Media Awareness Network has developed a series of lessons, in English and in French, to give students a better understanding of the ethical and legal implications of cyberbullying and to promote positive Internet use. Intended to support and enhance school-based anti-bullying and empathy-building programs, Cyberbullying: Encouraging ethical online behaviour comprises the following:
Introduction to Cyberbullying: Avatars and Identity Grades 5-6
With the layering of identity through the use of nicknames and avatars, as well as a sense of anonymity, it is easy for young people to sometimes forget that real people—with real feelings—are at the heart of online conversations. In this lesson, students are provided with opportunities to explore this concept and discuss the importance of using empathy and common sense when talking to others online.
Understanding Cyberbullying – Virtual vs. Physical Worlds Grades 7-8
In this lesson, students explore the concept of cyberbullying and learn how the attributes associated with online communication may fuel inappropriate or bullying behaviour. Connections between other contributing factors to bullying—online and offline—are also reinforced as students develop an understanding of the role played by bystanders and the ways in which our own responses may fuel or stop this kind of behaviour. As a class, students establish a class “code of (N)ethics” for online conduct.
Cyberbullying and the Law Grades 7-8 and Grades 9-12 (two lessons)
In these lessons, secondary and middle school students learn about and discuss the legal aspects of cyberbullying. They review a variety of hypothetical scenarios and a case study, and consider the seriousness of the situations, who is legally responsible, what action (if any) should be taken and by whom. To determine this, students will seek answers to the following questions: How does cyberbullying differ from offline bullying? What aspects of a cyberbullying case make it a cause for legal action? What determines whether it is a civil or a criminal matter? How should rights to freedom of expression, guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, be balanced against rights to security of person? When and how are schools responsible for cyberbullying cases?
Cyberbullying and Civic Participation Grades 7-8
This lesson allows students to explore the concept of civic participation in the creation of Canadian laws through a study of the consultation process found in the Canada Gazette. Students will create their own School Gazette by proposing and discussing rules against cyberbullying at school.
Promoting Ethical Online Behaviour: Our Values and Ethics Grades 7-9
In this 3-part lesson, students learn about online privacy and ethical behaviour by exploring their digital footprints to better understand how our online interactions may not be as anonymous as we think they are. In Part One, students create a digital map of their Web-based activities and the various characters and personas they assume online. In Part Two, students further assess the privacy and ethics of their online activities by applying their cyber-portraits to a questionnaire and, in Part Three, students look at areas in their virtual lives where they can make improvements.
Cyberbullying: Encouraging Ethical Online Behaviour is also supported by a number of backgrounders, based on current research. These include:
A general Cyberbullying Backgrounder for teachers
A backgrounder for teachers outlining Cyberbullying-Rights and Responsibilities
A Cyberbullying and the Law Fact Sheet
A Parents’ Guide to Cyberbullying
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