Cyberbullying Activities

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Cyberbullying affects many teens at some point during their online lives. Use these activities with middle or high school students to help them understand the motivations, preventative measures, and available resources related to cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying Activities

Many of your middle or high school students may have been affected by cyberbullying; some may have been the perpetrators of such harassment. Help them understand the differences between online and face-to-face communication, the importance of standing up for people, even in the virtual world, and resources they can use to combat cyberbullying. The first activity is designed for individuals, the second for teams, and the third for partners.

Upstander vs. Bystander Journals

  • Materials: upstander and bystander scenarios, reflection sheet, journal entry guidelines

In this activity, students will reflect on their own virtual choices by journaling about a cyberbullying scenario. Begin by providing students with a set of scenarios that detail young people acting as upstanders or bystanders. The scenarios can be open-ended or they can have a clear conclusion. For example, you may provide students with a scenario in which they have to choose whether to be a bystander or an upstander. Alternatively, you may give them a scenario in which someone made the choice to be a bystander and ask them to reflect on how they could have behaved differently.

Provide adequate time for students to complete their journal entries. Then, partner or team students so they can share their responses. Wrap up by asking students to reflect on their own online behavior and determine if there was a situation in which they were a bystander or how they can be an upstander in a current or future situation.

Online Disinhibition Effect

  • Materials: explanation of the online disinhibition effect (text or multimedia), scenario examples

In this activity, student teams will discuss the components of the online disinhibition effect, which essentially asserts that our online behavior is different from our real-world behavior. Begin by providing students with a scenario in which two people get into a virtual altercation. It could be a political post that results in a series of aggressive responses, a picture that elicits negative comments, or a damaging rumor that spreads like wildfire. For added support, provide multiple examples. Ask students to determine whether the scenario character would have done the same thing in real life that they did virtually. Most likely, the answer will be a resounding no.

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