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Intro to Digital Civility

10 min

Intro to Digital Civility

picture of 3 people talking happily in a park

Learning Objectives Students will be able to:
  • Comprehend how their online behavior both positively and negatively affects themselves and others.
  • Demonstrate ways they can contribute to fostering a positive in-game community.
  • Recognize cyberbullying or negative behavior and take actions to address it so others feel comfortable.

Digital civility (or also known as digital citizenship) is a set of skills and behaviors that helps create positive online experiences. This field includes many topics, such as data, privacy and media literacy To start, this overview discusses online identities and communities. Practical tips are included to help educators foster positive online experiences.

Digital Identities

Many of us create unique online identities. We might go online to pretend to be someone else, or enter a social network to talk about favorite games and movies. Regardless of who you are online, you’re still accountable for your behaviors. Part of being a digital citizen is being responsible for your actions and helping others be accountable for their own.

Your actions online have an impact on others and what people think of you. Being helpful and kind can spark friendship and foster a supportive community. Being rude might hurt someone, or encourage others to also act out.

  • Define Yourself - Don’t feel pressured to conform to what’s popular or what friends will like. Dress up as your own avatar, or share music you love on social media. You should likewise be supportive of the choices others are making.
  • The “Real Me” Test - If you have second thoughts about something, ask yourself if you would do or say this in person? How would you feel if someone said the same thing to you? Is it okay to bully someone just because it’s a game, or to share something you know is fake on social media? Would it be alright to do so?

Have students reflect on real life bullying with these discussion questions.

Note, before starting a conversation about bullying, set a few ground rules to foster a safe discussion space (no interruptions, don’t spread rumors, etc).

  • Was there a time you were bullied online or in real life? How did it make you feel? Did it make you stressed, keep you from doing something you liked?
  • Outside Roblox, where are places online you’ve seen bullying, such as in a social network or game. How can you respond to that bullying?

Online Communities

Roblox, as well as other social networks, are all great places to meet new people, hang out with friends, and play together. Part of what makes being online fun is friendly interactions, like helping someone. By being positive and proactive, everyone can contribute to an online community.

Building Positive Culture

Treat being online as you would real life. By being kind to others, they’ll be kind in return. If everyone follows this standard, it creates a culture where kindness is the norm.

  • Learn Online Etiquette - Before joining a new online space, try and see if there are any rules you should follow. If there aren’t any rules, see if you and some friends can make your own so everyone has a good time together. These may be rules like “no put-downs”, or “stay relaxed - it’s only a game”.
  • Find Ways to Participate - Ask others for help on a quest, share gameplay tips, or strike up a conversation.
  • Be Calm and Open-Minded - Just like real life, disagreements can happen. Always treat others as you would in real life. Take a step away from your device if you feel stressed or wanting to say something rude.

Give students some time to think of an online community they are part of or would like to be (such as a game or social network). Ask students what are some specific ways they can personally build a positive culture

Some examples and ideas below:

  • In a Roblox game, ask if anyone is new to the game and needs some advice on getting started. Or, even start a conversation in chat like “What’s your favorite part of this game?”.
  • On social media, if someone is having a rough day, reach out to them. Alternatively, take time to celebrate someone’s success.

Countering Cyberbullying

While cyberbullying does exist, you and others can personally take steps to address it. Instead of being a bystander, who observes an incident, be an upstander who takes action to reduce conflict.

Some ways that you can practice being an upstander are below.

  • Don’t Engage - Most people engaging in negative behavior online do so for fun, so don’t give them the reaction they want.
  • Support Those Affected - If you noticed someone bullied, offer them support. Make some small talk, like talking about their favorite game. Don’t talk about the person harassing them. It’s better to redirect the conversation to something positive and move on, than focusing on a hurtful incident.
  • Take Action and Report - Take time to learn how to report bad behavior on the platform you’re on. Reporting is quick, simple, and anonymous. For instance, you can learn how to report or block users in Roblox.
Being an Upstander
Being a Bystander

Griefing is a type of cyberbullying in games where one player actively tries to disrupt another’s game or creative experiences. For instance, if you are collaboratively building in Roblox Studio, griefing can be when someone destroys another’s work. To counter this, set strict expectations upfront to students and continue to reinforce good citizenship.


Help students be proactive in being upstanders by roleplaying how they’d react to cyberbullying. This handout includes different situations students may encounter and ideas for responses.