SEATTLE, Dec. 9, 2008— Recent research conducted for the National Crime Prevention Council found that 43 percent of teens ages 13 to 18 were victims of cyberbullying in the last year. Cyberbullying, the act of using the Internet via computers, cell phones or PDAs to be cruel and harmful to others, has become more frequent among young people due to the increasing popularity of social networking sites, blogging and microblogging.
To address the growing issue of cyberbullying, the Qwest Foundation® will host top educators from several states to present a first-of-its-kind cyberbullying prevention curriculum funded by the Qwest Foundation and created by Mike Donlin, project manager for prevention-intervention and technology services at Seattle Public Schools. Donlin and educators from Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Oregon and Washington, as well as key Qwest executives, will gather at Hamilton International Middle School in Seattle on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m. to review and discuss the program, which was implemented in Seattle middle schools this fall.
At the event, Donlin will also offer tips for implementing the curriculum and will share his experience in working with teachers who have incorporated the course into their curriculum. A guide complete with key learnings from the curriculum and suggestions for building a standards-based curriculum at their schools will be distributed at the event. This guide is also available for free download at www.IncredibleInternet.com.
“Kids become cyberbullies because of the power and anonymity they are afforded by the Internet,” said Donlin, a member of Qwest’s Online Safety Coalition in Washington. “Because cyberbullying can impede a child’s ability to succeed in school, it must be addressed at home and in the classroom.”
Because of his participation in the Qwest Online Safety Coalition, Donlin turned to the Qwest Foundation for financial support to develop the curriculum in response to new state legislation mandating the production of materials for parents on the prevention of cyberbullying and electronic harassment. With a $20,000 grant from the Qwest Foundation, Donlin developed the curriculum and is working with Qwest to help make it available to other educators. In addition to Washington, a number of states have passed or are considering legislation that would address cyberbullying and online safety for children.
“Qwest and the Qwest Foundation realize that families and children are doing more online than ever – from keeping up with friends on social networks to researching for class projects – and we’re committed to equipping them with the education that will keep them surfing safely,” said Steve Davis, senior vice president of Public Policy for Qwest. “Thanks to his cyberbullying prevention curriculum and how-to guide, Mike Donlin, Qwest and the Qwest Foundation are now bringing that education directly to the classroom.”
About the Incredible Internet Program
Qwest and the Qwest Foundation have a long-standing commitment to online safety education. The Qwest Foundation has been working to combat the online victimization of youth since 2003. Qwest also created an online safety resource at www.IncredibleInternet.com to provide parents, guardians and educators with necessary resources to learn how to help keep their families and children safer on the Internet. Qwest works with key community leaders in education and government to raise online safety awareness. These efforts have reached more than 250 million individuals since 2003.
The Qwest Foundation