Digital dilemmas designed to nudge students toward wiser online decisions encouraged spirited suggestions from the student audience as students played AT&T's Digital You game last week at Reynoldsburg STEM Middle at Baldwin Road.

Digital dilemmas designed to nudge students toward wiser online decisions encouraged spirited suggestions from the student audience as students played AT&T's Digital You game last week at Reynoldsburg STEM Middle at Baldwin Road.

Renaissance Riley and Jadin McVay stood in front of a computer monitor and large screen set up in the gymnasium March 10, choosing answers to questions in the online game, while students called out their choices.

Set in a town called Anywhere, players choose an animated character in the Digital You game and deal with various online situations, such as whether to download certain content or respond to negative posts. Players then find out how those choices negatively or positively affected each character's digital fate.

AT&T External Affairs Director Nicole Walker led the presentation for Baldwin's eighth-graders, covering ways students are bullied online and how to prevent being cyberbullied.

"When I was in middle school, I was bullied," Walker said. "I was 5-feet, 8-inches in the sixth grade, so I was taller than all the boys and girls -- tall and skinny.

"I was also a different color than my classmates," she said. "I was not lucky enough to go to a diverse school. Kids bullied me right to my face."

She said today's students see "a constant push of information" on their cellphones and computers, so incidents of cyberbullying keep increasing.

Because it takes place online, cyberbullying has three characteristics that make it more prevalent than regular bullying, Walker said: It is anonymous, uninhibited and public.

"At least 25 percent of students in a survey admitted to saying something bad about someone online they would never say in person and they admitted they normally might not use the kind of language they used online -- so they lose inhibitions," she said.

Online bullying can also be permanent, she said.

"What you post online does not go away," Walker said.

Guidance counselor Kathy Evans said cyberbullying is happening not only across the world, but also at Baldwin.

"We have had incidents of sexting here and a student nearly blackmailed because of something posted online," she said. "A student was told, 'You should kill yourself, no one would care,' in an online post.

"You need to know what you can do if you find yourself in a cyberbullying situation," Evans said.

Walker told students about three important steps to take if they are either bullied online or notice it happening to another student: "Save the evidence, log off and tell someone."

"We need to you be an 'upstander,' not a bystander," she said. "Offer support, stand up against the bullying and tell an adult."

According to a recent national study by Hart Research Associates, 43 percent of teens say they have posted something online that they later regretted, Walker said.

"We have recently seen incidents of cyberbullying here, so we wanted to be proactive about giving students tools against it," teacher Chastity Bobst said. "Our students will be working on a public-service announcement on how to deal with cyberbullies."

Walker said AT&T has been presenting the program to schools and organizations for about a year.

"We want people to use our technology but we want them to use it responsibly," she said.