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Student How-To Guides

HOW-TO… Talk about the problem of online bullying.

Thirty-two percent of the students who responded to the 2004 Speak Up Day survey said that you or someone you know has been bullied or harassed by another student online. That's almost one out of every three students. Does this sound like a familiar problem to you?

This How-to Guide is designed to give you some information about cyberbullying and some ideas about what YOU can do in your community to help. Use this guide for your own research, or follow all of the steps to create a presentation that you can present to your school board or other decision makers to help them understand the need for programs that address cyberbullying.

Below is a list of ideas for finding out about cyberbullying and for taking action. The Resources section of SVRC includes links to many organizations that support these ideas. You can also search using your favorite search engine.

Educate Yourself

Reading about online bullying and ways to prevent and react to cyberbullies is a good way to become a safe online student. Visit the websites in the Resources section to get started right away! These websites offer suggestions and good practices related to online safety. For example:

(1) What is cyberbullying? When a student is bullied, harassed, or attacked by other students by email, text messaging, on discussion boards, on online gaming sites or using other technological means, this is called cyberbullying. It can sometimes be more hurtful than face-to-face bullying. Read more about it at StopCyberbulllying.

(2) Safe Practices:  Be safe online and avoid being bullied (for example: Do not give out personal information freely. Keep your passwords private. Be thoughtful about how you give out your email addresses, phone numbers, and IM addresses.

(3) When Bullying Happens: Find out who you can report online bullying to. Start with your parents. Some forms of online bullying are against the law and should be reported to the police.

(4) Your Personal Reaction: Bullying can be extremely hurtful. If you are a victim, find someone in your community who you can talk to. MindOH! offers a series of useful worksheets called "Thinking it Through."

Educate Others

There are many ways to open dialog about this issue.

  • Organize a lunchtime conversation with students at your school.
  • Organize an evening event with representatives from the school board, faculty, parents, and the student body to discuss the problem of cyberbullying in your community.
  • Some organizations like i-SAFE, MindOH!, and Wired Safety offer opportunities for students to become online safety mentors. These websites also offer worksheets and programs for educating groups about online bullying. Visit the Resources section for links to these organizations.
  • Create posters with information about online bullying to post in computer labs at your school. Be sure to include information about who students can contact if they are a victim of bullying.
  • Work with adults in your community to start a victim support group for students who have been the victims of bullying.

Get Your School Involved

Find out if your school's anti-bullying policy already covers bullying using computers and cell phones. If not, work with your school board or other decision-makers to amend the policy to include disciplinary action for online bullying attacks.

Start a Conversation at Your School

Are there any of the ideas listed above that you want to pursue with your school or community? Follow the steps below to engage students and adults in conversation about supporting these programs.


Problem and Proposal
What is your problem? What is your proposal?

Problem: There are technology issues like bullying that I want to discuss with students and adults in my community.  
Proposal: Support programs for discussion, prevention, action, and support systems related to online bullying.

Print out this worksheet to collect your ideas and your research for your action proposal.



What reasons support your goal? Some examples might include:

  • Statistically, almost one-third of high school students are involved in some way in online bullying or harassment by other students.
  • Discussion opportunities, prevention and action steps, and support systems can help reduce online bullying and its effect on victims.

What is your school's technology plan?  Can you show how your idea supports your school or district’s plan for technology?

Read about school technology plans.


Find news articles and other research to learn how other schools have approached this same problem.

Browse the SVRC Success Stories for advice from the student community.

To gain support for your proposal, you may want to organize a poll to find out your classmates' opinions about online bullying. You might ask questions such as:

  • Have you or someone you know ever been bullied or harassed online by another student?
  • Do you know someone who has bullied someone else online?
  • On a scale of 1-5, how big a problem do you think online bullying is for students in your community?
  • Do you know who you would report a case of online bullying to?

Find resources and articles about planning research projects.


What other issues do you need to consider?

Read about issues to consider when suggesting change.


Details of your proposal

What is your proposal? Now that you’ve identified your goals and completed your research, write a summary of your proposal.


Think about groups and individuals who would be willing to support your idea. Some examples may include individual teachers, student clubs, your school’s PTA, the student government, service clubs, and local business groups. Try to think of a group that would have an interest in volunteering some time to help you.

Share your research and your proposal and see if these groups are willing to support you as a volunteer, a mentor, or even just adding their word of support to your proposal.

7. Make a presentation

A successful presentation summarizes your proposal, your rationale, and your research. This is what you are going to use to convince the decision-makers to support you.

Review the worksheet of what should be in your action proposal.

See an example of an Action Proposal presentation.

8. Set up a meeting

Write a letter, make a phone call, or send an email to set up a meeting with decision-makers to present your idea. Your letter should include an introduction of your proposal and a polite request for a time when you can share your idea. Explain that you have done research and have a proposal to share with them regarding the problem of online bullying.

Who makes decisions about this topic?

Read a who’s who of school decision makers.
8. Present Your Action Proposal: This is your chance you use your best manners. Remember, you want to be convincing and likeable. If you’ve followed the steps in this guide, you are prepared with good research and support for your ideas. Your job now is to present your proposal and gain support from decision-makers.

Have you had success creating new dialog about this issue at your school? Please submit your Success Story or email any feedback about this module to You are a star!

What YOU Said:

(Student Quotes from NetDay's 2004 Speak Up Day survey)

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