For these lessons, it is recommended that the pupils sit in a circle. This way they will know that today’s topic is not usual but has a special value. The lesson is based on action-oriented work with students. The students don’t receive the learning content from the teacher only, they are encouraged to contribute to the lesson. During the training, they can always bring up their own experience, thoughts and point of views. In addition, the cooperative working forms and the recurring discussion elements during the training give the opportunity to gain social skills such as teamwork, resolving conflicts and empathy.
At the beginning of the lesson you represent a typical scene of bullying with small figures (for example Lego or Playmobil). Put in the middle of the circle of chairs around 10 small figures in a pile. Put aside another separate figure in a sad body posture, who looks sad, if possible (you can draw a face if necessary).
First of all, ask the students what they see in the middle of the circle. Collect the different answers given by the students and ask about their feelings about the isolated figure. If the students don’t come to the concept of bullying by themselves, work it out together with the students, using target-oriented questions.
Explain to the students that today, they are going to deal with a special form of bullying. Leave the separate letters of the word “cyberbullying” in disorder in the middle of the circle.
Let the students guess the word that have to be found. Help them, if necessary. When the students solve the riddle, put the letters on the table. If it is too difficult for the class, you can use the game Hangman as an alternative (see: www.wikipedia.org).In any case, the word cyberbullying should stay on the blackboard.
2. Puppet theater play
Divide the class into 5 groups:
- Gr. 1: 10 persons at least: Marie (main character) / Kasper / 2-3 friends (Franziska, Lotta, Suse) / Anne / 3-4 another schoolmates
- Gr. 2: 3-4 persons: Marie/2-3 girls
- Gr. 3: 3 persons: Marie/mother/Anne
- Gr. 4: 2 persons: Marie/mother
- Gr. 5: 3 persons: Marie/mother/Anne
Then distribute the following sheets of paper, where the five different scenes are being described, among the groups, as well as a basket with the appropriate number of puppets and all the necessary materials (see the box for each scene).
Direction: The story characters could be adapted to the available puppets! Puppets from fairy tales are also very suitable. As an alternative finger puppets or coloured figures fixed on a rod could be used.
The story: The damn photo
- To be read by the teacher:
- Marie is a happy girl, who goes in the 3rd/4th class of the “I am fine” school. She is very good at school, has a lot of friends and always enjoys playing with them. But one day something very stupid happens…
Scene 1 - Such a stupid school day
All student from the class 3a are happy. Today they won't have mathematics, but another lesson with their favourite teacher Mrs. Lustig. The weather is nice and they go out in the school yard. Marie plays ball with her friends when something happens…
The puppet actors:
- Marie and her friends are playing with the ball. They are laughing and having fun.
- Suddenly Marie stumbles and falls in a puddle with her face forward.
- Everybody's laughing at her except Anne.
- Marie cries.
- Kasper takes his cellphone out of the bag and takes a picture of Marie.
- Marie runs into the school building to wash her face.
- 7-10 puppets: Marie, Kasper, 2/3 friends and other students
- a plate with wet sand
- a ball to play with
- photo handy
Scene 2 - on the way back home
Marie is happy because the school day is over. Hurry home and forget about this day, she thinks.
The puppet actors:
- Marie goes home and is happy because the school day is over. I’ll call my mother to tell her I am on my way home.
- But what is this, a message from Kasper: Hello crybaby. You looked so stupid today. Hahaha…
- Oh no - thinks Marie. I didn't know that Kasper took a picture. I will show him!
- On the way she meets Franziska and her friends from 4th class. They are laughing at her stupidity. She don't understand what is going on.
- 5 puppets: Marie, Franziska and 2-3 friends
- photo handy
Scene 3 - finally at home
Marie asks her mother if she could use the computer to write to her friends…
The puppet actors:
- Marie goes to the PC and opens the chat forum. She want to write to Lisa. But what is going on? Lisa isn't in her friend list anymore.
- Marie is searching quickly, but Franziska cannot be found and neither can Lotte.
- Marie is sad. What is going on? she says.
- Suddenly Anne writes a message to Marie: Hello Marie, how are you? Is everything all right?
- Marie is happy and writes: I am fine. I try not to think about what has happened.
- Anne answers: I can understand. Do you want to go out for an ice cream?
- Yes I'd love to! writes Marie. I am coming to you.
- She leaves the chat.
- 2 puppets: Marie, Anne
- 2 computers
Scene 4 - Does the terrible day have a good ending?
Marie is over the moon. The afternoon with Anne was very cool. But she remembers that Franziska and Lotte still aren't in the chat forum. What is going on? I should sit at the PC again, Marie thinks…
The puppet actors:
- Marie sneaks to the PC and opens her profile in the student's network on the page of the school.
- But what does she see there? Kasper has posted the stupid photo from today everywhere.
- Oh no! says Marie. Now everybody could see it. And what nasty things everybody has written, even Franziska and Lotte! It is written: Ha ha, look at her ugly muddy face ☺. The eager beaver deserved it!
- Marie cries bitterly and leaves the chat quickly.
- Her mother comes in the room and asks, what is going on. But Marie says: Nothing, everything is fine.
- 2 puppets: Marie, mother
- One computer
Scene 5 - Does this terrible day have a good ending?
Marie cries herself to sleep and tries not think about tomorrow. What will happen…
The puppet actors:
- Marie wakes up and looks her cellphone: Oh, a new message in the class forum. Maybe some class is cancelled today. I should check immediately, says Marie.
- She reads in a loud voice: Hey people, join the group “Marie with her ugly face in the mud”. It is very funny. Franzi
- She is sitting on the bed and crying.
- Her mother comes in the room. Worried, she says: Marie, please, tell me now, what is going on!
- Marie tells her mother everything. Then somebody rings the doorbell and Anne appears: Marie, I think what is going on is absolutely stupid…
- 3 puppets Marie, Mother, Anne
- photo handy
After the students have received the sheets where the scenes are described, they can rehearse their scenes for 10-15 minutes. Finally each group presents its scene in front of the class.
After each scene, take a little break and discuss with the class how the participants felt and what they could do in a different way.
After the last scene, the students could be asked to play the puppet show to the end, or to discuss it in class.
An alternative: instead of the puppet theater, the students could be shown the video “The Revenge” on http://www.sheeplive.eu/ and finally comment what happened in the class, and also share the feelings of the participants.
3. Definitions of concepts
Together with the students, give life to the concept of cyberbullying. Gather sensible, expressive terms. Write them down on colourful post-its and put them as a mind map on the table. Help your little students by drawing their attention to the puppet show, where the concept is well described.
Cyberbullying, what is this exactly?
4. 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.
- 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
5. 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?
Pay attention to the events, reactions to the environment and the feelings of the participants. Be careful because the students are very young. Don't scare them!
6. Tunnel of Insults (only if there is enough time)
The students are asked to write on a piece of paper (with a ribbon glued onto it) some swear word. After all students have written down their words, they all (with exception of the 5 volunteers) build a tunnel. Under the command of teacher, the 5 volunteers with arms outstretched, go through the tunnel and become verbally overwhelmed with the other students’ offensive words.
At the end of this exercise have a reflection on what happened between the students. First, ask the 5 volunteers how they felt and then ask the “perpetrators” about their feelings during the action.
7. Your tracks on the web
Discuss the footprints at the beginning of the class. Ask the students what connection they have with them. Draw the students’ attention by comparing tracks in the real and in the virtual world. In both cases, tracks are being left, sometimes it is difficult to get rid of them!
Use this opportunity to discuss rules of behaviour on the Internet: what has to be taken into account when personal data is being asked,when posting pictures, etc.
8. Establishing class rules
Make a poster with the rules of behaviour in the class and hang it up at the end of the lesson in a visible place. For this purpose, lay a poster you have already prepared in advance (see below) on a table in the middle of the circle of chairs with the title: Cyberbullying – it can't happen to us!. Summarise, together with the students, the most important conclusions under the captions below and write them on the poster. Finally, let your students sign the poster and hang it up on the wall in the classroom.
Cyberbullying - it can't happen to us!
- Names of the students
- Names of the students
Elementary school ... ...
We are careful with our data!
- My data (address, telephone number, e-mail) belong to me
- I don't post embarrassing photos on the web
- I only have friends I know in the real life
We are against cyberbullying!
- We are friendly and respectful to each other!
- When somebody is being bullied, we help him/her... .
9. Feedback questionnaire
For future work with students, it is very useful to make a reflection about the lesson at the end of the class. Ask the students the questions from the following feedback questionnaire and summarise the answers with key words.