Cyberbullying: ctrl+ alt + delete

Goal of the exercise: To raise awareness about what cyber bullying is, in order to understand the different aspects of the problem; To experience and reflect on the individual consequences (especially psychological) caused by cyber bullying; To develop a critical thinking on cyber bullying, to prevent and take action against it at different levels (personal, community, national).
Age of the participants: 13+
Number of participants: at least 4
Duration of the exercise: at least 20 minutes
Materials: A4 paper sheets, markers, post-its, pens, scissors, thread, glue, a laptop

Step by step

Introduction: 5 minutes

“Cyber bullying: Ctrl + Alt + Delete” is a role playing activity. There are two different stories on cyber bullying. In each story we have a “victim” and at least one “cyberbully”. The facilitator gives each participant a paper with a role written on it, a white sheet with the name of their character (it would be better to draw a screen on the sheet because it symbolizes the screen of a computer, a smartphone, a tablet) and the picture of the character (pictures can be random, and can be found online).

Role Plays for the activity:

Situation A
1 A. You are Hannah, a 14 years old girl. You have posted some photos on Facebook and you have received sarcastic comments and insults regarding your weight and your skin color (your mother comes from India).
1 B. You are Samantha, a 14 years old girl. You have posted abusive comments on Hannah’s Facebook photos because of her weight and her skin color (her mother comes from India).
INSTRUCTIONS: you are a cyberbully. You have to put the post-its with your comments on your victim or write them directly on the sheet she has in front of her as fast as possible, to simulate real life scenarios.

Situation B
2 A. You are Kenneth, a gay. You were bullied by your classmates and online as well. You have received death threats by phone. The bullying began with an anti-gay Facebook group, created by your classmates.
2 B. You are John, Kenneth’s classmate. You created an anti-gay Facebook group and started bullying Kenneth, encouraging your classmates to do the same.
INSTRUCTIONS: you are a cyberbully. You have to put the post-its with your comments on your victim or write them directly on the sheet he has in front of him as fast as possible, to simulate real life scenarios.
2 C. You are Helen, Kenneth’s classmate. You used your mobile phone to text messages including death threats to Kenneth. You also joined the anti-gay Facebook group created by your friend John in order to insult Kenneth more in public.
INSTRUCTIONS: you are a cyberbully. You have to put the post-its with your comments on your victim or write them directly on the sheet he has in front of him as fast as possible, to simulate real life scenarios.
2 D. You are Ben, Kenneth’s classmate and friend. You are influenced by your classmates, especially John and Helen, who initiated an anti-gay campaign against Kenneth. Even though you are Kenneth’s friend, you find it difficult to resist the pressure from your classmates and from time to time you insult Kenneth at school and online because of his sexual orientation.
INSTRUCTIONS: you are a cyberbully. You have to put the post-its with your comments on your victim or write them directly on the sheet he has in front of him but not as fast as the other bullies.

Procedure: 8 minutes

  1. Participants read their paper, but they are not allowed to show it to the others.
  2. After reading, they put the sheet with the name around their neck and they start acting.
  3. The cyberbullies have to search for their victims and start quickly harassing them using post-its (attaching them on the body of the victim) or writing directly on the sheet of their victims.
  4. The victims are free to react as they want.

Debriefing: 7 minutes

After few minutes, the facilitator stops the activity, gets the participants out of their roles and makes a circle with all the participants, creating a reflection group. The facilitator guides the debate through questions both for the victims and the bullies, especially based on how they felt, what they thought cyber bullying is and how they can act against it. The facilitator, who leads the debriefing, can ask the participants the following questions:

  • How did you feel?
  • Was it difficult to be a victim/a bully? If yes, why?
  • Can you think of times in your life when you or someone you know was affected by cyber bullying?
  • What does it mean to be a bystander (watching someone being bullied without doing anything to stop it)?
  • Why are some people bystanders? Why do people prefer not to intervene?
  • What should the ordinary citizens do in order to act against cyber bullying rather than to be bystanders?

After the reflection group, the facilitator says that the stories of the victims are inspired by real events, and gives a definition of cyber bullying.

Authorship/adaptation or source: SALTO Booklet of Project BRAVE – BUILDING RESILIENCE AGAINST VIOLENT EXTREMISM
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