Cyberbullying and the Law (Grades 9-12) - Lesson Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 9 to 12

Duration: Two hours

Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & CREATE: A Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson, students learn about and discuss the legal aspects of cyberbullying. They review a variety of hypothetical scenarios and a case study, and they consider the seriousness of the situations; who is legally responsible, what action (if any) should be taken and by whom. To determine this, students will seek answers to the following questions: How does cyberbullying differ from offline bullying? What aspects of a cyberbullying case make it a cause for legal action? What determines whether it is a civil or a criminal matter? How should rights to freedom of expression, guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, be balanced against rights to security of person? When and how are schools responsible for cyberbullying cases?

This lesson is part of the Cyberbullying: Encouraging ethical online behaviour lesson series.

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • analyze scenarios and case studies, and make judgments on them
  • consider and discuss factors that affect whether online actions are, in fact, cyberbullying
  • demonstrate knowledge of legal terms and definitions related to cyberbullying
  • demonstrate knowledge of responsible citizenship and ethical behaviour online
  • become familiar with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • argue and support an opinion

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.