Share this example: A 12 year old girl in Florida, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, was repeatedly bullied at school and online by as many as 15 girls. An older girl began dating Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend and then led Rebecca’s best friend in turning against her and even beat her up at school. Rebecca switched schools but could not escape the harassment online. She eventually jumped off a tower to her death. The two main perpetrators, a 14 year old and 12 year old girl were arrested although charges were eventually dropped.
Experiences with Cyberbullying
Have students get into pairs to discuss the following questions before discussing with the whole group:
- Have you ever witnessed cyberbullying? What happened? How did you feel about it?
- Did you intervene? Why or why not?
- What did you feel for the cyberbullying target?
- Have you ever been targeted by cyberbullying?
- How did it make you feel? Is it ongoing? If not, what made the bully/bullies stop?
- How can you protect yourself from cyberbullying? ignore and/or block the bully/bullies; protect your passwords and other sensitive information; consider who sees your posts before posting; seek support from trusted friends; report the bully to the network, parents, teachers, and/or the school.
- What can you do if you are being cyberbullied?
- Have you ever participated in cyberbullying? What made you do it? How did it make you feel?
- How does cyberbullying affect the larger environment, including at school?
- Why do you think people cyberbully?
- How have adults in your experience reacted to instances of cyberbullying among teenagers?
- What are productive ways to intervene in cyberbullying? Suggest these answers to your students if they do not offer them:
- directly intervene by defending the target and/or opposing the bully
- communicate with the target of the bullying and provide words of encouragement and support. Let them know they are not alone
- get help. Report the bully to the network, parents, teachers, and/or the school.
- You can also share information from this webpage: http://www.eyesonbullying.org/bystander.html