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Stopping Cyberbullying

Background Information

This module will help teach kids how to detect signs of cyberbullying and how to react when they find it. It builds on work that suggests that being an "upstander" in situations of bullying can go a long way toward getting bullying to stop.

Cyberbullying can be described harassing or demeaning behavior that occurs online or via information technology, and is often repeated. Unfortunately, it is fairly common among teens. Cyberbullying can take the form of negative comments from a stranger, or posting embarrassing pictures of your friend. Things that are meant to come off in a joking manner can have negative consequences. Researchers have found that encouraging "upstanding" behavior, rather than "bystanding", can help mitigate cyberbullying.

Communication technologies can be a positive space for teens to interact and grow, but it can also be a space filled with negativity. It is important that this module teach teens how to maintain positive interactions and to stop any possible negativity that may ensue.

Introduction/Identifying Cyberbullying Questions

Upstanding Behavior Questions

Activity Prep (Responding to Cyberbullying) Questions

Activity: Be an Upstander

In this activity, we're going to look at a social media site and see how others interact. On this site, like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, everyone can see each other's posts, including your friends, parents, coaches or teachers, and other people.

Your job is to decide whether the posts people share are appropriate. Particularly, are they hurtful? Are they unnecessarily rude or mean? Do they make you worried? Do you see any personal attacks? Flag any posts you think are bad and should be deleted.

If you see someone saying something you think is rude or mean, you can reply to their post to tell them how to improve their behavior. If you see that someone has been hurt by another's actions, you can reply to their posts to offer help or support. You might see that other people are replying to people's posts. You can add to those conversations too.

If you see someone saying something that's kind or supportive, or someone who is standing up against cyberbullying, you can "like" their post to tell them they're doing a good job.

After you're done scrolling through the news feed and offering feedback, click "next." You'll get a chance to review the posts you have reacted to.

Any questions?

Optional Activity: Say Something Positive

If they complete the News Feed activity early, participants can make their own posts on the site that use the upstanding skills they've learned.

Post-Activity Discussion

Review the types of posts you commented on.

Post-Activity Questions

What do you think are the consequences of cyberbullying? For the victim? For the bully? Think about the websites you go on or the social media sites you use. Do you ever see cyberbullying happen on those sites? What will you do to stop it?

How is being an upstander different offline and online? What are things that we need to think carefully about when trying to stop a cyberbully? (anonymity, retaliation, etc)

Compiled October 2017 by the Cornell Social Media Lab - sml.comm.cornell.edu

Feedback is welcome!