1. Talk about cyberbullying to your class.
- If you’re not sure how to introduce the subject, you’ll find an excellent lesson plan to open the discussion Cybersmart Curriculum Web Site. It includes printable activity sheets and guided discussion suggestions.
- Alternately, you could open the discussion with online videos. The Netsmartz videos include activity cards and related articles.
2. Walk the walk. Set clear guidelines for acceptable use of the internet in class, and clear consequences for misuse, and enforce them.
- you might want to base your discussion on the guidelines laid out by the school or district's acceptable use policy.
3. Strike at the assumption of anonymity that fuels a lot of cyber-bullying.
- Explain to your class how identities of users can be tracked through IP addresses, email headers and other information. No one is REALLY anonymous on the web – there are always ways to track malicious users down.
- Make sure that your students understand that if they send email, post on a bulletin board, send text message or otherwise harass another student, they CAN be caught.
4. Attack the notion that ‘it’s all just a prank’.
- Students should be aware that it is illegal to make threats of physical harm via email, text messaging or the internet, and that it may be illegal to post derogatory information about someone with the intent of doing them harm.
5. Emphasize kindness and courtesy in all communications. Bring the effects of online bullying home in a way that students can understand. Use news stories about cyberbullying to open discussions with students and ask questions like:
- How would you feel if this happened to you?
- What would your mother think if she knew you were doing this?
- How would you feel if you posted a web page like that, and the newspapers reported that you did it?
6. Make it easy for students to report cyber-bullying that they witness or are part of without fear of retaliation.
- Provide a way for them to report abuse anonymously. Let them know that any report made – anonymously or not – will be taken seriously and investigated, and that their privacy as a reporter will be respected.
7. Make lessons about internet safety a part of your regular curriculum.
- Don’t stop with ‘don’t reveal personal information’, though. Make sure that students know the steps to take if they are being harassed, intimidated or targeted for ridicule through IMs, email, text messages or on web sites.