What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the harassment, humiliation, embarrassment, threatening or tormenting of a child or teenager using digital technology.
This bullying takes place by email, instant messaging, in chat rooms, on web sites, on blogs and through online game interactions.
Cyberbullying also happens in social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace and Twitter. Demeaning messages are left on a Facebook page, embarrassing photos uploaded, gossip and rumors spread.
Because the damage is often psychological, the threats posed by cyber bullying are very real. Cyberbullying can lead to severe depression, self harm and even suicide. Cyber bullying can be just as devastating as bullying in real life and in often is an extension of the bullying already endured in the real world at school.
Findings from one University of Toronto survey —
- researchers interviewed 2,095 students in Grades 6, 7, 10 from 32 schools. They found 22% had engaged in name-calling, one in 20 made threats, 12% spread rumors and 14% impersonated other kids. Of those who confessed to making nasty calls or bullying via text messages, the victim's appearance and race was the motive in 31% of cases. 36% had no motive.
- one in four students reported bullying internet or by cell phone.
- one in five say they've done the bullying
- two out of 10 victims said the nastiness went beyond the anonymity of cyber-bullying into the real world where threats and outcomes are more frightening.
- Teachers estimated 35% of bullies are in 4-7, 58% are in grades 8-10 and 26% in grades11-12.
- girls are more likely to complain.
- slightly over one quarter or 565 of the participants reported being called names or made to feel badly — 36% by so-called friends, 34% by other students and 14% by strangers. One in five said they were also bullied "in real life."
- over one in 10 said they had been threatened. Half said they felt angry, scared, sad, depressed or were having trouble sleeping.
- Some confronted senders, others ignored them. Almost one in five told a pal. But fewer than 10% told a parent. 84% of the 148 surveyed parents were confident they'd be consulted if their child was being bullies.
- Of 277 teachers surveyed, 39% had a student seek help.
- students worried that if they told, they would lose their computer privileges at home.
- a great risk is the stranger who disguises his or her age and identity. Many are into luring kids into porn and sharing web-photos.
- The survey found 10% of the students had received unwelcome words or sex-related photos and 9% had been asked to do something sexual on camera. 32% of these were by other students — more than a quarter by a pal or a stranger.
For help with building child self esteem go to Child Self Esteem and Building Child Self Esteem
How to Stop Cyberbullying
- Help kids understand what cyber bullying is, why it is wrong, and the consequences for a student who engages in it.
- Encourage kids to seek help from an adult if they see cyber bullying.
- Help kids to be internet safety savvy. Let them know that they can't trust people they don’t know online. Make sure that they know the dangers of sharing personal information and passwords with people other than their parents.
Be sure they understand the consequences of posting photos online — that later on their careers could be affected.
- Parents should have access to their kids' accounts. Children should know that their parents are checking their online activities.
Computers should be in a busy area of the house, not in bedrooms. Parents should also be aware of their children’s cell phone use. Kids need their privacy but they also need to know that their parents have a responsibility to keep them safe.
- children need to know that bullying is wrong and that if they are victimized it’s not their fault.
Parent Help for Cyberbullying
- Don't punish a child for being the victim. Parents should not remove their child’s computer or cell phone privileges to protect them. Education is crucial.
- Encourage kids not to retaliate against cyber bullies. Let them know that they did not cause the bullying.
Document all cyberbullying incidents. Save the message, print it, or save a screen shot. This provides proof for dealing with the consequences and serves as a deterrent to bullies who believe they might be caught.
- When a child is the victim of cyber bullying, discuss steps for stopping the attacks. For information on this go to — Stop Bullies
Try to block messages from the cyberbully, obtain a new email address or cell phone number.
- Engage school administration with a proof the bullying and a request for a meeting with the bully’s parents. Police may have to be involved.
- Parents can report the bullying to bully's cell phone provider, internet provider. Cyber bullies can lose their accounts for cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a serious problem with devastating consequences for the victim and society. With parents, teachers, school administration and the police working on this issue, it can be dealt with. Education is the key to solving this very difficult problem.
For more information on bullying, go to —
What is bullying?
Effects of Bullying