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January 18, 2013 1

ADL Workshop Cultivates Ally Behavior Online

Over the past few years the media has cov­ered many sto­ries about cyber­bul­ly­ing and its detri­men­tal effects on youth.  The research, and our own expe­ri­ences, make it clear that cyber­bul­ly­ing hurts the youth tar­geted and cre­ates a neg­a­tive expe­ri­ence for those who wit­ness the behav­ior.   We also know that youth are often tar­geted online because of their iden­tity, includ­ing their weight, real or per­ceived sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der expres­sion, reli­gion and race.

To help address issues of cyber­bul­ly­ing, ADL’s AWORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Insti­tute cre­ated Cyber­ALLY®, a half-day (3-hour) or full-day (6-hour) inter­ac­tive train­ing for mid­dle and high school-age youth that pro­vides prac­ti­cal infor­ma­tion and oppor­tu­ni­ties for skill-building.  Cyber­ALLY sup­ports youth in devel­op­ing per­sonal strate­gies for pro­tect­ing them­selves against cyber­bul­ly­ing as well as act­ing as cyberallies—preventing and tak­ing action against cyber­bul­ly­ing and social cru­elty in online forum.

We recently con­ducted a research eval­u­a­tion of Cyber­AL­LYto assess the effec­tive­ness of the train­ing pro­gram and gain insight into areas for improve­ment.  Funded by Cir­cle of Ser­vice and Microsoft, we con­tracted with an eval­u­a­tion research firm, TCC Group, to design and con­duct the eval­u­a­tion.  With TCC Group, we iden­ti­fied in research terms the out­comes we hoped to achieve with Cyber­ALLY:  1) aware­ness and knowl­edge about cyber­bul­ly­ing, 2) demon­stra­tion of respon­si­ble and eth­i­cal online behav­ior, and 3) abil­ity to be a CyberALLY.

The data analy­sis shows highly sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment in all three out­come areas, indi­cat­ing that the Cyber­ALLY pro­gram is effec­tively equip­ping stu­dents to take action against cyber­bul­ly­ing. The stu­dents showed the great­est improve­ment in the out­come “the abil­ity to be a cyber­ally.”  Some spe­cific find­ings include: 93% of stu­dents indi­cated that they learned dif­fer­ent strate­gies for respond­ing to cyber­bul­ly­ing and online bias and 81% indi­cated that “all kids my age should par­tic­i­pate in this work­shop.”  By chang­ing the cul­ture from one of pas­sive bystanders to one of active cyber­al­lies, we can change the way stu­dents inter­act online. In all, the results of this eval­u­a­tion have shown that ADL is con­tribut­ing to fur­ther­ing the  over­all goal of fos­ter­ing increased cyber-civility and a cul­ture of e-safety among our youth.

For spe­cific strate­gies on how you can be a cyber­ally and address bias and bul­ly­ing online, visit www.adl.org/combatbullying.

 

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