What to Do About Cyberbullying (20 minutes)
DISTRIBUTE the STOP Cyberbullying Student Handout, one for every student.
GUIDE students through the scenario on the handout. After allowing students time to read it on their own, you may wish to read it aloud.
Jada’s parents let her play on a website where she can take care of a pet pony and decorate its stall. Her friend Michael has played with her in the past and knows her user name and password. One day Jada goes to the site to care for her pony. She finds that her pony’s stall is a mess and that there are some things missing.
ENCOURAGE the class to answer the questions on their handouts. Invite them to share their answers.
ASK: What do you think happened?
Students should conclude that Michael went to the website himself and messed up the pony’s stall.
ASK: How do you think this made Jada feel?
Students should recognize that Michael’s behavior probably made Jada feel upset, sad, angry, or let down by her friend.
DIRECT students’ attention to the four rules for dealing with cyberbullying at the bottom of their STOP Cyberbullying Student Handout. Use the following questions to guide discussion.
ASK: How will you know when someone is cyberbullying you?
Students should recognize that they may be experiencing cyberbullying whenever someone does something online that makes them feel sad, scared, angry, or upset in any way.
ASK: Why do you think it is important to stop using the computer when someone starts cyberbullying you?
Students should realize that if they stay online, the cyberbullying may continue or get worse.
ASK: If someone makes you feel angry, sad, or scared online, which grown-ups can you tell and ask for help?
Students may name parents or grandparents, an older sister or brother, a teacher, or the school nurse or counselor. If students cannot think of someone right away, help them brainstorm and identify an appropriate adult.
ASK: Why is it important to go online only with an adult, or when an adult says it is OK?
Students should recognize that adults can help guide them online and keep them safe from cyberbullying.
ASK: How can you decide whether you should play or chat with someone online?
Students should acknowledge that they need adult guidance in deciding who to connect with online. If someone is very mean to them, or is mean repeatedly, then that person is a cyberbully and should not be contacted online. Remind students that they should never talk to strangers online either without asking a trusted adult, even if that person is nice or has shared interests.
ASK: Which of the four things do you think is the most important?
Students should recognize that telling an adult is the single most important thing they should do if they experience or witness cyberbullying.
REVISIT the scenario in the STOP Cyberbullying Student Handout, and have students apply the S-T-O-P rules to Jada’s situation.
- Jada should STOP using the computer.
- Jada should TELL an adult she trusts what happened.
- Jada should not go back online or return to the pony website until an adult says it is OK.
- If Jada and Michael are good friends, Jada may want to tell Michael how his actions made her feel, after she gets advice from an adult.
- But if Michael continues cyberbullying her, she should play with other kids who don’t take part in cyberbullying.