What is White Ribbon Week?

White Ribbon Week is a program for elementary schools that help children become safe online through media literacy. As they participate in White Ribbon Week, children learn new skills that help them avoid harmful media and use technology for good.

What is the difference between Internet safety and becoming media literate?

Training in Internet safety protects kids from harmful materials online. White Ribbon Week does that while helping kids become media literate—with skills to assess, analyze, evaluate, and create media. White Ribbon Week helps kids identify harmful media and use media for good.

What makes the White Ribbon Week media literacy curriculum unique?

White Ribbon Week is positive and fun! Although we are clear about online dangers, we focus on teaching skills for making safe and positive choices. We teach them to use technology for good. White Ribbon Week is pro-technology. We believe children have the power to understand what media is good and what media is bad. We like to say, “We put the filter in the child.” Children who are media literate can use technology to build, lift and strengthen others and communicate positive messages.

Do I use one theme per year or all 4?

Each facilitators guide gives you the information to sponsor one program, which is presented over one week each year. When programs are done consistently, students receive all four themes over four years. However, the materials are made to be adaptable to educational systems and needs. If a school desires, there is no reason all four themes could not be presented in four weeks during one year or in other applications.

Do I need to schedule a presenter to come to our school?

The programs can be facilitated by parent volunteers or teachers. You don’t need to hire a presenter or pay for an assembly.

How can I possibly meet with all the kids in the lunchroom?

Set up your lunch activities at a central local in the school and the kids will come to you. Remind them to eat lunch first!

Which program should I start with?

It doesn’t matter. Each program is self-contained and can be presented without a prerequisite. We like to start with “I’ve Got the Power!” because it helps students understand they are in charge of what they do with technology.

What age group can be taught by this curriculum?

While this program is written for use in elementary schools, it can be adapted for middle school, junior high or high school use as well. Additionally, this program works well for home-school groups, church groups and other youth organization groups.

Who comes to my school?

No guest needs to come to your school. Using the step-by-step instructions in the facilitator guide, any volunteer, teacher or media specialist can organize a successful White Ribbon Week.

Who do I talk to about getting White Ribbon Week in my school?

The principal of the school makes the decision whether the program can be used in your school. By taking the facilitator guide to your principal, you can be the catalyst to empower hundreds of children.

Is there a designated month for White Ribbon Week?

Although some states may have specific months designated for Internet Safety, the best month is any one that works well in your school calendar.

How many volunteers do I need?

You can use all parents who volunteer. But the White Ribbon Week outlines make it easy to facilitate the program with as few as two or three volunteers.

How do you get parents involved?

One of the most important objectives of a White Ribbon campaign is to get families talking. Each White Ribbon Week facilitator guide includes a letter to parents and a suggested outline for a parent meeting. Encourage parents to attend by holding a discussion over a brown-bag lunch, or a brief meeting with juice and muffins right when parents drop off their children for school.

How much does White Ribbon Week cost?

You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish with little budget. Lunchtime rewards can be as simple as a stamp on the hand or fun activity. Schools can change the incentives to fit their budget and their students’ interests.

Can we combine White Ribbon Week with Red Ribbon Week?

Absolutely. Kids can learn to be media literate and drug free at the same time.
The tie-in is that we are teaching children how to make choices that are healthy for their mind and for their body. We are teaching them to protect themselves from things that are addictive — drugs and online behaviors.

Our elementary school has 1,000 kids. What considerations might we need to take with that many kids/parents?

The White Ribbon Week programs can be adapted for large schools of 1,000 and for small private or home-schooled use. Some schools with many students may use teachers or older students as helpers in lunchtime activities.

What if I’m not technology or social media savvy?

No worries. Remember, you’re not teaching computer technology, you’re teaching principles for making wise choices. Since White Ribbon Week is principle based, you don’t need to be an expert at the latest apps or social media.

What do I do if I get a question I don’t know how to answer?

Don’t worry. You know more than you think you do. It’s about decision-making, not computer tech. Facilitators can learn along with the students. If you need help, send us your question by clicking here.

What advice should I give parents if they find out their child has been exposed to pornography?

A parent’s first impulse may be anger, but they must take a deep breath and remain calm. A parent who overreacts can cause more emotional damage and pain to the child than the offensive material itself. If you would like information on how to have conversations with children about the subject, check out educateempowerkids.org.

Some of the Reality Boosts sound like heavy topics for kids. How do I keep this subject fun without minimizing its importance?

The topics are serious. Yet, at the same time, you’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll have. While facilitating White Ribbon Week, we never share details that would be frightening or threatening. When kids are empowered, they feel confident and safe!

If I organize a White Ribbon Week at my school do I have to stand up on stage?

Not unless you want to! Your role is just to make sure the week happens. Instruction occurs mainly through morning announcements, classroom discussions and lunchtime activities.

Does White Ribbon Week infringe on First Amendment rights?

Not at all. Children are taught to recognize potential dangers and to evaluate media for themselves. They have the power! White Ribbon Week helps develop good digital citizens who can contribute positively in a digital world.