P4: Building a support network







Preventing, Responding


Relationship skills, Responsible decision-making, Social awareness


Ages 11-13, Ages 14-18


Timing: 40 minutes

Learning outcomes: learners will be able to…

  • Understand how building positive relationships and reputations online can protect them from cyberbullying.
  • Consider strategies for building a positive support network. 

Key vocabulary: cyberbullying, support, network, reputation, relationships, positive, protection, risk.

Resources: Google Slides, ‘Building a buffer’ worksheet (slide 7)

Key questions:

  • Why is it important to build a positive online reputation?
  • Why are positive relationships important to you?
  • Why might these be useful in reducing the risk of bullying?
  • How can you build a positive reputation online?
  • How can you build positive relationships with your peers?
  • What should online service providers do to create positive spaces?

Download the activity’s PowerPoint presentation

Starter activity (10 minutes)
Being positive

Start the session by asking learners to consider the following key question:

  • Why is it important to build a positive online reputation?

Answers may include:

  • People behave more positively towards you.
  • People say positive things about you.
  • People think you are a ‘nice/good’ person.
  • It helps people understand who you are.
  • It can help with your career or opportunities.
  • It creates a good first impression.
  • You get more attention.
  • It can make you feel good about yourself.

Ask learners about the importance of positive relationships:

  • Why are positive relationships important to you?

Answers will vary from learner to learner and may include ideas around respect, attention, well-being or good mood, help/support and mutual understanding.

Activity (20 minutes)

My support network

Ask learners why they think positive reputations and relationships might be helpful in reducing the risk of being bullied.

On slide 6, click through to display some ideas:

  • People who are well-liked/regarded highly might be less likely to be targeted by bullying.
  • A person with a positive reputation might receive more support from others around them if they are bullied.
  • Someone with positive relationships has someone they know they can turn to for support if they are being bullied.
  • Positive relationships in groups can create online spaces where bullying and other unacceptable behaviour happen less.

It is important to remind learners that, while these factors can help reduce the risk of bullying, anyone can still be targeted by bullying behaviour for a wide variety of reasons. 

For example, while being popular can sometimes work to protect a person from becoming a target, it can also sometimes make them a target if a bully was jealous of their popularity.

The key thing for learners to understand is that positive reputations and relationships can create a ‘buffer’ against bullying and helps ensure that you have at least one person you can turn to for support if you do become a target of bullying behaviour online. If a young person is well-liked in their online group/community and someone tries to bully them, there is also a greater chance that the group will rally round to support that young person rather than act as bystanders.

Using slide 7, provide a copy to each learner and explain that they are going to consider the steps they could take to build or enhance their reputation and online relationships in order to create a potential buffer against bullying. They should include one strategy in each circle on the worksheet.

Slide 8 provides some suggestions for how reputations and relationships can be improved online. This can be used to support learners who are unsure on specific strategies they could use.

Plenary (10 minutes)

As a whole group, encourage learners to share their strategies and explain why these would work for them.

To finish the session, ask learners to consider the following question:

  • What should online service providers do to create positive spaces?

Answers might include the need for greater moderation, clearer rules or stronger actions against users who behave inappropriately.