pressure (awareness, stop and think, explore responses to peers) (Vaughan & Pepler, 2007). Skill-building computer games have beendeveloped to achieve both bullying and more general violence prevention goals for elementary and secondary school students.Speci
c educational lessons are required in considering bullying, which represent a unique social problem involving challengingdynamics and a pattern of behavior that signify a power imbalance in the relationship with multiple players in different roles (Olweus,1993). The current review yielded only two published articles with data regarding bullying prevention programs including multimediacomponents. McLaughlin, Laux, and Pescara-Kovach (2006) designed a unique experimental study to explore the impact of addingmultimedia interventions (CD-ROM with relaxation exercises and a quiz show) to the traditional counselor/teacher bullying preventionprogram for grade three children. The
ndings suggested that the interventions were effective in signi
cantly reducing bullying andvictimization; however, were inconclusive regarding whether the degree of change was related to the addition of the multimediacomponents (McLaughlin, Laux, & Pescara-Kovach, 2006). Although multimedia programming was used, the format failed to meet therecommendations of Huffaker and Calvert (2003) in terms of how e-learning may facilitate the educational process. The multimediacomponent was not animated nor was it interactive or self-directed, therefore, it may not have led to increased motivation for students toengage in the learning process.
(Fun with Empathetic Agents to Reach out Novel Outcomes in Teaching) is a virtual role playing bullying prevention program(Hall, Woods, Hall, & Wolke, 2007). The
Program, developed for students aged 8
12, focuses on helping children to developa deeper understandingof bullying issues and coping strategies, through theirability to empathizewith the virtual charactersand act as aninvisible friend to a child who was victimized (Paiva et al., 2005). Students were found to bene
t from this program, such that
cantly increased the likelihood that students reporting victimization at baseline would escape victimization by the
program providesevidence for the utility of educational gaming in addressing bullying, though it does not extend our understanding of the contribution of educational gaming over the traditional bullying prevention approach.Based on the immense success of the gaming industry and the clear appeal that gaming holds for children, the use of gaming mayfacilitate engagement with educational content. Children are tech-savvy, with 94% having access to computers with the Internet at home.Furthermore, online games are a favorite pastime for younger children
particularly among grade four students, 89% of whom reportplaying games online (ERIN Research & Wings, 2005). Despite the prominent societal role of technology in education, recreation, andbusiness, and the subsequent opportunity to explore the utility of e-learning for intervening in serious social problems such as bullying,innovation into bullying prevention gaming has been slow to emerge. Although there is a relative dearth of research, emerging evidencefrom social skills promotion and bullying prevention programs using interactive computer software provides support for the potentialeffectivenessofaneducationalgamingapproachinteachingstudentssocialskillsandcopingstrategiestomanagebullyingsituations.Inthepresent study, we expected that
Quest for the Golden Rule
would be effective in teaching children bullying prevention messages.
5. Program description: QUEST for the Golden Rule
The current studyprovides a preliminaryevaluationof a newsetof innovative prevention and interventiontoolsdesigned bythe Practi-Quest Corporation (www.practiquest.com), in consultation with leading researchers in the area of bullying from PREVNet (PromotingRelationships and Eliminating Violence Network).
Quest for the Golden Rule
uses principles of effective bullying prevention, translated intoa modality of particular interest for children and youth
interactive, animated web-based games. The games are designed in such a wayasto encourage experiential learning within a virtual and interactive format, facilitated through a safe and private virtual environment free of peer pressure. Children interact individually with animated characters in virtual role-plays, which provide them with the opportunity tolearn and practice social skills and try out different strategies to cope with bullying. Students are unable to move on from a social problem-solving situation until theyare able to provide a prosocial solution, ensuring that children are supported in learning skills that they may belacking.
Quest for the Golden Rule
provides a solution to the typical problems of providing bullying prevention education within traditionalclassroom settings in which teachers are often overwhelmed, resources are not available to identify students who may need additionalsupport,or teacherslackthe timetoprovide the intensivecoachingand practice requiredbysomestudents. Companionguidesforteachersaccompany the software and include targeted curriculum and follow-up activities. Students are encouraged to participate in additionalactivities athome.Threemoduleshave beendesigned forstudentsin gradestwoto
ve each addressinga differenttopic relatedto bullyingprevention.
5.1. Bark Academy
This module provides an introduction to social justice, safety and fairness in school, introduces bullying and depicts three forms of bullying behavior (social, verbal, and physical). Students are invited to attend Bark Academy, a dog school where bullying manifestsitself in a variety of unfair behaviors, where they help solve cases of bullying by using the concept of
The Golden Rule.
Captain Fairness,a super-dog who helps address bullying and creates fair environments for kids, assists students as they work through the module. In the
rst case, Farid, a much bigger and stronger student, is bullying Kate and Kerri. Upon closer investigation, students learn that Farid isupset at being disrespected and excluded from play by Kerri and Kate. The students must help Kerri and Kate realize they wereparticipating in social bullying and help Farid discover more appropriate ways to respond when he feels left out. In the second case, Jermaine is physically bullying Hershey while a number of bystanders watch and laugh. Jermaine is also verbally bullying Hershey bymaking comments about his weight. The students must help Jermaine and the bystanders understand how they contributed to thebullying situation and explain the importance of following The Golden Rule. The module ends as the bystanders are confronted withtheir roles in the bullying situation. Students are left to question what impact the bystanders have in Hershey
s case and are encouragedto return for part two of Bark Academy to
nd out what the bystanders should have done differently. In the
nal case, Bobby
A. Rubin-Vaughan et al. / Computers & Education 56 (2011) 166