Saturday, January 19, 2008


I've been piloting different ways to present Internet Safety/Cyberbullying lessons to groups of 9th graders. I'm working with a few of our counselors who teach a weekly guidance seminar. We've tried a few different resources - a PowerPoint from, a video from It has been very hard to get kids to participate. Last week was painful - we were faced with dead silence for most of the hour.

This week I tried something different, with a mixed result. I used Chatzy to set up a private chat room. We had all of the kids sign in to the room anonymously. They participated in the conversation only through the chat room. I spoke questions aloud and presented a video and a handout. My colleague (school counselor) monitored the back channel.

The results were interesting. There were several kids who just would not take the chat seriously. They joked around throughout the chat and ultimately ended up doing some cyberbullying themselves. My colleague called them on it. It will make for an interesting debrief when they next meet.

I'm still formulating a plan for next time. I think we will do the chat again, but this time with real names. Take a look at some of the highlights below. I would love to hear your observations and suggestions. Let me know what you think.

Here are some of the highlights from the chat.

Me: What is bullying?
mo247: being mean to make themselves feel more powerful

Me: What is cyberbullying
whs12: cyberbullying is when someone is online and is saying mean things to you
12345: cyberbulying is when you say things that make others uncomfortable, IM, myspace, facebook, etc.

Me: What makes cyberbullying different from bullying?
student1: it is usually anonymous
THESTUDENT: you dont really know who or what the other person is like
Lionheart: Or it can be someone who is pretending to be someone else

Me: What would you do if you were cyberbullied?
whs12: you could talk to the person being bullied and see if they're ok or just be a man and tell the people to stop
12345: i would tell my friends and see if they had any advice
mo247: i could stand up to the bully if i had people to back me up

I showed a video and we "discussed" it. There isn't much from the transcript that is worth sharing.

At the end of the presentation I asked: Was this conversation helpful?
12345: in person is prob better, less goofy
Lionheart: ya, it is helpful!
unit 6: yes, because you can work it out
creepy tuck: ya ppl dont take it seriously b/c regardless there are gunn be ppl that do it
Lionheart: Why less goofy?
fontie: ok
student 4: we aleady went over it like 10 times in middle school

Finally I asked: Was the chatroom helpful?
THESTUDENT: this is a lot more fun/interactive
creepy tuck: more peaople talked then usually in the other room in person
student 4: it was kinda fun
12345: i didnt find the chatroom helpful
fontie: yea i think it was usefull
student 4: people were probably more open in here
creepy tuck: sritcker*
whs12: probably cause not so many people were holding back. if it was in person people mght second guess themselves and not wanna say their thoughts outloud
jeff23: si
McLovin: i thought it was pretty helpful
THESTUDENT: this is like 3 times as much dialouge then if we just talked regularly
mo247: true
unit 6: what I found useful was you got to understand more about bulying in a whole different angle

Image Citation: "Safety" Skip the Budgie's Photostream on Flickr. 10 May 2006. [] 19 Jan 2008 .

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