Spotting the signs of cyberbullying and its effects
by Hannah Taylor
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To raise awareness of cyberbullying and its impact.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Recognising Cyberbullying) and the means to display them.
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Is it cyberbullying?’ It is 3.11 minutes long and is available at: https://youtu.be/vtfMzmkYp9E
- Cyberbullying is any form of bullying that takes place online. Our generation spends a lot of time on our phones, tablets, social media sites and messaging apps, so we are more likely to come across it.
- According to the Office for National Statistics, a survey in 2020 found that seven out of ten children aged 10 to 15 years who experienced online bullying said that it was by someone from their school. Nearly the same number were emotionally affected by the online bullying behaviour that they experienced.
- Just because the bullying is taking place online does not make it any less harmful. Cyberbullying can have devastating and sometimes long-lasting effects on the person involved. It is important to know the signs so that we can put a stop to it.
- Anyone who makes threats to us on the internet could be committing a criminal offence. In the UK, it’s against the law to use the phone or the internet to cause alarm or distress to others. If we post abuse online about anyone or send threats, our internet provider has records of our activity. The police can require internet providers to share this information.
- Show Slide 1.
It is important that we recognize cyberbullying.
Show Slides 2-8, reading out the information about the different types of cyberbullying to look out for.
- Slide 2: Harrassment
- Slide 3: Denigration
- Slide 4: Flaming
- Slide 5: Impersonation
- Slide 6: Outing and trickery
- Slide 7: Cyberstalking
- Slide 8: Exclusion
- Cyberbullying can have a massive impact. It can cause a range of emotions and feelings, including embarrassment, worry, loneliness, hopelessness and feeling overwhelmed. As soon as a message has been sent, it cannot be taken back, so it is important to consider the effect that our message or post could have on others. Cyberbullying often starts behind a keyboard, which may lead the bully to think that they are untraceable, giving them further confidence to post abusive comments.
- When cyberbullying continues, it can feel relentless. It may result in victims not wanting to come to school or go about their usual activities. They may withdraw from friends and family, and sometimes, their feelings can even lead to self-harm and suicide.
- Show the YouTube video ‘Is it cyberbullying?’ (3.11 minutes long)
- An important question to consider is, ‘What should we do if we are being bullied or know someone who is?’
Admitting that we are being bullied can be difficult. We may worry about making things worse, we may feel that we will be judged or embarrassed, or we may not know who to speak to or what to say.
However, the most important thing is not to ignore or hide what is going on. Otherwise, the bullying may escalate. If we are being bullied, whether it is happening online or in person, we must tell an adult whom we can trust. This could be a parent, a member of school staff or a helpline advisor. There are actions available to put a stop to bullying; we do not have to put up with it.
- Most social media sites have a button for reporting abuse; making a report can result in the perpetrator being blocked or deleted from the site anonymously. We can also block anyone on social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram so that they cannot message us again. It is a good idea to take a screenshot of any abusive messages to use as evidence.
Time for reflection
Show Slide 9.
There are many resources available for dealing with cyberbullying.
- Childline offers advice on bullying and cyberbullying on its website at: https://tinyurl.com/2p8rs3nh
- The ThinkUKnow website is run by the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Education team. It is available at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk
- You can call the National Bullying Helpline on 0300 323 0169, or visit its website at: https://www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk
- To report harmful content online, go to: https://reportharmfulcontent.com
- For unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety, go to: www.getsafeonline.org
Let’s close our eyes for a moment now and think about how our words and actions can affect others. Have we been as kind as we could have been or could we improve?
Let’s think of ways in which we can protect ourselves and others from bullying and how kindness can eliminate hate.
Please help us to have the courage to speak up when we need to.
Please help us to trust and forgive others,
And provide compassion and kindness as you have taught us.
‘You say’ by Lauren Daigle, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIaT8Jl2zpI (4.30 minutes long)
‘Who says’ by Selena Gomez & the Scene, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzE1mX4Px0I (3.20 minutes long)