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Cyberbullying: Questions and activities

Michael McVeigh  |  14 May 2019

Read Resisting cyberbullying in the Winter 2019 edition and take part in the various questions and activities. (Article is titled 'Resisting an online virus' in the print edition). 


1. What is cyberbullying? How is it different to other forms of bullying? What harm can it do to people?

2. How does cyberbullying go against Jesus' commandment to 'love your neighbour'? 

3. What do you think young people can do to be safer from cyberbullying?

4. How can parents and teachers better help young people deal with cyberbullying?

5. What can companies that manage social media platforms and apps do to prevent cyberbullying?

6. What can be done to build a culture of positive digital citizenship within your school and wider culture? 

Activities for students

1. Evaluating our online activity

One way to evaluate our online interactions is to ask whether what we are about to post is ‘True, Helpful and Kind’. 

Develop a report card for online behaviour that could be used as an evaluation tool for students. List the places (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) where the you interact with other people, and provide space for details of specific interactions, and leave a space for a 'grade' next to each.

Once the report card has been developed, go back over a week of social media posts and list and evaluate your own online interactions. Give each post a point if it’s true, helpful or kind (three points maximum for each post). How have you scored?

After the activity is completed, students could write a brief reflection on the exercise – Was the evaluation tool helpful? How could it be used by other students?

2. A Catholic response to cyberbullying

Teacher preparation: Catholic Education Melbourne has a helpful framework for community building, called EXcel. The following activity draws on the four dimenions of that framework, and the corresponding Gospel references - Dignity (Matthew 7:12); Communion (Matthew 18:20); Agency (1 Thessalonians 5:11); Nuture (Psalm 119:130).

Encourage students to read the four Gospel passages above, and to develop a Catholic guide to online behaviour, with the title 'What would Jesus post?' Consider:
How would Jesus promote human dignity in his posts
How would Jesus bring communities together with his posts? 
How would Jesus encourage people with his posts?
How would Jesus nurture people with his posts?

Alternatively, put together a fictional social media profile for Jesus, and draft 12 'posts' that he would make that follow these considerations. 

2. Online Safety Toolkit

Develop an Online Safety Kit that could be used by other Catholic school students to address and prevent cyberbullying. Include in the kit: An introduction outlining what cyberbullying is, and how to know when it’s happening to you; Suggestions for what to do if you’re being cyberbullied; Suggestions for what to do if you see someone else being cyberbullied; Links to tools and resources for young people.

3. Online Community Awareness Examen

Spend around 10 to 20 minutes in prayer, using the following Online Community Awareness Examen:

  • Spend a few moments asking God to be present with you in this moment.
  • Reflect on the gift of online community to our lives, giving thanks to God for what those connections can bring us.
  • Review your online interactions over the past day, making note of anything that moves you in those reflections.
  • Pick out one of the things that moved you, and ask God to help you reflect more deeply on it. What is it about that online interaction that was good or bad?
  • Consider what can be learned from that interaction, and how it will shape your future interactions. Ask God for help in being a better person online.

For younger students

Ask the students to brainstorm the actions that constitute bullying at school – listing them on a whiteboard as they’re called out. Encourage the students to pick one of the actions that could also take place online, and to create a decorative poster with the message: ‘(Bullying action) isn’t okay in the playground, and it’s not okay online’.  Put the posters up on a noticeboard at the school.

Other resource links

Cyberbullying - Office of the eSafety Commissioner:
The YeS Project - 'a youth focused initiative designed to inspire, ignite and enable positive change within digital spaces for the collective good'. See video and resources at
The Lost Summer - role-playing video game building digital intelligence skills for 11-14 year olds:
Student Wellbeing Hub (prepared by Australian Government Department of Education and Training):
Bullying No Way! (on behalf of all Australian government, Catholic and independent school communities):


Topic tags: valuesandmoraldecision-making, responsiblerelationships, faithinthemedia

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