R1: Your moral compass







Responding, Understanding


Responsible decision-making, Self-awareness, Self-management, Social awareness


Ages 14-18


Timing: 40 minutes

Learning outcomes: learners will be able to…

  • Consider the morals and values they hold around online communication and relationships.
  • Identify online situations that may change someone’s ‘moral compass’
  • Discuss reasons why people behave differently online and how to respond to this.

Key vocabulary: cyberbullying, morals, values, ethics, communication, relationships, moral compass, behaviour, disinhibition.

Resources: Google Slides, Moral Compass signs (slides 5-10), scenarios (slide 11)

Key questions:

  • What do you think is right/wrong to do?
    • What is right/wrong online?
  • Do people behave the same online as they do offline?
    • Why/why not?
    • What might this behaviour different?
  • Do you behave the same online or offline?
    • Why/why not?
  • How would you respond to someone online who is treating others badly?

Download the activity’s PowerPoint presentation

Starter activity (5 minutes)

Right and wrong

Ask learners what they think are the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to behave online. You may wish to use slide 4 to record their suggestions. Discuss these with learners and challenge them – are these behaviours always wrong or are there exceptions? Some behaviours may be universally wrong, others may depend on the circumstances or context.

Activity (25 minutes)
Your moral compass

Print the moral compass signs (slides 5-10) and place them around the room. 

Explain to learners that they will be exploring some different online scenarios and their attitudes towards different behaviours.

Using the scenarios on slide 11, read one out at a time and ask learners to stand next to the sign that represents their belief in this area. Encourage learners to be honest in their responses – although ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ are choices, there are no definitive right or wrong answers.

After each scenario, ask learners why they hold that belief/opinion and (if possible) ask them to provide an example to back up their view. Encourage other learners to respond with their views – they may be able to provide examples that act as exemptions or counter the views of others in the group.

Note: Depending on the time available, you may wish to select some of the scenarios rather than discuss all of them. You can also introduce other scenarios you feel are relevant to your learners, or invite them to give their own scenario.

Once all the scenarios have been discussed, ask learners to consider how they would tackle unacceptable behaviour online. Take and discuss suggestions. 

These may include:

  • Confronting the unacceptable behaviour
  • Attempting to persuade the user to stop
  • Reporting the user
  • Blocking the user
  • Ignoring the user
  • Telling a trusted adult or someone who can help
Plenary (10 minutes)

Ask learners to reflect on the discussions they have had today. What have they learned about online behaviour? Encourage learners to share their thoughts.

Take time to explain that, while cyberbullying is unacceptable behaviour, there are other behaviours online that might be acceptable or justified under specific circumstances (e.g. forwarding on a nasty message about someone is acceptable if it is being forwarded to someone who can help deal with the issue.)