Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Learning about Cyberbullying

In 6th grade we've had increasing reports of inappropriate behavior happening on cell phones and online after school.  In order to prevent cyberbullying and help students be aware of the dangers of cyberbullying, I found a great lesson on CommonSense Media called "Cyberbullying: Crossing the Line.  This lesson helped students learn to distinguish good-natured teasing from cyberbullying by analyzing online bullying behaviors that "cross the line," learning about the various ways that students can be cyberbullied and adopting the point of view of teens who have been cyberbullied and offer solutions.

We started by discussing,
  1. What are some of the ways that you and your friends tease each other online for fun?
  2. When does teasing "cross the line" and become harmful?
  3. What are some signs, and what does it feel like to be in that situation?
We then watched the video "Stacey's Story - When Rumors Escalate."  After the video I mixed up the students into small groups and had them discuss the following:
  • Why did the girls start to harass and threaten Stacey online in the first place?
  • When do you think the girls' behavior "crossed the line"?
  • Stacey says, "People talk really big, when there's like, miles between you." What do you think she means by this statement?
  • In what ways might the online context make the situation worse than if the bully had harassed Stacey offline?
  • Stacey's mom says that Stacey should call the school and report the incidents.  Stacey responds that it would "just make it worse." Do you think this is true?  Why or why not?
Afterward we shared our discussions with the group.  We expanded our discussion to how cyberbullying is different from bullying and what steps to take if something sent to us "crosses the line."

Finally we watched this informational video from stopbullying.gov:

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