Cyber bullying is any form of bullying which takes place online or through smartphones and other computing devices. This will social networking sites, messaging apps, gaming sites, chat rooms and more.  It can happen to anyone at any time but it is perhaps children and teenagers who suffer the most from online bullying and may find it very difficult to deal with. 

A recent national bullying survey showed 56% of young people said they have witnessed online bullying and 42% have felt unsafe online.

This is a major problem and is very difficult to stop.

Methods of Cyberbullying

The most common methods are :-

·         Harassment - sending offensive, rude, or insulting messages and being abusive.

·         Humiliation – someone may send information about another person that is fake, damaging and untrue. Sharing photos of someone for the purpose to ridicule, spreading fake rumours and gossip.

·         Flaming – someone is purposely using extreme and offensive language and getting into online arguments and fights.

·         Impersonation – someone may hack into a person’s email or social networking account and use the person's online identity to send or post vicious or embarrassing material to/about others.  They may instead create fake accounts pretending to be the person.

·         Revealing Secrets – someone may share personal information about another or trick someone into revealing secrets and forward it to others.

·         Cyber Stalking – the act of repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm, harassment, intimidating messages, or engaging in other online activities that make a person afraid for his or her safety. The actions may be illegal too depending on what they are doing.

·         Exclusion – others intentionally leave someone out of a group such as group messages, online apps, gaming sites and other online engagement. This is also a form of social bullying and a very common.

·         Threatening behaviour. Anyone who makes threats against you on the internet could be committing a criminal offence.

·         Blackmail and Grooming. There is an offence called "grooming" in the UK and people who have been found guilty of "grooming" have been jailed.

·         Abusive Comments. It can be tempting to reply to unpleasant comments by returning equally unpleasant comments, but that’s a trap as it makes the situation worse.

·         Inappropriate images. It's easy to save any pictures of anyone on any site and upload them to the internet. Make sure that you have the person's permission to take a picture and that they're happy for thousands of people to see it on the internet.

The Effects of Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying can have devastating effects on anyone but especially on children who may feel totally alone and may blame themselves. If you are cyber bullied you must confide in someone – a parent, a teacher or the Police.  

Cyber bullying affects people from any age or walk of life, including children, teens and adults who all feel very distressed and alone when being bullied online. 

Recent statistics show that

·         20% of children and young people indicate fear of cyber bullies made them reluctant to go to school

·         5% reported self-harm

·         3% reported an attempt of suicide as a direct result of cyber bullying

·         Young people are found to be twice as likely to be bullied on FB as any other social networking site.

·         28% of young people have reported incidents of cyber bullying on Twitter

·         26% of young people have reported incidents of cyber bullying on Ask.fm

Ref: Beat Bullying Virtual Violence II report commissioned by Nominet Trust in association with NAHT

The Law

All countries have laws which should prevent bullying and punish those who perpetrate bullying in any form, but these do vary widely.

See the website https://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/ for in-depth information on cyber bullying and buying in general and details on who to contact for help.

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