Website Vetting Process

When we vetted the top 100 cyberbullying-related hits from our Google search, we found is that a lot of the information about cyberbullying that is available online is not very helpful. Below are the criteria that we considered when looking at each site:

  1. General information:
    1. Is the site specifically about cyberbullying, or is it about something else (e.g., counselling, bullying), with cyberbullying included as a subtopic. If it’s a subtopic, make sure that the content on cyberbullying is not superficial. Sometimes the broader the topic, the less content there is about sup-topics.
    2. Is the site internationally, nationally, or locally focused. This may matter to you more or less depending on why you are looking for information
    3. Is the site advertising or offering a program. Carefully assess this because corporate sponsorship doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not a good site. For example, this site is sponsored by Primus. The Dove Self Esteem Project is another good example.
  2. Target audience
    1. What is the target age of the site? Young children, adolescents, or adults?
    2. Who is the target audience? Parents? Educators? Youth?
  3. What media or communication technologies does the site use. Often using videos or blogs, or having access to online communities can be helpful or more compelling.
  4. Content Assessment of the site.
    1. Is the site Comprehensive
    2. Is the site just one person’s opinion? We found lots of sites that did not cite any empirical evidence.
    3. Is the site up to date? We found that even when empirical evidence was cited, it was often out of date (10 years or older).
    4. Is the message of the site about fear? We found that a lot of sites focused on fear-mongering messaging that the Internet is a bad place that we need to protect our children from. This is simply not true. We do need be careful and support our children, but most of them will have positive experiences online.
    5. What resources does the site offer. Some offer counselling services or are a repository of other resources. This will be relevant depending on what you are needing.