What is it?

Cyber-Bullying is a type of bullying which can involve the victim being harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted via the internet, social media or by mobile phone.

Some children believe that cyber-bullying is not as serious as other forms of bullying, but that is not true.

What can cyber-bullying involve?

  • Virtual mobbing or dog-piling: Encouraging other people to harass someone on social media 
  • Doxxing: Publishing someone’s personal information
  • Trolling: Posting messages which are intended to provoke an angry response
  • Baiting: Accusing someone of being involved in sexual activity
  • Cyber-stalking: Repeated use of online messaging to frighten or harass
  • Spamming: Sending a large number of unwanted messages
  • Flaming: Abusing someone in a live chat forum.

How can I protect myself online?

  • Do not post personal information such as your home address or the password anywhere online
  • Only give your mobile phone number to your close friends and relatives
  • Be careful about posting images of yourself or friends
  • Learn how to block messages or filter spam messages so that you do not receive them in the future
  • Adjust your privacy settings on social media accounts so that only friends and relatives can see your information.

What can I do if I am a victim of cyber-bullying?

  • Talk to an adult that you trust such as a parent, relative or teacher
  • Report the bullying to your school as they have a responsibility to prevent all forms of bullying, including cyber-bullying
  • Report the bullying to your Internet Service Provider and the particular online platform where the bullying has taken place, for example Facebook
  • Do not respond to the bully
  • Save evidence of the bullying.

What can happen to me if I have cyber-bullied someone else?

You may be committing a criminal offence if the cyber-bullying is causing ‘alarm or distress’ to the victim (under the Harassment Act 1997). Or can be considered ‘grossly offensive’ (Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003). For more information see What can happen to me if I break the law?

Your school has a legal duty to prevent all forms of bullying and will punish you by putting you in detention, isolation or even excluding you. For more information see Exclusions and discipline.