Cyberbullying – What Is Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying – What Is Cyberbullying

What is Cyberbullying?

Teen girl being cyberbullied_3
Teen girl being cyberbullied_3

Cyberbullying is when a young person uses the Internet or other technology to target, harass, threaten, or embarrass someone else.

Cyberbullying can happen online in social media, forums, or gaming where users can view, interact with, or share content. It can also happen through SMS, Text, and apps.

Sending, posting, or disseminating unfavorable, harmful, or malicious content about someone else is considered cyberbullying. It can also involve disclosing sensitive or private information about another person in a way that causes embarrassment or humiliation. Cyberbullying occasionally veers into illegal or criminal behavior.

Tweens and teens are typically the targets of cyberbullying; however, adults can also become the target of cyberbullying and public humiliation.

The consequences of cyberbullying are frequently more severe than those of traditional bullying.

The offensive messages not only spread to an infinite audience but are frequently archived online as well.

Even if someone deletes a nasty comment, chances are good that it still exists in some other form, like a screenshot or a text message that was circulated. Even worse, victims of cyberbullying frequently have no idea who is harassing them, making it difficult for them to stop the behavior. The following are the locations where cyberbullying happens most frequently:

Particular Concerns

Due to the popularity of social media and online forums, people frequently share comments, photos, posts, and other content that can be seen by both acquaintances and complete strangers. A person’s online activity, including any negative, hurtful, or hurtful content they share, becomes a kind of irreversible public record of their beliefs, actions, and behavior. This public record, which may be accessed by schools, employers, colleges, clubs, and others conducting current or future background checks on a person, can be thought of as their online reputation. Not just the victim of cyberbullying, but also those who bully or participate in it, can have their online reputations harmed. Cyberbullying raises particular issues because it may involve:

Persistent – Because digital devices make it possible to communicate instantly and continuously throughout the day, it can be challenging for children who are victims of cyberbullying to get help.

Most electronically transmitted information is permanent and available to the public if not reported and deleted. A bad online reputation, including for bullies, can affect employment opportunities, college admissions, and other aspects of life.

It is difficult to notice cyberbullying because teachers and parents might not hear or see it happening.

Sanctions and Laws

There are laws in every state requiring schools to deal with bullying. As the prevalence of cyberbullying has increased due to the use of technology, many states now include cyberbullying in their laws or make reference to cyberbullying offenses. Schools may act in accordance with the law or in accordance with local or institutional rules that permit them to impose punishment or take other measures. Some states have laws that address bullying if it interferes with students’ academic performance. You can discover more about each state’s laws and regulations, including whether or not they address cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying Incidence

Federally gathered information on bullying of children can be found in two places:

According to the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice’s 2019 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, approximately 16 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 nationwide have experienced cyberbullying.

According to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 15.7% of high school students reported experiencing cyberbullying in the year before the survey.

Online bullying strategies

It’s critical to comprehend how children are bullied online so that it can be quickly identified and addressed. Posting mean, hurtful, or embarrassing comments or rumors about someone online is among the most popular cyberbullying techniques.

  • Threatening to harm someone or encouraging them to commit suicide
  • Posting an offensive image or video.
  • Assuming a different identity online in order to solicit or post false or personal information about another person.
  • Mentioning any race, religion, ethnicity, or other personal characteristic in derogatory or hateful terms or in online comments.
  • Making a hurtful or offensive website about someone.
  • Doxing, an acronym for word documents, is an online harassment tactic used to exact retribution as well as to threaten and violate people’s privacy by exposing their private information, including addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, phone numbers, links to social media accounts, and other details.

Example of viral strategies

Examples from actual incidents can help people better understand the strategies that are frequently employed because there are numerous ways that cyberbullying can occur. Bullying can raise the risk of behaviors related to suicide when combined with other risk factors. Cyberbullying can also be persistent, raising the risk of anxiety and depression. Some states have made the decision to prosecute young people who harass others, including encouraging someone to commit suicide, as criminal harassment. Some types of cyberbullying are harassment that crosses the line into crime, and some strategies are used in romantic relationships and have the potential to escalate to physical violence.

The stories that follow are examples of various cyberbullying strategies that might be used.

Cyberbullying can actually be positively addressed to reduce harm and potential negative outcomes with the right interventions. Cyberbullying can have long-term negative effects on mental health if it is not addressed. Bullying and cyberbullying can have a negative effect on everyone involved.

Sharing of naked photos

While dating, a teenage girl sent her boyfriend a picture of herself in her underwear. He circulated the image among other kids after their breakup, who texted and posted hurtful, slurs about her.

Lies and unfounded allegations


A group of students who were in trouble at school for being intoxicated claimed that an unrelated girl had reported them to administrators.

They started sending her hateful texts all hours of the day and night, along with offensive social media posts. As soon as other students saw their messages, they all started tormenting the girl. She experienced constant verbal and written bullying at school. Her social media accounts were eventually deleted, and she also changed her phone number. Bullying at school persisted nonetheless.

Bullied due to having financial difficulties

On another classmate’s social media account, students left cruel, disparaging remarks about his attire, criticizing his sneakers, which were not the more expensive name brands the majority of them were wearing. They continued the bullying at school by making fun of him and calling him “poor.” The boy missed numerous days of school in an effort to avoid the bullying and humiliation.

A false identity profile, also known as a “Sockpuppet,”

A classmate of a girl set up a phony social media profile in a boy’s name and started corresponding with the girl there. Even though she had never seen him in person, the girl told this “boy” intimate details about herself and her family. The classmate who made the fictitious account afterwards distributed the personal data to other kids, who used it to harass, humiliate, and bully the girl.

Promoting suicide or self-harm

Other pupils bullied a young child with a physical impairment and facial scars on social media and through text messages. They insulted him and said he would be better off dead. “Why don’t you die” was written on his locker at school and encouraged him to commit suicide.

Homophobic harassment

A teenage boy who was outright gay started getting death threats over the phone, through texts, and on social media. He was harassed by students who set up an anti-gay social media group and posted offensive messages about him.

A jealous bully

Because she was dating a very popular boy, a teenage girl was bullied by the other girls in her class. The girls wrote offensive messages on her school locker and sent her hateful texts and social media posts.

Online Gaming Doxing

A teen boy voiced his disapproval of specific game elements and strategies in comments on a public gaming forum. A forum participant who disagreed with him later looked up the boy’s contact information online and posted the address, email address, and social media links in a subsequent comment. The boy then started receiving numerous emails and messages from unknown people threatening to break into his house, beat him up, and stop him from playing games.

Stop Cyberbullying

stop cyberbullying
stop cyberbullying

Observe what your children are doing online.

There are several ways that a child can be involved in cyberbullying. A child may bully others, bully themselves, or simply witness bullying. It’s possible that parents, teachers, and other adults are unaware of every piece of digital media and app that a child uses. A child has a greater chance of being exposed to potential cyberbullying the more digital platforms they use.

Warning Signs that a Child is Being Cyberbullied or is Cyberbullying Others

Many of the telltale signs of cyberbullying revolve around a child’s device usage. The following are some red flags that a child may be engaged in online bullying:

Use of devices, including texting, has changed noticeably in either direction.

A child withdraws, feels down, or loses interest in things and people.

How to Respond to Cyberbullying

Take action to look into a child’s online behavior if you notice any indicators that they may be engaging in cyberbullying. Adults should treat cyberbullying like any other form of bullying by supporting the victim, dealing with any participants’ bullying behavior, and demonstrating to kids that cyberbullying is taken seriously. Cyberbullying occurs online, so responding to it necessitates various strategies. You can take a number of actions if you believe a child is a victim of cyberbullying:


  • Determine whether there has been a change in behavior or mood and investigate the potential causes.
  • A child reacts emotionally to what is happening on their device, showing signs of laughter, rage, and upset.
  • When others are nearby, a child will cover their screen or device and avoid talking about what they are doing on it.
  • Social media accounts disappear or are replaced.
  • Even social situations that they once enjoyed, a child begins to avoid them.
  • Check to see if these changes coincide with a child’s use of digital devices.
  • Ask questions to find out what is going on, how it began, and who is involved.


  • Keep a log of what occurs and where. If you can, take screenshots of any offensive posts or content. The majority of laws and regulations state that bullying is a recurring behavior, so records are helpful in proving it.


report cyberbullying
report cyberbullying
  • The majority of social media sites and educational institutions have transparent reporting procedures. Inform the school if a classmate is cyberbullying you. To have offensive content removed, you can also report it to app or social media platforms.
  • Inform the police if a child has received physical threats, a crime seems to be being committed, or if any illegal activity is taking place.


Sometimes trusted adults, peers, and mentors can publicly step in to change a situation where a child is the subject of offensive or hurtful content. To try to change the conversation in a positive way, public intervention can involve posting flattering remarks about the person being bullied. Reaching out to the bullied child and the one being bullied to express your concern can also be helpful. If at all possible, try to ascertain whether the parties involved require additional professional assistance, such as speaking with a guidance counselor or mental health specialist.

Online gaming and cyberbullying

Seventy percent of adolescents under the age of 18 play videogames, making it a common pastime. Some games are single-player or solo games, while others support multiple players. Users can play multiplayer games with individuals they know in person and people they meet online, regardless of whether they are played on a computer, game console, portable system, smartphone, or tablet. In actuality, 65% of gamers of all ages claim to play cooperatively. Videogames come in a wide variety of genres, including fighting, sports, action, and role-playing games. Other instructional games include puzzle games, sandbox/build/construct games, and others.

The advantages of online gaming

Playing video games can improve a player’s social, emotional, and cognitive abilities. Additionally, it can aid kids and teenagers in developing their strategic and problem-solving abilities. Children may gain social skills through playing multiplayer team games. Playing video games can help kids develop their motor skills and inventiveness. Additionally, playing video games gives players a place to express their emotions, which can improve mood and reduce anxiety. Making new friends and socializing can be done while playing video games.

Online gaming risks

Gaming has the ability to be good for you, but it can also be a place where you get bullied online.

When a player is not performing well in a game, other players may curse, make hurtful comments, or even exclude the player from future games.

A fun aspect of gaming is that users can create alter egos or fictional versions of themselves thanks to player anonymity and avatar use. However, it also enables users to bother, trample, and occasionally team up against other players. It can be challenging to hold anonymous players accountable when they harass other players and use the game as a bullying tool. Some players might use the game to harass other players or to obtain their personal data, such as usernames and passwords.

They can even use the “doxing” strategy to post the private information of others online. Doxing can compromise not only a child’s information but also that of their parents, making them vulnerable to bullying and harassment.

Gamers frequently use social media and online gaming communities to interact with other players, learn strategies, share tips, form teams or guilds, and connect while playing or watching others play. These kinds of online forums are also a place where cybercriminals might try to do harm, for example by posting links that seem to be about games but are actually computer viruses or malware (software intended to disrupt, damage, or gain access to a computer), or where predators might try to get access to children.

Stopping Online Bullying Against Gamers

stop cyberbullying
stop cyberbullying

For everyone, gaming can be a positive, safe, and enjoyable experience. By playing the game with their child or watching the game to understand how it functions and what a child is exposed to in the game, parents can prevent cyberbullying of their children who play video games.

  • Playing the game with your child while periodically checking to see if they are online.
  • Knowing the security risks associated with the gaming communities, social media, and apps your child uses, which you can research online.
  • Assisting your child in configuring the security and privacy settings for their apps and games.
  • Educating kids about safe digital conduct includes teaching them not to click on links from strangers, not to download bots (software that performs repetitive tasks), not to click on links in gaming forums, not to share their personal information like emails, phone numbers, and passwords, not to participate in other players’ bullying, and what to do if they witness or experience cyberbullying.
  • Keeping lines of communication open regarding your child’s online activities.
  • Gamers have options if they come across cyberbullying while playing or experience it themselves:
  • Encourage the bullied player to stop.
  • Teaching kids safe digital practices, such as not downloading bots (software that performs repetitive tasks), not clicking on links in gaming forums, and not sharing personal information like emails, phone numbers, and passwords, as well as what to do if they witness or experience cyberbullying, is important.
  • Establishing limitations on the amount of time children can spend playing video games.
  • Maintaining a dialogue with your child about their online activities.

If they encounter cyberbullying while playing games or witness it happen to others, gamers can take the following actions:

  • Inform the player who is being mean to stop.
  • Defriend the bully on social media and in gaming communities, and block them from the game.
  • Report the bully player to the game’s community, team, platform, or developers.
  • Stop playing the game, please.
  • Get support by telling a parent or other responsible adult.

Report online bullying.

It’s crucial to record and report instances of cyberbullying so that the problem can be addressed.

Actions to Take Right Away

Read the sections on your rights and obligations or the terms and conditions. These describe what is and isn’t proper content.

To understand how to ban users and modify settings to limit who can contact you, visit social media safety centers.

Inform the social media platform about cyberbullying so that they can take appropriate action against those who violate the terms of service.

Inform law enforcement about cyberbullying.

These behaviors are regarded as crimes when cyberbullying involves them, and should be reported to law enforcement:

Threatening behavior

Sending sexually explicit texts or images, or engaging in child pornography

Capturing images or videos of people in settings where they might anticipate privacy

Hate crimes and harassment

Other varieties of cyberbullying are illegal in some states. For more information, check with law enforcement and your state’s laws.

Inform schools about cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying, which frequently overlaps with physical bullying, can disrupt the learning environment at school. The data can be used by the school to help inform prevention and response plans.

Schools must address cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policy in many states. Some state laws also cover conduct occurring off-campus that fosters a hostile learning environment.


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