For this class, it is possible to place the seats in a circle so the students understand that today’s topic is not ordinary and has a special value. Pay attention to the fact that the room must have enough space to place 6 tables for a short group work. The lesson is based on action-oriented work with students. The students don’t receive the learning content from only the teacher, they are encouraged to create activities by themselves. During the training, they can always involve their own experience, thoughts and point of views. In addition, the cooperative working forms and the discussion elements during the training give the opportunity to gain social skills such as teamwork, resolving conflicts and empathy.
Watch the video “Let’s fight it together” on (www.klicksafe.de) together with the students. Pause the video at 5:05 and ask the students how they think the video will end. The following answers are possible:
- He commits suicide.
- The mother finds him in time.
- The mother calls the police or asks for help and saves him.
Important: Gather the answers and leave them without any comment from yourself. You may hear from the students who think that the boy from the video commits suicide and from those who believe that somebody helps him in time.
Resume the video and give the students a few minutes to rationalise what they have already seen. Discuss together the following questions:
- How does the situation end?
- How did it become cyberbullying? What was the trigger?
- What kind of methods did the perpetrators use? How did they feel?
- How does the victim react? Which feelings could be seen?
- Are there any students who didn't participate (the so-called bystanders)? If yes, please, describe how they may have felt.
Direction: On the last page of this document you will receive additional questions concerning the separate participants in the video.
2. Definitions of concepts
Together with the students, give life to the concept of cyberbullying. Write the term in the middle of the table, then gather the powerful answers of the students around the concept in a mind-map style.
What occurs to you when you hear the concept of cyberbullying? What does cyberbullying mean?
3. Differences between bullying and cyberbullying
Draw a clear line on the word “cyberbullying” to divide the word into the words CYBER and BULLYING. Explain the differences between the concepts of bullying and cyberbullying. Tell also about the similarities.
Questions that can help:
- What is the difference between “regular” bullying and cyberbullying?
- Are there any similarities?
- Is one worse than the other?
- it still exists, but the parties stand face to face
- Victims and perpetrators are clearly defined.
- There is a physical and/or psychological imbalance between victim and perpetrator
- the people who are involved are clear
- there are resting phases (for example at home, away from school)
- the reactions of the victim are directly visible
- a new form of bullying which happens through the progress of the new media
- The bullying doesn't happen face to face, it happens through the modern means of communication (Internet or cellphone)
- relatively simple, quick and wide dissemination of information
- the people who are involved aren't visible
- does not end at the door of the house but follows the victim up to the bed
- once the data has been entered, it could be permanently saved in the network.
- perpetrators can act anonymously
- victim's reactions aren't directly visible
- the victim also can't see the perpetrator and assess the situation, if it is just a “mistake” (for example the perpetrator doesn't want to provoke a big wave of comments with the posted photo)
- it occurs for a longer period of time
- intentional insulting, threatening, defamation and others
- victims and perpetrators often know each other in the “real” world
- Usually, a bigger problem grows from the disagreement (interpersonal conflicts/differences are a common reason for this)
- the perpetrator uses the victim as an outlet for accumulated aggressions (“I am the boss”)
- Bystanders often don't dare getting involved because they are afraid of becoming a victim themselves, or they do not know how to react, or they do not feel directly concerned (they look away)
- Possible consequences of cyberbullying: school anxiety, sleep disorders, loss of self-confidence, negative thoughts and possibly even suicide
On the basis of: www.jugend-und-bildung.de (S. 6-7)
If necessary, talk about the legal situation in your country. In general there isn't any law that defines cyberbullying as a crime, but there are separate aspects of cyberbullying that could be brought to punishment by the law (for example blackmail).
The legal situation in Germany (background information):
What does the German law say?
Currently there isn't any law that directly punishes cyberbullying. But it doesn't mean that there aren't legal consequences for these actions. Some aspects of the different forms of cyberbullying give an opportunity to take legal actions. But it should be clarified in advance whether the bullying is being performed in public or private.
- videos/photos are posted without the agreement of the person who has been recorded
→ violation of the right to privacy and the right to one's own image
- insults or dissemination of lies in social networks, forums and others
→ court interdiction or filing a complaint for defamation
- constant insults/harassment by e-mails, instant messenger or SMS
→ under particular circumstances, the anti-stalking law can enter into effect.
As a general rule:
Threats, blackmail and coercion are crimes! No matter what kind of media has been used or whether it happens in public or in private. For these incidents the parents, teachers and especially the police should be informed.
On the basis of: www.klicksafe.de
4. Examples of cyberbullying
Ask your students about examples from their immediate environment / everyday life. Do they know anybody from their circle of friends or from the class / school?
Summarise what happened, the reactions to the environment and the feelings of the participants.
5. Group work on the different actors' points of views
Divide the class into six equal groups. If your class cannot to this on its own, use some of your proven methods. One of the six groups should consist of girls only, and one of boys only.
Give out the following topics or let the group decide which topic they want to work on. The distribution of the topics should depend on the structure of the class. Decide which option is the best. Exceptions are the groups with the same sex (see Gr. 1 & 2). These groups cannot choose their topics freely.
Dividing the groups:
- Gr. 1: What can and must I do as a victim? (group of girls)
- Gr. 2: What can and must I do as a victim? (group of boys)
- Gr.3: What are the possible reasons/triggers/causes?
- Gr. 4: What can the classmates do?
- Gr. 5: What can and must the teachers do? (in advance as well as in an actual case)
- Gr. 6: What can and must the parents do? (in advance as well as in an actual case)
Hand out a poster (piece of a puzzle) to each student group, at least one thick marker and the appropriate topic card with a task to each group. The topic, optionally the names of the students and the class should be written on the poster. In order to quicken the working process you can leave your students stick the topic cards prepared in advance on the poster.
6. Presentation of the results of group work
Each group has time to present thoughts and results. Depending on the class structure, the presenter should be a student chosen from the group or the whole group.
After the presentation you should provide the class with enough time for additional suggestions, questions and discussions. However look at the clock so that every group has enough time for presentation.
Notes: If in the 3rd group, the question about social problems has been mentioned, let the students explain it, because this concept could be defined in many different ways. In addition, during the presentation of results, it is possible that the students ask if the perpetrator is a “poor soul”. As it is often pointed in the students’ answers, they might have grown up in a broken family, they aren't popular and so on. When your students see the things exactly like you do, ask the question if you could help the victim to handle the situation when they realise this!
For the 4th group, it should be noted that the topic of courage has to be addressed with the students. You need courage to fight against cyberbullying! You shouldn't just look the other way. But where does courage come from? Courage comes from knowing the cause and from social skills like empathy, sense of justice and so on.
7. Establishing class rules
Work out with the class behaviour rules in the classroom and hang them up on a visible spot on the wall. Lay for this purpose a poster prepared in advance shape like a smartphone (representing the new media) with the title: Cyberbullying – not to us! (see below). Summarise together with the class the most important conclusions and let them write the supporting points on each of the post-its. Put the collected summaries on the poster and hang it up in the classroom.
8. Feedback questionnaire
Let the students fill an anonymous feedback questionnaire at the end of the class. Pay attention that the students work by themselves without any help from their schoolmates. Collect the questionnaires.