Staying Safe

What is Cyber Bullying?

Cyberbullying is when one person or a group of people try to threaten, tease or embarrass someone else by using technology, such as a mobile phone, camera, computer, gaming console, or the internet. Cyberbullying is just as harmful as bullying in the real world. If you see it happening, report it. Don't ignore it.

Are you a part of it?

Those who take part in online bullying often use a group of friends to target their victims by asking them to add a comment to a photo on a blog, or asking them to forward it onto another group of friends. Sometimes, these people don't even realise they're actually bullying someone.

The effects of cyberbullying

Even though cyberbullying cannot physically hurt you, it can still leave you feeling mentally vulnerable and very upset. You can also feel scared, lonely and stressed and that there's no way out. Escaping cyberbullying can be very difficult. Because anyone can get access to a mobile phone or the internet almost anywhere, it can be tough for those on the receiving end to avoid it, even in the safety of their own home.

Why do cyberbullies do it?

There's no simple answer for why some people choose to cause pain to others by bullying them. There are lots of possible reasons, but here are some common ones:

  • it can be simply a case of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time and allowing themselves to be easily intimidated
  • some people who cyberbully think that they won't get caught if they do it on a mobile phone or on the internet
  • the people who cyberbully are jealous, angry or want to have revenge on someone, often for no reason at all
  • cyberbullies often think that getting their group of friends to laugh at someone makes them look cool or more popular
  • some people also bully others as a form of entertainment or because they are bored and have too much time on their hands
  • many do it for laughs or just to get a reaction

Some facts about Cyber Bullying:

  • it can also be called technological bullying, e-bullying or happy slapping
  • it affects someone not just at school but at home as well
  • it takes place in the virtual world and spreads more quickly than the common cold
  • it can sometimes be hard to identify who the bully is
  • it can reach many people at once
  • it can sometimes be a result of not thinking
  • many incidents can act as evidence although bullying is not against the law; there are laws that apply in harassing or threatening behaviour

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) offers help and advice on cyberbullying, and maintains the Thinkuknow website for young people about staying safe online.

Find more help with bullying here.

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