You will need
- Big pieces of paper
Before you begin
- Make sure you've risk assessed your meeting and also have a COVID-safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here.
- The person leading the activity needs to put up four different pieces of paper on the sides of the meeting place. These should read: ‘Right’, ‘Wrong’, ‘Depends on the situation’ and ‘What’s the big deal?’ These signs will act as the different compass points for the activity to help everyone remember what options they have, and they can be either handwritten or printed.
Which way to go?
- The person leading the activity should explain that during this activity participants will be exploring their views on different online behaviours. Your meeting place should have four moral ‘compass points’ on each wall. Participants will move sensibly to a compass point to express their opinion.
- The person leading the activity should read out one of the online behaviours below. Participants will decide on whether they think the behaviour is, in their personal opinion, a morally acceptable action.
- Once they have made a decision, participants should move to the ‘compass point’ that best describes how they feel about the behaviour.
- After everyone has gone to their chosen ‘compass point’, discuss the behaviour that was read out and talk about the participants’ responses to it.
Stopping the squeeze
- Ask participants to stand or sit in a circle and hold hands.
- Explain that as soon as a participant's hand is squeezed they should then squeeze the hand of the person next to them.
- After a few rounds of this, explain that negative messages online can be like a chain. If we choose to respond to someone angrily or spread negativity then this behaviour could be passed on and continue until someone chooses to break the chain.
- Participants can discuss how they could break the chain, for example by not responding, reporting and blocking, taking a break, speaking to an adult or spreading kindness.
This activity also helped everyone to care about others and their feelings. Banter and jokes should be fun for everyone involved; it’s important that everyone can recognise when the fun stops and it becomes bullying.
Allow the young people to discuss their experiences and feelings from the activity and remind everyone to stay safe and healthy online and to block and report any bullying or unkind messages.
Let the group know that it’s also OK to change your mind depending on the information you receive, even if you’ve been thinking the same way for a long time. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and opinions can change too.
What could people do if banter turned into bullying in real life? If it’s online then they could mute, block or report the bullying and talk to a friend or trusted adult. In real life, they could ask clearly and firmly for it to stop, and speak to a friend or trusted adult. Remember, bystanders can make a big difference – they can speak up to stop bullying and check that people are OK too. At Scouts we also have our Yellow Card, so everyone knows the actions they can take to keep each other safe in person or online.
- Online safety
Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.
For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.
As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.