational motivation and extensive experience training others to work with youth more effectively. Use of the curriculum is free, but requires permission.
For more details, feedback or information or for permission to use the curriculum in your school, please contact me at [email protected].
I am also available for speaking engagements at educational seminar and faculty meetings.
The Joseph Project Curriculum is based on the idea of identifying boundaries and then establishing clear boundaries as would apply to social networking, technology and private information.
The curriculum begins by asking the child to identify boundaries which they know exist and are very clear about. Next the child is asked to clarify boundaries that they already know exist but perhaps don't give too much though to. Finally, we propose to the child to think through and establish boundaries which should exist about personal information and social networking. The curriculum explores different aspects of a child's being such as physical body, personal feelings, and family privacy to help the child realize that every person has boundaries. It then asks the child to determine where the boundaries actually lie and what categories of people are welcome inside which boundaries. Next it reveals to children how the internet and social networking has created large holes in the boundaries, where information that they would nomally consider to be inside one boundary, they expose to many people online outside that boundary. Finally, the curriculum sensitizes children to their own boundaries, and asks them to be empathetic to others boundaries. In this way, children will be able to view the internet and social networking as another aspect to personal boundaries and will hopefully be more willing to respect the boundaries online which they respect offline.
The Joseph Project bullying and cyber bullying curriculum was established as a different approach to the subject than current curricula (I hestitate to say "traditional" curricula because the subject is too new for anything to be traditional) with the theory that other currlcula take an approach similar to the DARE program which teaches children the dangers of drugs and strategies for saying no to drugs. While other currcula on bullying take this similar approach (which is not a bad approach) we take the position that factors in the modern psyche, in technology and in our times of social networking breed ripe ground for bullying and cyber bullying and thus one of the consideration that needs to be addressed is how we redirect our culture of thinking away from the tendancy to engage in cyber bullying. It is my belief that unless we start addressing the way that we think about and view social networking, use of the internet and how we view web posting and reading of web posts, we are going to be constantly trying to hold children back against a tidal wave of internet abuse to harm.
The Joseph Project curriculum and theory is based solely in the identifying, establishing and re-establishing of boundaries which I believe are being lost as our personal lives open up to the world through use of the internet.
Purpose: To help children understand that there are many places where a boundary is very clear and not disputed.
QUESTION: WHICH STATE DO WE LIVE IN? HOW WOULD WE KNOW IF WE LEFT THE STATE? THERE WOULD BE A SIGN AT THE BORDER WELCOMING US TO A NEW STATE
QUESTION: WHO HAS EVER BEEN ON A BOAT?
HOW DID YOU GET TO THE BOAT? STEPPED OVER FROM THE DOCK OR WALKED ON A GANGPLANK
AT WHAT POINT WERE YOU ON THE BOAT? OFF THE DOCK, NO WATER BELOW, ON THE DECK
HOW DID YOU KNOW AT WHAT POINT THE BOAT ENDS? GUARDRAIL OR END OF THE DECK
QUESTION: ON A HOT DAY YOU DECIDE TO GO TO THE MALL BECAUSE IT IS AIR CONDITIONED. AT WHAT POINT ARE YOU IN THE AIR CONDITIONED MALL? IN THE PARKING LOT? IN FRONT OF THE MALL ENTRANCE? INSIDE THE MALL ENTRANCE? IN THE STORE? IS THERE ARE CLEAR POINT WHERE THE AIR CONDITIONING STARTS?
QUESTION: IF SOMEONE WHO YOU DIDN'T KNOW BUT LOOKED NORMAL WAS WALKING DOWN THE STREET IN FRONT OF YOUR HOUSE, WOULD YOU BE CONCERNED? WOULD YOU BE CONCERNED IF THEY ENTERED YOUR DRIVEWAY? HOW ABOUT IF THEY CAME UP THE FRONT STEPS? WHAT ABOUT IF THEY ENTERED YOUR HOUSE? AT WHAT POINT HAS SOMEONE CROSSED THE BOUNDARY FOR YOU?
QUESTION: WHAT IS A BOUNDARY? A LINE WHICH CANNOT BE CROSSED. A LINE THAT SEPARATES TWO DIFFERENT PLACES.
EXPLAIN TO STUDENTS: THERE ARE LOTS OF PHYSICAL PLACES WHERE BOUNDARIES ARE VERY CLEAR TO US. WE KNOW IF WE ARE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE A BUILDING, IF WE ARE IN ONE STATE OR ANOTHER STATE, OR IF WE ARE ON A BOAT. HAVING A CLEAR PICTURE OF WHERE BOUNDARIES BEGIN AND END HELP US TO UNDERSTAND WHERE WE ARE AND HOW SAFE WE ARE.
Purpose: This section begins with a simple question but will help open the door to the understanding that the issue of privacy has changed and in many ways been blurred over the past decade.
QUESTION: HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS PUBLIC AND WHAT IS PRIVATE? (THIS SHOULD BE A RATHER ACTIVE DISCUSSION AS CHILDREN WILL HAVE DIFFERENT ANSWERS)
Purpose: This section brings the issue of privacy to a more personal level. Physical privacy of our bodies is probably the most easily understood type of privacy, and in fact most American children have a good understand of body boundaries by the time they are school aged.
Caution: Depending on where you live, cultural and religious differences among children as well as family modesty beliefs and personal differences may make some children uncomfortable to varying degrees with this next section.
It is recommended with older children (preteen and above) that you push them forward unless your school or organization opposes such action. With younger children, the teacher may modify the next section to be appropriate to the children in the group. A little vulnerability is important to this activity's effectiveness. This will be the most uncomfortable part of the curriculum (for some).
Tip: Tell children in advance that they will not be asked to put their name on the paper or to turn it in.
ACTIVITY: GIVE EACH CHILD A COPY OF THIS DIAGRAM. A FULL SIZE PRINTABLE VERSION IS AVAILABLE HERE. EACH CHILD SHOULD HAVE A RED, A YELLOW AND A GREEN MARKER OR CRAYON. IF THIS IS DIFFICULT TO DO, YOU CAN MODIFY THE ACTIVITY BY HAVING THEM WRITE IN BLACK OR BLUE AND SIMPLY WRITING THE LETTERS R, Y AND G TO REPRESENT THE COLORS.
ASK CHILDREN TO FIRST COLOR (OR MARK) ALL OF THE BODY PARTS WHICH THEY DO NOT CONSIDER PARTICULARLY PRIVATE. CHILDREN WILL CHOOSE PARTS SUCH AS FACE, HANDS AND LEGS.
NEXT ASK THEM TO PART BODY PARTS WHICH ARE SEMI-PRIVATE. BOYS MIGHT MARK THE CHEST. GIRLS MIGHT MARK THE BELLY OR BACK. EITHER MIGHT MARK FEET. ANSWERS WILL BE DIFFERENT AND THAT IS FINE.
FINALLY, ASK CHILDREN TO MARK PRIVATE PARTS. THE ANSWERS WILL BE FAIRLY UNIFORM, WITH THE ONLY VARIANCE BEING THE TORSO MOST LIKELY. AGAIN, THE VARIETY IN ANSWERS WILL NOT BE IMPORTANT TO THE POINT.
QUESTION: ARE THERE PARTS OF YOUR BODY WHICH YOU ARE SURE ARE PRIVATE?
QUESTION: ARE THERE PARTS OF YOUR BODY WHICH YOU ARE SURE ARE NOT PRIVATE?
QUESTION: WHEN A BODY PART IS PRIVATE, HOW IS IT THEREFORE TREATED? COVERED UP IN PUBLIC, ONLY CAN BE TOUCHED OR SEEN BY ME AND CERTAIN PEOPLE WHO I TRUST SUCH AS PARENTS OR DOCTOR, ONLY CAN BE TOUCHED IN CERTAIN WAYS
QUESTION: WHO DECIDES WHAT IS PRIVATE ON YOUR BODY? ME, MY PARENTS, THE CULTURE AROUND ME
QUESTION: DO OUR BODIES HAVE BOUNDARIES?
Purpose: In this section we move away from the body, having grasped a clear reminder that our bodies definitely have boundaries and most children clearly understand those boundaries (even if the answers varied, each child will have identified boundaries for themselves). Having sensitized children to physical boundaries the next section helps to sensitize children to other types of personal boundaries which they are their families might have.
ACTIVITY: THERE ARE SEVERAL VARIATIONS IN THE NEXT ACTIVITY -
VARIATION ONE - GIVE OUT THIS GRID WITH A LIST OF PERSONAL INFORMATION AND CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE, RANGING FROM STRANGER TO FAMILY. ASK CHILDREN TO CHECK OFF WHAT INFORMATION THEY WOULD SHARE WITH WHOM.
VARIATION TWO - FOR A FUN GAME, USE THE SAME LIST OF PERSONAL INFORMATION BUT WRITE EACH ITEM ON A NOTE CARD. CREATE CATEGORY SIGNS FOR THE PEOPLE LISTED ON THE HORIZONTAL AXIS AND HAVE CHILDREN PLACE THE CARDS IN THE CATEGORY THAT REPRESENTS THE MOST DISTANCE PERSON WHO YOU WOULD SHARE THAT INFORMATION WITH.
EXPERIENCED TEACHERS WILL FIND SEVERAL OTHER WAYS TO VARY THIS ACTIVITY.
QUESTION: ASK CHILDREN IF THEY AGREE WITH EVERYONE ELSE'S CHOICES. ALLOW CHILDREN TO DISCUSS ANY DIFFERENCES IN ANSWERS. CLEARLY, SOME CHILDREN WILL BE MORE WILLING THAN OTHERS TO SHARE CERTAIN TYPES OF INFORMATION WITH OTHERS.
QUESTION: WHY MIGHT DIFFERENT PEOPLE MAKE DIFFERENT CHOICES?
QUESTION: ARE THERE SOME CHOICES THAT WE ALL AGREE ON?
QUESTION FOR OLDER CHILDREN: WHAT FACTORS AFFECT YOUR WILLINGNESS TO SHARE INFORMATION? FEELING OF PRIVACY, FEELING OF POTENTIAL EMBARRASSMENT, PERSONAL SAFETY, SAFETY TO HOME OR MONEY, ETC.
QUESTION: DOES PERSONAL INFORMATION HAVE BOUNDARIES?
QUESTION: WHO MAKES THE FINAL DECISION FOR EACH PERSON? ME, MY PARENTS, MY FAMILY
QUESTION: WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF SOMEONE CROSSED YOUR BOUNDARIES WITHOUT ASKING YOU?
Purpose: We will now bring the idea of and the sensitization to, boundaries, to the realm of the internet. cell phones and social networking. By this point, children have made it clear that there are physical and informational boundaries for each person and that, while most agree on most of the boundaries, the final decision for boundaries is up to parents and the children themselves.
Tip: Unless you are aware of another web site that is in wide use by your students, we recommend using FACEBOOK as the discussion site because it is so widely used and understood. Other options might include MySpace and Twitter.
QUESTION: WHEN YOU HAVE A PAGE ON THE INTERNET (ON FACEBOOK, MySPACE, ETC) WHERE IS THE DATA ACTUALLY SITTING? ON A COMPUTER/SERVER OWNED BY THE COMPANY
QUESTION: WHEN SOMEONE VISITS A WEBSITE, HOW DOES THE PAGE GET TO THEM FROM THE COMPANY COMPUTER/SERVER? OVER PHONE LINES, OVER T1 LINES, BOUNCES FROM COMPUTER TO COMPUTER
QUESTION: ARE THERE TIMES WHEN WEBSITE INFORMATION THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE SECURE, GETS LEAKED? YES, HACKERS, VIRUSES, ETC
QUESTION: HOW SURE ARE YOU THAT INFORMATION WHICH YOU POST ON A PAGE IS SECURE? NOT SO SURE, PRETTY SURE, CANT EVER BE SURE
QUESTION: HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT INFORMATION TO PUT ON A FACEOOK/MySPACE/TWITTER PAGE?
Tip: Some teachers might want to refer back to the list of items and the grid created in section four.
QUESTION: WHEN YOU DECIDE, DO YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE FACT THAT YOUR INFORMATION MIGHT LEAK TO WHERE IT ISN'T SUPPOSED TO? MOST WILL SAY 'NO' AND THIS IS A GOOD THING TO DISCUSS
DISCUSSION QUESTION: WHO DECIDES THE BOUNDARIES ON OUR BODY PARTS? (SOCIETAL NORMS, PARENTS, OURSELVES)
DISCUSSION QUESTION: WHO DECIDES WHAT PERSONAL INFORMATION IS MADE AVAILABLE TO WHOM? (LAWS OF THE LAND, SELF)
DISCUSSION QUESTION: HOW DO WE DECIDE WHERE TO DRAW THE BOUNDARIES WITH OUR ONLINE PROFILES?
DISCUSSION QUESTION: WHAT IF SOMEONE ELSE MAKES THE DECISION FOR US, TO TAKE SOMETHING OUTSIDE OF OUR BOUNDARY TO A BROADER AUDIENCE?