Lesson Plan

Cyberbullying: Understanding and Addressing Online Cruelty

Related Content

GRADE LEVEL: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening

Elementary School: Building a Foundation for Safe and Kind Online Communication

Middle School: Dealing with the Social Pressures that Promote Online Cruelty

High School: Cyberbullying and Online Cruelty: Challenging Social Norms

This multi-grade curriculum unit provides educators with the tools to increase awareness about the problem of cyberbullying among their students. Each lesson introduces age appropriate information and skills that encourage youth to think critically about Internet communication, develop empathy for others, respond constructively to cyberbullying and online aggression and interact safely on the Internet.

Research on Cyberbullying

Today, teen life is imbued with technology, bringing about a shift in their social media use since 2015. According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of youth (teens ages 13–17) in the U.S.  have access to a smartphone and 45%  say they are online “almost constantly” while another 44% say they go online several times a day. Pew Research also found that 42% of teens feel anxious when they don’t have their cellphones and, in these instances feel lonely (25%) or upset (24%). For the current generation of teens, gaming, video chatting, instant and text messaging and social networking are a vital means of self-expression and a central part of their social lives.

However, there are some youth who are misusing Internet and cell phone technology to bully and harass others, and even to incite violence against them.

  • Approximately 59% of teens reported experiencing cyberbullying.
  • Some 42% of teens say they have been called offensive names online or via their cellphone.
  • 32% of teens say someone has spread false rumors about them on the internet.
  • Of social media-using teens, 15% have been the target of online meanness and 88% have seen someone be mean or cruel on social network sites.

View our bullying/cyberbullying infographics in English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF) for more statistics.