Digital Citizenship Week

Part 2 of 5 - Cyber-Bullying and Digital Etiquette

Welcome to part 2 of the 5 part series on Digital Citizenship! In this edition, we'll be exploring a very important topic for today's students, Cyber-Bullying. Many children will find this difficult to talk about. Some may notice that they have been bullied, while others may notice that they have bullied someone else. In any case, it's extremely important that we talk about this topic, and that bullying, in all forms, stops. As always, please preview the lesson to make sure that you are comfortable with the materials before sharing with your students.

For Teachers:

Before we get into our lesson about Cyber-Bullying, please take just a moment to watch this short video, made just for you - Teachers.
Cyberbullying Toolkit for Educators: Stand Up, Don't Stand By


What is Cyber-Bullying?

"Student Welfare, Freedom From Bullying"

“Bullying" means engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that:

  1. Has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or of damage to the student’s property;
  2. Is sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive environment for a student.
  3. Exploits an imbalance of power between the student perpetrator and the student victim through written or verbal expression or physical conduct.

Essentially, Cyber-bullying is using the internet or other electronic media to intimidate, threaten, harass, hold power over, or otherwise bully another person. The anonymity of the internet makes Cyber-Bullying a more prevalent threat. It's easier, and the effects seem (to the bully) to be less-obvious, though to the bullied, the effects are the same, or worse, especially when combined with the social and "connected" aspects of online life.


What are the short-term (immediate) consequences of cyber-bullying?

What are the long-term consequences of cyber-bullying?

Emma's Story: Cyberbullied by a Best Friend

How to Stop Cyber-Bullying


Mitch Horowitz, the author of One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life, said:

"It’s not that human nature has changed; we have simply become more transparent. The advent of digital communication has allowed us to engage in consequence-free hostility — when facial reactions and emotional responses are placed at a remove. Hostile messaging, abrupt e-mails, and caustic online posts and reviews have normalized an uglier and less empathic side of human behavior — and colored our politics and entertainment as well."

The word "civility" comes from the Latin word civilis, meaning "relating to public life, befitting a citizen," in other words, being friendly and nice to everyone. When you show civility, you use kindness and good manners.

Whether in person, or online, our communication should be spoken/written with kindness, and also serve a purpose. Don't post when you're angry, and always consider how your audience will read your message. If you are using a service with a screen name instead of your real name, do NOT hide behind that anonymity. And NEVER, ever share your, or someone else's, private information. The internet is full of "stranger danger".

Make the choice to be civil... and help others to make the right choice as well.

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Posting Pictures

Have you ever had a bad picture taken of you? How would you feel if someone you trusted put that picture online? Pictures are harmless, right? WRONG.

There are many cases where people have shared a picture online, of themselves, or of someone else, that cause irreparable damage to one's reputation.

Always use your best judgment when posting a picture. If someone else is in the picture, ask their permission before sharing it. Don't tag your friends in a picture, and if you are tagged without your permission, remove the tag. Finally, follow the guidelines in the poster below to make sure your photo is appropriate:

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Discuss: What should you do if you're being bullied, or someone you know is?

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips for Kids

Reporting Violations

Many websites have a "report" feature to help protect their users. YouTube is an excellent example of this, and it's exceedingly relevant because many Elementary age students use YouTube on a daily basis.

While flagging is the most popular and fastest way to report violations in videos on YouTube, it’s not the only way. In particular, YouTube realizes that for certain categories of content like hate speech, impersonation and harassment, users may wish to report content other than videos. They suggest that users utilize this tool for issues like hate speech and harassment that can sometimes be more complex than other violations.

Examples of content to report via the Safety and Abuse Tool

  • User has a YouTube channel and they use this channel to leave multiple comments across YouTube that harass or bully another person.

  • User sets up a channel and chooses a name, image and channel description that are all racist

  • User makes inappropriate comments about minors

  • User channel is impersonating another channel e.g. similar name, profile information, background image and videos.

Much more information about the YouTube Safety and Abuse Tool is provided here.

Be sure to look for similar tools on other Social Media and websites! They're there to protect you!

Let's Put an End to Cyber-Bullying

End Cyberbullying 2015 | Official (ETCB) End to Cyber Bullying Organization

Coming Soon

Up Next:


Privacy Settings

Coming Soon:

Digital Footprints

"Friends" and Followers


Building a Positive Footprint

Preparing for the Future


Curriculum Resources