Cyberbullying: using a novel to open up this urgent issue
Cyberbullying is a huge issue — and how young people use networked communications, for good and ill, is central to The Revealers. "The promise of the modern age is that information equals power, and in Wilhelm's entertaining and throughtful tale, that notion is put to the test," Publishers Weekly wrote in reviewing the novel.
No previous human generation has had cell phones and the Internet. Today's kids are creating a new world of communication, and it is powerful. The Revealers deals with this in microcosm, by centering on how its characters use the power of a new, schoolwide computer network. The three central characters stumble on the idea of using the network (students call it "Kidnet") to uncover how kids are really treating each other in their school — and this begins to make a lot of other kids really think. But then the main characters pass along an ugly rumor without checking it out, or thinking through what might happen.
What does happen gives readers get the chance to think and talk about the choices they're making every day, on the real Internet.
In working with The Revealers, a number of schools have chosen to use the Internet as a positive, awareness-building tool for discusing the book and for enabling students to safely share their own bullying stories. For a discussion of these creative, empowering uses, click on the first link below.
For much more on using a YA novel to address cyberbullying, check out True Shoes, the Revealers sequel. Click on the True Shoes button above.
Here are some briefings on how to work with this powerful dimension of The Revealers, and of young adults' real lives:
- Using the story to help kids learn the power of online courage—and cruelty
- How a school's "Webboard" drew hundreds of student entries
- A cyberbullying suicide, The Revealers and the movement to confront school bullying
More good resources
Another superb "Curriculum Connections" unit from the Anti-Defamation League
Diane Sawyer hosts an ABC News "Primetime" story on teen cyberbullying
"Safety & Security Online," an online workshop offered by cybersmart.org