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Play a game of Chinese Whispers, using the phrase ‘Take care when you share, if in doubt speak out.’
Extension. Split the class into two and have the two teams race each other to relay the message quickest.
Discuss the accuracy of the final message compared to the initial message. Explain that when things are shared online, they can be taken out of context and distorted in the same way.
Ask children if they can think of any other ways in which online messages can be misinterpreted compared to real life conversations? For example:
• No body language or gestures.
• No tone of voice to articulate meaning.
• Can’t check that someone has understood by their reaction, as you don’t see their reaction.
Note: This discussion serves as a baseline for teachers to ascertain how much their class know and what they might need to focus on. Depending on class knowledge, teachers might need to input more or less about what chatting online actually involves, in order to make the rest of the lesson most beneficial.
Ask if anyone has used a game or app that involves chatting online – how did they find this? Was it easy or hard to work out what someone really meant from their messages? (If no one has experience with chatting online use texting as an example of written digital communication instead).
Remind children that most social media sites have a minimum age of 13, but that they might have picked up some pros and cons of social media from their families. Ask children to share their thoughts on this now.
Extension. Give an opinionated statement for children to debate, e.g. ‘Nobody should be allowed to send written messages online/by text, everything should be said in a phone call or face to face.’
This activity should show children that cyberbullying is very much like bullying in person, but with some key differences. In Appendix 1, the space inside the body represents a bully in real life and the space outside the body represents a cyberbully.
1. Give one copy of Appendix 1: Cyberbully, to each group. Children should write inside the body outline of the ‘Bully’ different things a bully might do in person. E.g. tease and call names, deliberately leave people out etc.
2. Share these ideas across the class with each group adding anything else they hadn’t thought of to their ‘Bully’ outline.
3. Introduce the term ‘cyberbullying’ and click to reveal the definition:
• Cyberbullying means bullying through technology. This can include online sites and services, games and phones. Cyberbullying can feel more hurtful than other forms of bullying as it can happen 24/7 and may seem impossible to get away from.
• Cyberbullies will often say worse things online than a bully would dare to say face to face, and their actions can actually carry more consequences when said online, because there is evidence.
• As with other forms of bullying, it is not a one-off or isolated event, but repeated attempts to upset or harass someone.
4. Ask the class to look back at their list about bullies in person, and see how many points relate to cyberbullying too. They should write these again around the outside of the body. Add any cyberbullying specifics to this list throughout the session.
This activity helps children to understand and articulate how it might feel to be on the receiving end of cyberbullying.
1. In advance of the session, write or print these words onto A4 paper and pin up around the room: Helpless, embarrassed, confused, afraid, angry, proud, upset, annoyed, small.
2. Show children these emotions written on pieces of paper around the room.
3. Read out a Scenario (below), and ask children to move to the emotion they think the recipient would feel.
4. Discuss with several children why they are standing where they are, using the following as applicable to broaden their answers:
• Is there any information or context missing?
• Is this person a friend and is it meant to be a joke? If so how does it look to people who don’t know that?
• Does it make you feel worse to know that other people will see the comments online?
• Do the comments make you worry about what might happen next?
5. Extension. Repeat this exercise, looking at it from the point of view of the sender – how might they have been feeling when they sent it? If they were angry was the internet the best place to go?
• Your Mum shares a picture of you with your family at a wildlife park on the weekend. She’s just showing you the picture when you see that an older child from your swimming club has commented saying, ‘Omg why did you go there? LAME.’
• Imagine you are old enough to use Facebook and you share a funny video thinking everyone will love it too. You receive several negative comments, like ‘So boring’, ‘Why would anyone find this funny?’, ‘This is stupid, not funny.’
• Someone from your class at school messages you privately saying, ‘No one likes you, loser!’
• A stranger comments on a photo of you on your Dad’s Instagram saying ‘You are so ugly’ and 15 people like it.
• You keep receiving messages from a number you don’t know saying ‘Nobody likes you. You smell. You’re an idiot.’
This activity helps children to understand the difference between bullying and banter: Explain that ‘banter’ is the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks. Highlight that banter can sometimes be difficult to spot online, as we don’t have tone of voice or body language to help us understand!
In groups, children must sort the cut out scenarios from Appendix 2: Bullying or Banter into Bullying or Banter columns.
Compare results and discuss reasons across the class.
Explain that cyberbullying on its own is not illegal but there are some actions which are. For example, a death threat online is illegal as are comments about someone’s sexuality, race, gender and disability, as these are classed as hate crimes.
Children should complete the Cyberbullying activity in their Module 2 Activity Workbook.
Today’s activity provides an opportunity for children to raise any personal experiences of cyberbullying and to offer advice to people affected by cyberbullying, whether as victim, friend or cyberbully.
It is advisable for children to complete these workbook activities independently. You might like to play music in the background to encourage focus, before bringing the class back together to conclude.
This final summing up activity helps children to know what steps they can take to keep themselves and others safe from cyberbullies. Ask for volunteers to share some of the advice they have written in their workbooks, and ensure key learning points are covered for:
If you are being cyberbullied:
• Tell a trusted adult
• Block or delete the contact
• Save the evidence (you can take screen shots to do this)
• Never reply
If you think someone you know is being cyberbullied:
• Tell a trusted adult
• Support the person and let them know they are not alone
• Make it clear that these messages are not ok
• Show others good online behaviour by writing positive, encouraging comments
If you think you may have shared something that has upset someone:
• Remove the content
• Apologise to the person and explain that you won’t do it again – and then don’t do it again!
Help children learn and understand the phrase written at the bottom of their workbook pages: ‘Report… but don’t delete, reply or meet’.
Then remind pupils that if they ever need to speak to someone about something that is bothering them they should talk to a trusted adult. If for some reason they feel they can’t talk to an adult they know, they could always phone Childline for a chat 0800 1111 or contact Childline online.
Click to play the song for this Unit: Be My Stronghold