What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the use of technology such as mobile phones and the internet to bully other people. According to NSPCC 38% of young people have been affected by cyber-bullying. Some studies put the figure significantly higher (Juvonen and Gross 2008 at nearly 75%.)
What does cyberbullying involve?
There are many ways in which people may be bullied using technology, common methods have been listed below:
- Texting or emailing threatening messages to people.
- Posting an embarrassing video of someone on a hosting site such as YouTube.
- Harassing someone by repeatedly sending texts or instant messages in a chat room.
- Making fun of someone on a social media site such as Facebook, and specifically setting up profiles to do this.
- ‘Happy slapping', which is when people use their mobiles to film and share videos of physical attacks.
- Posting or forwarding someone else's personal or private information or images without their permission.
- Sending viruses on purpose to another person’s computer.
- Making abusive comments about another user on a gaming site.
Tips for parents and carers:
- Speak to your child about what they are viewing online, to ensure you are part of their online life. It is important that they know they can come to you if they have any problems.
- Set boundaries as you would in the real world. Find out what they share, do and talk about online. Setting boundaries is important because at a young age children will develop the skills they need to enjoy going online.
- Check the computer history and place the family computer in a common area that can easily be viewed.
- Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops.
Where to get additional support:
- Children and young people can contact ChildLine confidentially on 0800 1111.
- Report the bullying to the internet service provider (ISP) if the bullying happened online.
- Serious bullying, such as physical or sexual threats should always be reported to the police.
Further resources on cyberbullying:
Childnet – young people and social networking sites
- A guide for parents, carers and teachers about social networking sites.
Facebook privacy settings
- A useful factsheet for teachers and parents and carers on setting privacy levels for Facebook
Virtual violence: protecting children
- A comprehensive report of research on cyber-bullying