Cyber Bullying is serious harassment that can cause serious consequences, including an increased risk for mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, lowered self esteem and an increased risk of substance abuse and school drop-out. Learn more about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of cyber bullying and learn what you can do to make it stop when it’s happening to you, or to someone you love.
Cyber bullying is best defined as when a person or a group of people repeatedly use communications technologies to harass, gossip about, threaten, humiliate, or otherwise bully a victim.
Although harassment can occur as an isolated incident, for this cyber harassment to qualify as cyber bullying – the harassment, taunting or threats must occur repeatedly, over a period of time, and the bully or bullies must have the intent to cause harm or pain to their victim.
Cyber bullying can occur over email or IM, through texts or pictures or videos sent over mobile phones, on social networking sites, like Facebook or Twitter, on anonymous chat rooms and on internet forums. Some examples of common cyber bullying tactics include:
- Creating a fake Facebook page for another person – complete with correct name, unflattering photos and correct contact info.
- Spreading anonymous rumors about a certain person on internet forums or in local chat rooms
- Sending bulk emails or texts to pass unflattering or private pictures or videos of a victim
- Hacking into a victim’s social networking account to post disturbing or sexually explicit comments on the profiles of others
Who Does It?
While we sometimes hear disturbing accounts of adults cyber bullying teens and even children – in most cases, the bullying is done between people of a similar age group.
Cyber bullying is most often perpetrated and aimed at teens and preteens during the last years of middle school and the first years of high school.1
What Are the Consequences of Cyber Bullying?
While in the past bully victims could at least get some respite from the harassment while at home, today’s victims are at the mercy of their bullies 24 hours a day – 7 days a week, and in addition to that, the audience for cyber bullying can be much larger than a few classmates laughing on the playground, in some horrific cases, cyber bullying videos have become internet hits and been seen by millions.
The consequences of cyber bullying can be lasting and severe, and can include:
- An increased risk of depression
- Lowered self esteem
- Physical health problems
- An increased risk to use and abuse drugs or alcohol
- An increased risk of school truancy or school drop out
- An increased risk to do poorly at school
Obviously when consequences can be as severe and life changing as drug or alcohol abuse, school non completion or an increased risk of mental illness – cyber bullying cannot be tolerated as a normal part of today’s teenage experience and parents and teen bystanders need to do all that they can to minimize the occurrences of online harassment.
Page last updated Jul 08, 2011