Combating cyber bullying

Bullying is fast getting over taken by cyber bullying, online bullying with a far greater reach. This is what came from Year 6 (11 year old) pupils this week when I led a session to explore cyber bullying.

We started the lesson with pupils discussing what they thought constituted bullying. They came up with the usual responses of insulting behaviour or ignoring somebody. This soon spread into the difference between being unkind and bullying. Bullying required, according to the pupils, an ongoing or repetitive element.

Then we watched the following video to move our conversation forward to consider cyber bullying. This video likens cyber bullying to a virus spreading and it was this image that really succeeded in elevating the pupils’ conversations.

Children really engaged with the idea of cyber bullying being like a virus and then made the connection between that image and their earlier observation that bullying required an ongoing or repetitive element. They understood that a comment on a class “Whatsapp” group or other social media page had a reach of up to 25 pupils (our class size). Assuming just one or two of those shared, the reach would be multiplied and after the first posting the author quickly looses track of the potential reach.

The pupils themselves arrived at the conclusion that:

Only one offensive or insulting remark online may be enough to constitute bullying because of the ‘virus’ nature illustrated in the video above. The comment is already visible to a larger audience and therefore it already has the repetitive or ongoing element that makes it bullying.

Sometimes, you throw a starter into a lesson and the learning comes from the pupils themselves with little or no further guidance needed.

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