What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying with the use of digital means technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms, mobile phones etc. It is repeated behaviour, aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted. Examples include:
Spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos or videos of someone on social media, sending hurtful, abusive or threatening messages, images or videos via messaging platforms impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf or through fake accounts.
Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying can often happen alongside each other. But cyberbullying leaves a digital footprint – a record that can prove useful and provide evidence to help stop the abuse.
What are the effects of cyberbullying?
When bullying happens online it can feel as if you’re being attacked everywhere, even inside your own home. It can seem like there’s no escape. The effects can last a long time and affect a person in many ways:
Mentally – feeling upset, embarrassed, stupid, even afraid or angry
Emotionally – feeling ashamed or losing interest in the things you love
Physically – tired (loss of sleep), or experiencing symptoms like stomach aches and headaches
Who should I talk to if someone is bullying me online? Why is reporting important?
If you think you’re being bullied, the first step is to seek help from someone you trust such as your parents, a close family member or another trusted adult. In your school you can reach out to a counsellor, the sports coach or your favourite teacher – either online or in person and if you are not comfortable talking to someone you know, search for a helpline in your country to talk to a professional counsellor.
If the bullying is happening on a social platform, consider blocking the bully and formally reporting their behaviour on the platform itself. Social media companies are obligated to keep
their users safe.