Cyberbullying Word Trace

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on July 15, 2013

By Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin

An activity distributed to youth to promote discussion about cyberbullying.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J.W. (2013). Cyberbullying word trace:
Talking to youth about Internet harassment. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved [insert date], from http://www.cyberbullying.us/cyberbullying_word_trace.pdf

Download PDF

Cyberbullying Word Find: Talking to Youth about Internet Harassment

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on July 8, 2013

By Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin

A word search to be distributed to youth to promote discussion about cyberbullying and Internet safety.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. (2013). Cyberbullying word find:
Talking to youth about Internet harassment. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved [insert date], from http://www.cyberbullying.us/cyberbullying_word_find.pdf

Download PDF

Cyberbullying Crossword Puzzle: Talking to Youth about Internet Harassment

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on July 2, 2013

By Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin

A crossword puzzle to be distributed to youth to promote discussion about cyberbullying.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J.W. (2013). Cyberbullying crossword puzzle:
Talking to youth about Internet harassment. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved [insert date], from http://www.cyberbullying.us/cyberbullying_crossword.pdf

Download PDF

Anti-Bullying Youth Rally at Schools

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on April 22, 2013

Pep rallies for our middle and high school athletic teams have been going on for decades, and are always great ways to get fired up about the sports season, or the next big game.  They serve multiple purposes, all of which are quite important.  For one, it really heightens school spirit – and if I am a student I want to be excited about my school, and believe in its chance and ability for success and victory.  Second, it’s related to our identity, and our desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves.  In this case, if you are a student, you belong to a group – whether you are the Rams, or the Fighting Owls, or the Blugolds, or the Vikings.  You’re not alone; you are supporting something and working towards something together, with your peers – people you know and hopefully care about.  Third, pep rallies break up the monotony of the school routine, and provide a fun, energetic, and inspiring outlet for everyone.  This matters – students need this, on a regular basis.

In recent years, some schools are starting to hold pep rallies to promote academic success (instead of only athletic success), and figure out a creative way to recognize those on the Dean’s List, or Honor Roll, or otherwise doing awesome things towards their academic goals or for the betterment of the community.  Well, we are also starting to see a trend where some schools – as spearheaded by motivated and passionate teens – decide to put on an anti-bullying  pep rally.  Now, this is a bit tricky because everyone will be like, “Why are we being called into the gymnasium (or auditorium)?” “What is going on here?” “Man I hope this doesn’t suck!”  And so it will be up to interested students and faculty/staff to come up with a really enjoyable, meaningful experience where you:

1)    Talk about how bullying, drama, and other conflicts are specifically affecting your school and the students in it (be real, be honest, and speak from the heart!).

2)    Share about how in order for everyone to have a great school year, it has got to stop.

3)    Tie it into the fact that everyone is a Greyhound, or Dolphin, or Chippewa (etc.), and how being a part of this group means that we all should act in a certain way (and not be jerks towards others).  There is a responsibility to do the right thing, and that most ARE doing the right thing, and we just need everyone else to get on board.

4)    Invite a speaker who can do a great job getting everyone to truly understand the pain that bullying/cyberbullying causes, and how we have got to put a stop to it at our school.

5)    Invite a DJ who can create a party atmosphere and once again get everyone pumped up about belonging to the school, being a Yankee or Titan or Warrior, and doing the right thing (even when it’s hard).

The objective isn’t to preach, or lecture, or drone on and on with a furrowed brow about how kids shouldn’t bully each other.  They know that.  The objective is to create a formal event at your school where everyone can get together and rally around a cause and honestly, have a fun and memorable time (with some thought-provoking built in).  This requires a delicate balance to the contents, and a strategic approach to the event’s structure, but it is very doable.

Have you done this, or anything like this?  Has it been successful?  Did it fall short?  What did you learn from the experience, and what do you think about the idea and its value in your specific school environment?  We really look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

Student Plays to Combat Bullying

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on February 26, 2013

We are always interested in sharing cool ideas that schools are doing to promote positive climates and reduce peer conflict and bullying.  One idea that has worked very well in some communities is the creation and performance of a school play with social norming messages interwoven in the fabric of its storyline. It can include one or several different skits to deliver the actual social norms message of positive online behavior to students in a creative, relatable, and hard-hitting manner. This production can travel to classrooms within the school, be presented to the entire student body or community, or be shown as part of after-school and/or extracurricular youth programming.

A skit might include one character who is sexting a boy she has a crush on while another character, who is her friend, explains that the behavior is not “cool.” The mere mention that other students do not sext may be sufficient motivation to refrain from the behavior. Additionally, the play can be made interactive as the actors can solicit suggestions from the audience and then improvise on these to convey the appropriate social norming message. The skits should be fun and interesting to watch, but they should also be direct and to the point and focus mostly on positive uses of technology among the student body. It is up to the creative talent of the drama department to determine how best to present it with props, acting, and a script. If done well, a theatrical production involving fellow students has the potential to have a positive and lasting impact on the entire student body.

Our colleague Nathan Jeffrey, director of education and outreach for Taproot Theatre Company in Seattle, Washington, recently shared his passion about the value of these anti-bullying plays with us.  We hope that his words foster some related ideas as to what you can do. Also know that you can purchase scripts for these plays from his Theatre to use at your school if you feel that is best for your situation.

Using Stage Productions to Enhance School Climate

Taproot Theatre has been touring social-issue plays to schools in the Northwest for over 25 years, and the Taproot Road Company serves over 90,000 students in the Northwest each year. We began with drug and alcohol prevention plays in the 1980s, and our hope is to be relevant to whatever issues students are facing.  One reason we feel cyberbullying has become such an important topic is that students are now unable to escape bullying when they go home from school. Students can be bullied via text messaging and social media sites 24 hours of every day. Telling students not to visit certain sites isn’t working—wouldn’t you want to know what’s being said about you? As we’ve interviewed school administrators, they’ve expressed the recurring theme that a growing number of school violence incidents begin online and culminate when the students see each other on campus.

In an effort to change the culture of schools, Taproot Theatre premiered the show “New Girl” in 2008. It was a five-character drama in which Rachel, a new student at Clements High School, is pressured into participating in the cyberbullying of one of her classmates. The show dealt with harassment via text messaging, Facebook, and MySpace.

New Girl became one of the most popular secondary school shows in Taproot’s history with over 210 performances from 2008 to 2011. As national tragedies involving cyberbullying took the spotlight in 2010, New Girl was featured on local news shows and in newspapers around the greater Seattle area. Typically, Road Company shows are retired after two years when new material is written, but in the case of New Girl, the production was brought back for a third year due to high demand. Following the success of New Girl and the response from schools, we commissioned “Don’t Tell Jessica,” a play that specifically addresses student interactions via Facebook.

Our plays are designed to spark discussion at a schoolwide level and create a common frame of reference for members of the school community to talk about the problem.  Our shows can empower students who are targeted by bullying to find an ally who can assist them in addressing the problem. Students who exhibit bullying behavior get the much-needed opportunity to see the face of the person getting bullied and can begin to empathize with that person’s pain. We provide teachers with pre- and postshow discussion questions to help students continue to explore the themes of the plays and ask penetrating questions. These cumulatively contribute to the creation and maintenance of a positive climate at school, with the play serving as one of the major catalysts.  We’re trying to help these students find hope. Specifically, it’s the hope that we can all live and work together in a community and school environment where everyone is safe, respected, and valued.