Group Think (3-5)

How can you be an upstander when you witness cyberbullying?

Students identify actions that will make them upstanders in the face of cyberbullying.

Download Lesson Materials

Students learn that people their age sometimes think and behave differently in groups than they would if each person was alone. Students then examine the role of a bystander versus an upstander in a group cyberbullying situation. They try to understand the feelings of the target and develop a class pledge about what they will do if they witness cyberbullying.

Students will be able to ...

  • learn that people their age sometimes think and behave differently in groups.
  • try to understand the feelings of someone who is the target of cyberbullying.
  • generate ways to be upstanders when faced with cyberbullying.

Materials and Preparation

  • Copy the What Would You Do? Student Handout, one for each student.
  • Copy the Stand Up Student Handout, one for every four students.
     

Teaching Plans

introduction

Warm-up

ASK: Have you ever seen somebody break a rule or law?
Answers will vary.

ASK: What do you call a person who sees a bad thing happening but is not the victim or the person who is doing the bad thing?
Accept reasonable answers. Students may be able to offer words such as witness, observer, or bystander.

 
DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term bystander and tell the students that they are going to learn more about what bystanders can do to take action when kids are mean to each other online.

 

teach 1

What Would You Do?

DISTRIBUTE the What Would You Do? Student Handout. Have students read Part I, which is the scenario about the sleepover at Jesse’s home.

HAVE students write and share their answers to the four questions in Part I.

LOOK for answers that show that students understand:

  • Jesse was probably very embarrassed when Anthony told a popular girl at school that Jesse liked her, especially because the girl probably told a lot of other people. (Also discuss how kids may act differently when they are in groups than by themselves.)
  • The boys watching Anthony may have been approving, disapproving, or too scared to stop him. The other kids at school probably teased both Jesse and Mai Yin.
  • The bystanders should have done something to stop Anthony or to help Jesse.

REVIEW with students the concept that kids in groups sometimes think and behave differently than they would if they were alone.

ASK: Why do you think people sometimes behave differently in groups?
Sample responses:

  • They don’t want to be different.
  • They don’t want to stand out and become a target.
  • They want approval; they want to be liked.
  • They think that others won’t realize it’s them and therefore they can get away with more.

EXPLAIN that the bigger the group of bystanders is, the less likely it is that any one of them will try to help.

ASK: Why do you think this is true?
Sample responses:

  • Because when there are more people, there is more pressure for everyone to go along with the crowd; it’s harder and scarier to disagree.

 

teach 2

What Would You Do, Part II

DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term upstander.

INSTRUCT students to read Part II of the What Would You Do Student Handout.

HAVE students write and share their answers to the three questions on the handout.

LOOK for answers that show that students understand:

  • Anthony’s behavior probably turns to cyberbullying when he sends out the 15 text messages. At that point, Jesse feels like he cannot get away. Also, the messages that Anthony writes posing as Jesse are clearly mean and not just good-natured teasing.
  • Jesse may have felt sad, angry, or scared.
  • Some of the best things to do to take action are to (1) remind the person who is cyberbullying that the target will be hurt or angry, (2) say out loud that it is not okay to cyberbully, (3) tell a trusted adult (someone who will help you handle the situation), and (4) try to understand the feelings of the target, and talk to that person about how they feel.

DIVIDE students into small groups and ask them to pretend they are bystanders at Jesse’s sleepover. Ask them each to role-play what they could say and do to make the situation either worse or better. Have each group record their answers and share them with the class (or ask a group to act out a role play with someone portraying Jesse).

MAKE a chart for the class listing the key points each group gives. Such points may include:

     What Bystanders Can SAY OR DO to Make Things Worse

  • Jesse will be really embarrassed if we tell
  • Tell the cyberbully to do it again
  • Tell the cyberbully to do it to someone else
  • Laugh
  • Pretend they don’t know what’s going on
  • Do nothing to stop it

     What Bystanders Can SAY OR DO to Make Things Better

  • Tell the cyberbully to stop
  • Refuse to help the cyberbully
  • Try to help Jesse, the target of the bully 
  • Tell a trusted adult

 

teach 3

Stand Up

ORGANIZE students into groups of four. Have each group choose one person to record their answers.

DISTRIBUTE the Stand Up Student Handout, one to every group of four students.

INVITE students to make a pledge about how they will deal with cyberbullying as a class if it occurs. You can also ask each group to create the pledge together on a Google Doc (docs.google.com).

 

closing

Wrap-up

You can use these questions to assess your students’ understanding of the lesson objectives. You may want to ask students to reflect in writing on one of the questions, using a journal or an online blog/wiki.

ASK: What is a bystander to cyberbullying?
Someone who sees, hears, or knows about cyberbullying but is not the bully or the target.

ASK: What are some ways bystanders can make cyberbullying worse?
By laughing, encouraging the bully, or making fun of the target.

ASK: What are some ways bystanders can be upstanders when they witness cyberbullying?
By discouraging the bully, supporting the target, or telling a trusted adult.

ASK: What are some things that our class will do to be upstanders when we witness cyberbullying?
Answers will vary.

Extension Activity

Have students find a news story about cyerbullying that contains a cyberbully, a target, and a bystander. Ask them to read through the article and identify the characters. They should then share their stories with the class and explain how they arrived at their labels. You also may want to bring in articles to help spark ideas.

At-Home Activity

Have students visit Webonauts (www.pbskids.org/webonauts/) and play the game at home with a parent or family member. (Webonauts is a site created by PBS Kids that teaches kids what it means to be a citizen in a web- infused, information-rich world.) If students do not have Internet access at home, you can use this as an extension activity in school. After students have played the game, ask them the following questions: What does it mean to be a good citizen online? What does it mean to show respect for others, and how can you do this online?
 

Common Core: coming soon!

NETS•S: 2a-b, 5a, 5d