Cyber Bullying and Cyber Safety Lessons {Part III}

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Part I of this series: 5th Grade Lesson on Cyber Bullying and Cyber Safety

Part II of this series: 6th Grade Lesson on Cyber Bullying and Cyber Safety

To conclude this series, I will be telling you about my 7th grade lesson on cyber bullying and cyber safety.

I begin by splitting the students into small groups, and each group is given a piece of paper and a marker. Without introducing the topic, I tell the students that they will be watching a series of short video clips. In between each video, the groups will discuss what they saw and write down their thoughts about the current segment.

The video clips I play center around sexting, although I do not use that terminology with the 7th graders {primarily because I work in a Catholic school, and my boss would not be happy with that}. They definitely understand the content even without that specific label.

The first clip is called, “Choose What Happens Next.” In this video, a girl received a text message from a guy asking to send him a “hot pic.” At the end, the audience gets to choose whether or not she sends it. A cool thing about this series is that when you click on the “yes” or “no” buttons at the end, you are taken to the next video.

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Of course the students always say that she shouldn’t send it, so I click “no,” which takes us to the 2nd clip. The next one {“Don’t Send“} shows what would happen if she decided to send it. The clip ends with the boy receiving the picture and deciding whether or not to show his friends. Again, we are given the decision for him to send or not send.

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After clicking on “no” again, the 3rd clip {Out of Your Hands} begins, which starts with a screen that says, “Sorry. You no longer have a choice.” In this video, we see the boy show his friends, who want him to text it to a friend who isn’t present. The question at the end is, “Should he pass it on?”

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Clicking on “no” takes us to the final video {also titled Out of Your Hands}. The boy decides to send the picture to others, because it is no longer in our control or the girl’s control. We then see how quickly something like this can spread to other people. Students at school begin to receive the picture on their phones, and the girl’s mother even gets it in an e-mail. I think this is a particularly powerful way to show what could happen if they send inappropriate pictures to others, even people they care about.

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We process the video clips as a class, and the small groups are given a chance to share the thoughts they wrote down. Then, we transition into a discussion on internet safety, continuously tying in the video clips.

Finally, we talk about cyber bullying, which is mostly a review from my 5th and 6th grade lessons. The 7th graders are able to take that information and talk about it more openly and in a more mature fashion than they were capable of doing as 5th and 6th graders. To drive home the point, I show one final video clip. This video shows a girl at a talent show saying horrible things about another classmate in a brutally honest manner. The tag line of this clip is “If you wouldn’t say it in person, why say it online?” You can view the video here.

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It is so necessary in today’s world to have these discussions with children and teens, and I really believe that my cyber bullying and cyber safety lessons stick with my students. To reinforce the lessons, I also post resources in my weekly newsletter column for the parents to be able to discuss these topics with their children.

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