Cyber Safe Curricula and Online Harassment

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In this article, Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer analyzes three examples of curricula aimed at cultivating good cyber behavior and countering online harassment. These curricula are branded as addressing civic needs, cultivating civic duty, and developing skills to help students understand and react to online threats. Here, Greenhalgh-Spencer offers two critiques of these, and other similar, cyber safe curricula. First, current cyber safe curricula do not adequately address the ways that identity — particularly gender and sexuality — shape one's experience of online spaces and exposure to online threats. Second, current cyber safe curricula do not adequately consider nuances of how to “react” to online threats. The preponderance of cyber curricula teach students that all forms of offensive speech online should be abolished or pushed against. These curricula miss the opportunity to cultivate conversations around the tensions between the need to feel safe and the need to protect freedoms of speech.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-89
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


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