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Cyber-bullying and me

To consider the effects of cyber-bullying.

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider the effects of cyber-bullying.

Preparation and materials

  • Prepare a typical Facebook page to project.


  1. If you saw the film The Social Network (2010, 12A), you will know that the film, which charts the early days of Facebook, begins with a student at Harvard University in the United States, Mark Zuckerberg, being dumped by his girlfriend. (This part of the film is not based in truth.) He goes back to his room, and writes in his blog some very unpleasant things about her, and presses the ‘send’ button.
  2. What he says about his ‘ex’ guarantees that she will be publicly humiliated and laughed at. What he wrote about her is irretrievable, even if he had deleted it seconds later. As she says later in the film: ‘You didn’t write it in pencil, you wrote it in ink.’
  3. Years ago, hurt and angry people wrote such things in a diary that was private to them. Writing it in a blog ensures you share your pain – but to what gain? Meetings between Zuckerberg and his ex occur through the film, but she never makes up with him – she can’t even be friends.
  4. Many of you here today will have been such victims. Cyber-bullying is easy to do, and very hard to trace. It has to be the ultimate form of revenge for cowardly people.
  5. All of the world’s major religions run very much on the same basic ethic of relationships: don’t do to other people what you wouldn’t like them to do to you:

    – Don’t swear at someone if you don’t want them to retaliate in the same way.
    – Don’t criticize someone if they’re doing their best.
    – If you want people to respect you, you need to respect them too.
    – Before you cyber-bully, think – how would you feel if this was done to you?

Time for reflection

Spend a few moments thinking about the last time you were hurt, or humiliated, or made to feel small.
How did you deal with it?
How did it make you feel about the person who did it to you?

Now consider:
How could you treat others to prevent such events? Could you be more patient? More compassionate – trying to understand how they feel?

Have you been bullied as Zuckerman bullied his ex?
Think of some ways in which you can ‘rise above it’, ignoring the pain, and looking at what is going on for the bully.
Is it just a matter of counting to ten?
Of walking away?
Or being kind as a response, and asking if you can help this person?

And can you now agree with me, that cyber-bullying is not something that we will engage in?


'Baby, you’re a rich man’ by the Beatles (the end music of the film), available to download.

Publication date: January 2011   (Vol.13 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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