What does it feel like?

Goals of the exercise: This activity will encourage participants to think more deeply about bullying behavior – Who is participating in it? What role do they play? How do they feel?
Age of the participants: 13+
Number of participants: any
Duration of the exercise: 20 minutes
Materials: Bullying scenario, marker pens, flip charts

Step by step

  1. Place participants in groups.
  2. Read aloud the story/scenario.
  3. In their groups, have participants come up with two ways that the bystander(s) could have changed their behavior that would have resulted in stopping the bullying.
  4. If time permits, allow the participants to share their ideas with the rest of the group.

The scenario

Kara and Tai have been friends for many years, but recently Kara has felt left out from the things that Tai organizes with their friends. The other day, Kara sent Tai a text asking if he was upset with her for some reason. She didn’t get a reply. Later that night, Kara was working on a project with Ari, another friend from school. Ari logged into his Facebook and Kara saw on his news feed that Tai had made a post that he found Kara annoying. There were comments from other friends. Ari quickly turned off his Facebook. When Kara checked her own Facebook, she realized that Tai had changed his settings so that she couldn’t see his posts.

Notes

Bullying is defined as behavior that is repeated (or has the potential to be repeated), harmful and is directed toward young people who are perceived to have less power. Power in a relationship is often subjective and can come from a variety of sources – social networks, money, intelligence, size and strength, etc. Shifting the power dynamic in a bullying situation is an effective way to reduce / eliminate bullying. Participants who witness bullying (bystanders) may be the most powerful people in a bullying situation – their actions can either encourage or discourage the person who is initiating the bullying. Throughout this activity, participants will discover that they not only are capable of putting an end to bullying, but they may be the best fit for the job.

Debriefing

  • Ask participants to discuss how each person in the scenario was possibly feeling – the initiator of the bullying (Tai), the recipient of the bullying (Kara), the friends/bystanders (Ari).
  • Discuss the idea/concept of power in relationships. Each person in a bullying situation has a certain degree of power – what makes bullying ‘bullying’ is that the initiator has more power than the target (e.g. more friends, is physically bigger, is perceived to be smarter, etc).
  • Discuss the power of the bystander; bystanders may be powerful in a bullying situation – their reactions and behavior can encourage or discourage the initiator.

Authorship/adaptation or source: BullyingFree NZ Week 2018 Activity Pack
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