________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 15 . . . . March 20, 2009

cover Cyberbullying: Deal With It and Ctrl Alt Delete It. (Deal With It).

Robyn MacEachern. Illustrated by Geraldine Charette.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2008.
32 pp., stapled, $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-55277-037-5.

Subject Heading:
Cyberbullying-Juvenile literature.

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**½ /4


Set your online profiles to private or limit who can access them or find you by searching online. But remember that even if you have only allowed a handful of people to view your online information, it is possible for any of those people to copy your information and put it online outside your circle of friends. Make sure those who can access your information are trustworthy and understand your own rules about your online personal information.

Part of the multi-volume "Deal With It" series, designed to help young adolescents cope with conflicts and situations in their daily lives, this title provides kids both with an understanding of the concepts and the skills necessary to deal with them. The book is touted as being written in "graphic novel style", but there is far more text than graphics. Somewhat lacking in visual appeal, Cyberbullying might best be used in a limited setting- i.e. by a teacher wanting to spark classroom discussion or by guidance counsellors working with individuals or specific groups of students. It is doubtful that kids would purchase this book or check it out of the library.

     The book's contents consist of comic strips, quizzes, letters to a "Conflict Counsellor," a double-page spread devoted to dispelling myths, do's and don'ts, and tips on how to deal with the featured concepts. "Did You Know" bands, running across the bottom of several pages, offer trivia and statistics. At the back of the book, lists of helplines, web sites, books and videos for further information are provided. The text is written in the "current" kids' language, including some slang. Illustrations are basic and cartoon-like but dull and not very imaginative.

     With her experience as the Provincial Youth Issues Coordinator for the Crime Prevention Section of the Ontario Provincial Police, author MacEachern knows of what she speaks. The information she provides is timely and important, but a few of the examples in the book are, perhaps, a little too mature for the target audience (9 and up) suggested by the publisher.

     Cyberbullying is defined as online bullying such as name calling, threatening, spreading rumours or hate, rating others on their appearance or intellect, tricking people to give property away, hacking into their computer accounts, or accusing people of things they didn't do. What is rather scary is that in a survey, 44% of youth said that they had bullied others online while 70% of kids believe that any information they send to their friends is private. MacEachern not only provides examples of cyberbullying, but she also gives readers advice on what to do if they are the target of a bully and helps those who might get caught up in cyberbullying to stop and examine their behaviour. Chat room, email and IM (Instant Messaging) etiquette, the dangers of password sharing, web cam use, blogs, bulletin boards and cyberstalking are just a few of the topics covered.

     Though the examples and the messages in this book are great, they are repeated too often (perhaps this is the author's way of ensuring that readers get the message). Kids who feel that they are victims of cyberbullying are encouraged to tell a parent or other trusted adult (teacher, guidance counsellor, coach), but perhaps the best advice is to call one of the helplines listed on the last page.

     With a serious look at a growing problem, Cyberbullying is timely, indeed.


Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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