What is Cyberbullying?

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Cyberbullying is the use of the Internet, cell phones and other technology to send or post content that is intended to hurt or embarrass another person.

The term “cyberbullying” is used only when the bully and the victim are both under the age of 18. When one or both parties are adults, it’s called “cyberstalking” or “cyber-harassment.”

Cyberbullying has become more common thanks to widespread access to cell phones and the Internet, even among young children. Often, kids who are cyberbullied also are bullied in person.

What Constitutes Cyberbullying?

Three elements are found in all forms of bullying, including cyberbullying:

  • Imbalance of power: People who bully use their power to control or harm, and the people being bullied have a hard time defending themselves.
  • Intent to cause harm: Hurtful actions that truly occur by accident are not bullying. The person bullying must have a goal to cause harm.
  • Repetition: Incidents of bullying generally happen to the same person over and over, from the same person or group.

Types of Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can take many forms, reports StopCyberbullying.org, including the following.

Direct attacks:

  • Stealing passwords and posing as the person under their personal account
  • Creating websites with insulting or embarrassing content that are available to a larger crowd
  • Sending mass emails and/or text messages with embarrassing content

Cyberbullying by proxy:

  • Using “warning” or “notify” functions enough times that the intended victim’s account is revoked
  • Posing online as the intended victim and sending out hurtful messages to others, turning more people against him or her
  • Posting a person’s personal contact information (cell phone, email, etc.) so that others can contact and harass him or her
  • Sending hurtful, rude or mean text messages about the person to others
  • Spreading rumors or lies by email or on social networks
  • Creating websites, videos or social media profiles that embarrass, humiliate or make fun of others

Learn more:
Cyberbullying Effects
Stop Cyberbullying
Prevent Cyberbullying