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Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying

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Jaime Fortin

Jaime Fortin

About the Author

Jaime Fortin is a student at Trent University who is currently in her final year of an undergraduate degree in Indigenous Studies and Gender Studies with an emphasis in Law and Policy. She is from Chapleau Cree First Nation, a small reserve in northern Ontario, and is a te(a)ch facilitator for Pinnguaq.

Health & Wellness, Online Safety
Lesson Plan

Introduction

The purpose of this module is to teach students about cyberbullying: what it is, how to seek help if they are being cyberbullied, and how to recognize if their own actions – either intentionally or not – could be interpreted as cyberbullying. Indigenous communities are experiencing a suicide epidemic, and cyberbullying is a contributing factor in this crisis. In rural and Northern communities the internet is often one the main ways to communicate with people near and far. Cyberbullying can cause a person to feel even more isolated or disconnected. It is vitally important that students know who to turn to if they need help.

Learning Goals

The goals of this module are for students to understand and recognize what actions constitute cyberbullying; and to know who they can turn to for support if they are experiencing cyberbullying.

Vocabulary

Cyberbullying
The use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature. Cyberbullying occurs often on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.
Victim
A person who is harmed, injured or killed as a result of a crime, accident or other event.
Bully
A person who uses superior strength or power to harm, influence or intimidate those who are seen as weaker as them.
Bystander
A person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part or stop it from happening, this can include someone who is aware of the cyberbullying but does not step up to make it stop.

Guiding Questions

  1. What are some of the ways you communicate with people from your community and surrounding areas?
  2. What makes a person a bully?
  3. Is it easier to bully a person if you don’t see their reactions? Does that make it more acceptable or less harmful?
  4. How can we help others who are being cyberbullied?
  5. What are some ways we can discourage cyberbullies?

Curriculum Links

This module provides an opportunity to address curriculum expectations in Computer Studies, and Character Education. Students will be taught about what cyberbullying is and how to protect themselves online. Curriculum is developed for Grades 6 to 8.

Materials

  • Blank pieces of paper (enough for each person in the classroom)
  • Markers or pencil crayons
  • Scotch Tape (to stick the paper on each person’s back)
  • My Support System sheet printed for each student – Download Assets Folder (ZIP)
  • Two different coloured packages of sticky notes

Non-Computer Activity

Positive Peer Words Exercise

Students help each other tape a blank piece of paper on their backs. The goal is to write something positive on the piece of paper taped to each of their peers backs. Each student needs to write at least one positive thing on everyone’s back. The purpose of this activity is for students to think positively about their peers, and then receive a list of positive comments about themselves. This activity should take about 20 minutes, followed by a class discussion about how this activity made them feel. Specifically, how it feels to receive kind and caring messages from peers.

Creating A Support System

The second activity is for students to write down the names and contact information for people who will provide help and support if they feel they are being bullied. Download this lesson’s assets folder (ZIP) to access the My Support System sheet. Have them bring this paper home and keep it in a safe place. They can keep it by their list of positive words from their peers to be reminded of how they are loved and cared for by many people.

Computer Activity

First, begin by doing the Cyberbullying Quiz together as a class. Have students talk about the different questions and vote on the answers. This should take no more than 15 minutes.

Second, have students complete the Are You A CyberBully? quiz on their own. Do not share the results of the quiz, as it is for students to reflect individually.

After students have completed both quizzes, have an open and honest conversation about what cyberbullying is and what characteristics make a cyberbully. Some examples of cyberbullying are:

  • Sending mean texts, emails, or instant messages to someone
  • Prank calling someone’s phone to scare them, hurt their feelings or make fun of them
  • Hacking into someone’s gaming or social media accounts and pretending to be them or taking information from them
  • Being rude or mean to someone in an online game
  • Spreading malicious secrets or rumours about someone online
  • Pretending to be someone else and spreading mean messages, secrets or rumours
  • Making fun of someone’s culture or posting memes that mock other’s culture (for information specifically about this topic, please refer to the Cultural Sensitivity When Posting Online module)
  • Creating websites that rate someone’s appearance

After this open and honest conversation, teachers can discuss these scenarios (PDF) with the class. They could read them out, or print them off and break the students up into small groups to discuss. The questions below each scenario are a good prompt to help guide the conversations. Some of the scenarios are for an older audience and should be chosen at the teachers discretion.

Conclusion

On chart paper, trace out two human figures. Label the first figure How to Spread Kindness, and the second figure What Makes a Cyberbully. Hand out sticky notes to each student, one colour for the kindness figure, and another colour for the cyberbully figure. Ask students to write a characteristic of a kind person, or a story of when they were kind to someone, and stick it on the kindness figure. On the second sticky students write a word, characteristic, or scenario of a cyberbully and stick it on the cyberbully figure. Keep these two figures up in the classroom to remind students of what characteristics they should try to possess to spread kindness to others, and what characteristics and traits they should avoid.

Finish by asking students if they have any other questions or comments about cyberbullying, and remind them that they have people they can turn to if they ever need help.

Resources