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Bullies be gone.

"Yeah, yeah," you're thinking. "I know—don't cyberbully. I get it."

And we'll give you that: hopefully, you do get it. But that doesn't mean everyone else gets it, too. This course will help you navigate the slippery world of online bullying—from both sides.

Course Breakdown

Unit 1. Cyberbullying

Four lessons, four topics:

  • Defining Cyberbullying
  • Online Safety and Preventive Measures
  • The Consequences
  • How to Report Cyberbullying

Sample Lesson - Introduction

Lesson 1: What is Online Bullying?

The year is…well, any time before computers, really. Let's go with 80,000 BCE.

Artist's rendering of Thungtorg.


Grodgak and Thungtorg are having a bit of a disagreement. It's lunch time at Club-Go-Boom High, and Grodgak, a total jock, is tormenting Thungtorg. As usual.

Grodgak: "Give me your lunch money." 
Thungtorg: "And what if I don't?"

[Grodgak and two of his buddies beat the brains out of Thungtorg and take his lunch money by force.]

Okay, so that was the old way of doing things—the pre-Internet way of bullying and making people feel small and powerless. (And believe us, it's tough to make Thungtorg look small and powerless.)

Good news for bullies, though: now you can hide behind a wall of obscurity while reducing strangers to tears!

Here's the new way:

Grodgak Jr.: "Give me your lunch money."
Thungtorg Jr.: "I don't even know you."
Grodgak Jr.: "Send it to me through Paypal you little       ."
Thungtorg Jr.: " "Why would I do that?"
Grodgak Jr.: "Because I know all about you, Thungtorg Jefferson."


Thungtorg Jr.: "How do you know my name?"
Grodgak Jr.: "Because I hacked your computer. And I've already bought the URL www.thungtorgjeffersonisgay.com. And I'm going to start a blog there telling everyone about how much you love       …unless I get $50 in my Paypal account tonight."

First, we doubt Grodgak Jr.'s lunch costs $50. Second, as gross as this interaction is, it's not that unusual. This sort of harassment takes place all the time—just about anywhere that users can interact with each other online.

Sometimes bullying is pretty easy to spot.


Here's the thing, though. Online bullying may be defined as bullying that takes place online, but the distinction isn't just about where it happens. In fact, a whole lot changes when you go from in-person to online bullying. Neither is better or worse than the other, but there are tons of distinctions:

  • Online bullying is a lot easier for the perpetrator to commit because they don't have to do it face-to-face. It takes the whole confrontation thing out of the mix and also gives the possibility of it being anonymous. 
  • The Internet works at all hours of the day, every day of the year. That means bullying can happen all the time online. It's not over when the school bell rings.
  • You can't get physical online, but you can do pretty much everything else. Because the Internet is a place of endless bounty, that means bullying can come in the form of words, images, sounds, videos, and everything in between.

In this lesson, we're going to familiarize ourselves more with online bullying. We know it's bad, but we want to be sure we know what it is.

  • Course Length: 1 week
  • Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10
  • Course Type: Short Course
  • Category:
    • Health, Physical Education, and Counseling
    • Middle School
    • High School

Just what the heck is a Shmoop Online Course?

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