Through a role-playing game, participants will take turns playing victims and bullies, in order to become aware of cyber-bullying and learn how to deal with it.
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We often hear about online bullying, harassment and intimidation. There are no more or fewer dangers, predators, harassers online than there are in ‘real’ life. Problems come from the fact that we believe the internet is somehow less real than so-called real life, which removes some responsibility from people operating from behind their screen. The internet is of course reality and exchanges that we have online can have as much impact as if they were happening face to face. The objective of this workshop is to have participants play roles in situations in which online harassment, intimidation or predation are involved. For each scenario, there will be one victim and one bully, and the rest of the group will need to react.
Facilitation tips: For more on cyber-harassment, we recommend you refer to ‘Online Behaviour and Cyberbullying‘. Start by explaining the difference between online harassment and physical harassment while emphasising that these are both devastating for victims and it’s not because it’s happening online that it’s any less serious. This will be highlighted naturally over the course of the workshop.
Start by explaining the difference between online harassment and physical harassment while emphasising that these are both devastating for victims and it’s not because it’s happening online that it’s any less serious. This will be highlighted naturally over the course of the workshop. Dive the group into pairs and give each one scenario (printed in advance):
- Scenarios with responses(for facilitators only)
Next, each group will read aloud the script the text that has been assigned to them. One plays the victim, the other the intimidator. You could also set up the scenario so that it is played out like a theatre scene. Use your imagination here. At reading both monologues in each scenario, ask the following questions:
- Who is the intimidator and who is the victim?
- What might be the long-term risks of this situation?
- How could you help the victim? What should have been done before? What can be done now?
Audrey, 15 ‘I’m not so much into technology, but to go along with my friends, I created some profiles on different social media sites. I often get added or followed by people I don’t actually know but who are friends of friends. I often get messages from boys and I don’t know how to respond so I haven’t responded at all’. Discussion Is Audrey a bully or a victim? How do you know? Answers:
- Audrey is the victim since she is often solicited by others
- She doesn’t know how to deal with the behaviour so she ignores it
What would be the long-term risks of the situation? Answers:
- She could be the victim of assault. Accepting friends online without knowing them can increase the risk of harassment. That said, it is not the fact of accepting friends we don’t know that is wrong, but obviously harassment. Controlling who our friends are and who can see our personal information is one of the ways to protect ourselves online.
- She may feel harassed. Questions from strangers may seem harmless at first but may quickly take on a sexual tone (e.g. send nudes)
Jacob, 18 ‘I spend a lot of time on social media. Actually, I have several profiles. I like pretending to be other people online, this allows me to bring out different sides of my personality. My main profile shows my parents and friends that I’m a typical guy. My second profile is that of a really handsome lad which means I can have an anonymous relationship with my neighbour who has I have been attracted to for a long time. I use my third profile to explore questions concerning my sexuality. By presenting myself as bisexual, I have deep conversations with bisexual people. I believe sincerely that I am a more complete person thanks to social media.’ Discussion Is Jacob an intimidator or a victim? Answers:
- Jacob is an intimidator, even a potential predator
- has more than one profile and falsifies his identity
What might be the long-term risks of this situation? Answers:
- legal troubles
Mr. Dino Saur, 48 ‘I am a teacher and am not very used to technology. I get a crazy number of emails from my students and I don’t really know how to manage the situation. For now, I act like the mails don’t exist, but I’m really starting to doubt my choice of career even after 23 years.’ Discussion Is Mr. Saur the bully or the victim? Answers:
- Mr. Dino Saur is the victim
- He ignores the behaviour and doesn’t know how to manage it
- He doubts his choice of career
What might be the long-term risks of this scenario? Answers:
- becomes withdrawn
- quits his job
Evan, 15 ‘My teacher Dino Saur understands nothing about technology. I can tell you he deserves that ridiculous name. In our first class with him, I asked for his email address so we could send him work but he said all work needed to be submitted on paper. Hello 21st century?? So I started sending him emails to see if he’d respond. My mails are always linked to the science courses with Mr. Saur. As time goes on, I am starting to give him advice about how to improve his teaching methods and how to join the present. I would say my mails are constructive. It doesn’t matter anyway, since by the time he figures out how to read them, I probably won’t be at school anymore’. Discussion Is Evan a bully or a victim? Answers:
- Evan is a bully
- He is using a mocking and condescending tone
What might be the long-term risks of the scenario? Answers:
- legal accusations on the part of the teacher, depending on the content of the mails
- being charged with criminal offence
Bruce and Matilda, 13 ‘I’m Bruce and I have a twin sister. Before dinner, Matilda looked at her phone and saw she had received a photo of herself. When I asked her to see it, she told me she can no longer access it. I asked her about it and she seemed quite uncomfortable. I’m worried about her. How can I help her?’ Discussion Who is the bully and who is the victim? Answers:
- Bruce is a witness
- he wants to help his sister
- he’s worried about her
- Matilda is the victim
- she is uncomfortable and doesn’t want to talk about the situation
What might be the long-term risks of the scenario? Answer: Pour Bruce:
- loss of respect for his sister
- loss of self-confidence
Tammy, 14 ‘They call me ‘paparazzi’ because I’m always taking photos. I just discovered Snapchat. I love the idea of publishing photos online that disappear after a few seconds — it’s much more exciting than photos that sleep online forever. The other day, I took a photo of my friend while she was putting on her makeup and sent it to her anonymously on Snapchat. Hilarious! Anyway, I found a fun thing to do without anyone knowing it’s me. Watch out everyone, I’m Tammy Paparazzi.’ Discussion Is Tammy a bully or victim? Answers:
- Tammy is the bully
- unaware of the nature of her behaviour, she finds it funny
- looking for amusement
What might be the long-term risks of this scenario?
- loss of friends
- isolation, depression
- legal proceedings
Senita, 17 ‘Hi, I’d like to tell you about my friend. She sends me everything online – texts, mails, direct messages. She is everywhere at all times! After a while it just gets annoying! To make her stop, I decided to post a photo she sent me privately. Apparently many people are interested in it, because it’s now gone a little viral.’ Discussion Is Senita a bully or victim? Answer:
- Senita is the bully
- looking for revenge
- impulsive, she doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions
What might be the long-term outcomes of the scenario? Answer:
- loss of a friend
- the need the reflect on her choices and change her behaviour
Chloe, 16 ‘I live online, I love posting! I pay a lot of attention to what and where I post. My parents have drilled it into me that there can be disastrous consequences if the wrong people have access to my personal information. On the other hand, one of my best friends posted a picture of me without my permission and since then, everyone’s commenting on it. These comments are really hurtful and now I find it hard to sleep I’m thinking about it so much’. Is Chloe a bully or a victim? Answer:
- Chloe is the victim
- she feels hurt by what happened
What might be the long-term outcomes of the scenario? Answer:
- loss of sleep
- Cyber defamation: publishing of defamatory material against another person with the help of computers or internet.
- Cyberbullying: the use of phones, instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to harass, threaten or intimidate someone. Cyberbullying is often done by children, who have increasingly early access to these technologies.
- Online harassment: implies repeated instances of bullying.
- Cyber predator: individual who use the internet to exploit usually younger people for sexual or other purposes. Many cyber predators pretend to be someone else, or lie about details of themselves to gain trust of their victims.