This workshop teaches participants to understand the need for clarity in communicating online. Participants will try to interpret the emotions behind text messages in order to practice thinking critically and avoid misinterpretation which often leads to conflict in online exchanges. This resource forms part of the “Cyber Heros” learning programme designed for 8 to 14 year olds.
Preparation time for facilitator
Time needed to complete activity (for learner)
Resource originally created in
Goals for students
- Make good decisions when choosing how and what to communicate – and whether to communicate at all.
- Identify situations when it’s better to wait to communicate face-toface with a peer than to text them right away.
Itʼs easy to misunderstand
Young people use different types of communication for different kinds of interaction, but messages sent via chat and text can be interpreted differently than they would in person or over the phone.
Have you ever been misunderstood in text? For example, have you ever texted a joke and your friend thought you were being serious – or even mean?
Have you ever misunderstood someone else in a text or chat? What did you do to help clarify the communication? What could you do differently?
1. Review messages
Letʼs take a look at these sample text messages on the board. The class probably has great examples too, so let’s write some on the board for us to discuss.
• “Thatʼs so cool”
• “Iʼm so mad at you”
• “CALL ME NOW”
• “Kk fine”
2. Read messages out loud
Now, for each message, weʼre going to ask one person to read it aloud in a specific tone of voice (e.g., ).
What do you notice? How might these come across to other people?
How might each “message sender” better communicate what they really mean?
It can be hard to understand how someone is really feeling when youʼre reading a text. Be sure you choose the right tool for your next
communication – and that you donʼt read too much into things that people say to you online. If you are unsure what the other person meant, find out by talking with them in person or on the phone.