Digital Citizenship | Middle School
The 5 Best Cyberbullying Resources for Middle School
For nearly 10 years, Bri has focused on creating content to address the questions and concerns educators have about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the iCEV curriculum system.
Every year we hear the same challenge from hundreds of middle school teachers: Finding good cyberbullying resources takes too much time and effort.
Teaching lessons on cyberbullying to middle school students is tough. It's essential that you discuss this important digital literacy topic, but getting through to your students is an uphill battle.
The truth is, you need relevant, engaging, and impactful cyberbullying lessons to help your students learn about and prevent it. Fortunately, we have several solutions for you.
In this article, you'll discover five of the best cyberbullying resources to teach middle school:
- Cyberbullying Lesson from InCtrl
- Common Sense Education's Cyberbullying Lessons
- Cyberbullying Resources from MediaSmarts
- Is Your Child a Victim? from Mom Loves Best
- ADL's Understanding and Addressing Online Cruelty
By the end of this article, you'll discover the details about each resource so you can decide which will work best in your classroom.
1. Cyberbullying Lesson from InCtrl
InCtrl is dedicated to teaching digital citizenship to students in grades 4-8. They have an entire lesson dedicated to cyberbullying as a part of their digital citizenship curriculum.
The cyberbullying lesson is called Stand Up… Be InCtrl! and it includes a lesson plan and two videos.
The first video is for you. It introduces you to background information on cyberbullying and how you can help students recognize cyberbullying.
The second video is for students. In it, a high school student shares how he and other students are working to reduce bullying in their school. It encourages students to act responsibly online and help stop cyberbullying.
Here is how the lesson content is laid out and how much time you’ll spend on each section:
- Introduction - (30 minutes)
- Activity 1 - (Two 40-minute periods)
- Activity 2 - (40 minutes of planning, with project time varying)
- Reflection - (20 minutes)
What’s great about InCtrl is the lesson plan includes everything you need to conduct the lessons. There are teacher tips, links to extra resources to enrich the lessons, and student handouts.
Another plus is the lesson plan also lists national educational standards addressed in the lesson.
But InCtrl lacks assessments. While the content is all there, you have no way of testing student knowledge on the subject. It will take you a bit of extra time to create assessments if you want to grade student performance.
2. Common Sense Education’s Cyberbullying Lessons
Like InCtrl, Common Sense Education includes their lessons on cyberbullying as part of a digital citizenship curriculum, particularly in their topic on Cyberbullying, Digital Drama & Hate Speech.
Common Sense Education has cyberbullying lessons for grades K-12 integrated into their digital citizenship curriculum. Some of the lessons intended for middle schoolers are:
- Digital Drama Unplugged - (45 minutes)
- Upstanders and Allies: Taking Action Against Cyberbullying - (45 minutes)
- Responding to Online Hate Speech - (45 minutes)
Here’s a bit more detail on what each lesson covers:
Digital Drama Unplugged is a more generic lesson designed to spark discussion on digital drama and de-escalation strategies students can use to avoid it.
Upstanders and Allies: Taking Action Against Cyberbullying teaches students to consider the perspectives of those involved in cyberbullying incidents, and try to find ways to be an ally to those being bullied.
Responding to Online Hate Speech teaches students critical thinking skills they can use to analyze and respond to situations involving hate speech.
Each lesson includes a lesson plan, related videos, discussion questions, student activity handouts, and a short assessment.
Having the assessments is a real plus when it comes to using the lessons from Common Sense Education. That’s one more piece you don’t need to worry about when teaching about cyberbullying.
However, these cyberbullying lessons are designed to work as a part of a bigger curriculum. If you don’t use the whole curriculum, you risk losing some students with the lack of context. This is especially true since some of the assessments include questions from other lessons in each unit unrelated to cyberbullying.
3. Cyberbullying Resources from MediaSmarts
MediaSmarts is dedicated to education about digital and media literacy. The website has a section on digital issues with resources for teaching about cyberbullying entitled Classroom Resources to Counter Cyberbullying.
The site includes resources for varying grade levels, with four specifically for grades 7-8:
- Understanding Cyberbullying - Virtual vs. Physical Worlds - (2-3 hours)
- Cyberbullying and the Law - (2 hours)
- Cyberbullying and Civic Participation - (Varies)
- Promoting Ethical Online Behavior - (2-3 hours)
Each lesson includes a detailed lesson plan with activities, student handouts, rubrics, and other varying resources.
MediaSmarts also provides additional materials for your students to share with their parents. This is a great way to have your lessons reinforced at home while helping parents understand the dangers of cyberbullying.
One downside is that MediaSmarts is based in Canada, so American teachers will have to tweak the lessons according to state standards.
For example, you’ll need to use the Cyberbullying and the Law lesson loosely since it gets pretty specific with Canadian laws. While the content is relevant, you’ll need to spend time fine-tuning the details.
4. Is Your Child a Victim? from Mom Loves Best
Mom Loves Best (MLB) is a website dedicated to preparing adults for parenthood and the challenges involved in raising and educating children.
Because the content on MLB's website is intended for parents rather than teachers, there aren't any clear-cut lesson plans or activities offered. As a result, it's not ideal for taking and presenting directly to a classroom.
However, the information from MLB is very insightful, and with a bit of work, can be adapted to perfectly fit your classroom.
On their cyberbullying prevention page, MLB dives deep into the concepts and culture behind cyberbullying to a startling degree. The page contains bullying statistics and various strategies to prevent bullying at school, including:
- Keep Communication Lines Open
- Educate Your Child About Bullying
- Recognizing Signs of Bullying
- Boost Your Child's Confidence
- Technology Boundaries Should Be Set
These sections contain information on methods of bullying, at-risk conditions in children, common behavioral traits, and more.
With all of this information at your fingertips, it's never been easier to create your own lesson plans on cyberbullying with up-to-date, credible information.
5. ADL's Understanding and Addressing Online Cruelty
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is an organization dedicated to fostering equality and eliminating discrimination toward marginalized groups.
Because their mission involves identifying and combating intolerance in all its forms, the ADL offers free course material on their website designed to educate students on the dangers of cyberbullying and online cruelty.
These lesson plans are divided into three downloadable documents aimed at elementary school, middle school, and high school, respectively:
- Building a Foundation for Safe and Kind Online Communication - (2-3 hours)
- Dealing with the Social Pressures that Promote Online Cruelty - (90 minutes)
- Cyberbullying and Online Cruelty: Challenging Social Norms - (2 hours)
Each of these lesson plans comes with objectives, links to valuable websites, worksheets, handouts, activities, and more, making this a well-rounded resource for a unit on cyberbullying.
On that same cyberbullying page, the ADL also offers statistics and infographics on bullying in order to give teachers and students more context on the issue and its importance.
Want Your Middle Schoolers to Be Better Digital Citizens?
Finding the right resources to teach your students cyberbullying can be a hassle, but luckily, with these materials, your students will be educated enough to deal with any cyberbullying they see.
However, learning to stand up to bullies is only one part of being a responsible digital citizen. If you want to equip your students with the skills necessary to fully--and safely--embrace the digital world, then check out this article on the best digital citizenship lessons for middle school.
This article showcases terrific resources you can use to teach digital citizenship in your classroom, covering topics like digital footprints, media literacy and balance, online safety, effective password use, and more: