What is Cyberbullying?

In 2016, ChildLine carried out 12,000 counselling sessions with children and young people about online issues. Cyberbullying is a serious problem that can happen at any time and in any place. Children are not safe from cyberbullying whenever they have access to the Internet. This could be when they are using their mobile phone in the street, at their friend’s house, when using a Laptop, PC or tablet at home and even when playing games consoles that are connected to the Internet. They may even be bullied online while they are at school or when they’re at home alone. As cyberbullying is so pervasive, it can be impossible to escape.

Cyberbullying is sometimes an extension of more traditional forms of bullying that takes place offline. However, it can also be performed by people that are unknown to the victim and carried out anonymously. The names shown online might not be genuine as it’s easy for the bully to create fake profiles.

Here are a few examples of cyberbullying:

  • Texts received that contain threats or abuse
  • Creation and the sharing of images and videos embarrassing the victim
  • The victim could be trolled on a variety of platforms including social networks and in chat rooms or when gaming online
  • Being excluded from online activities.
  • Creation of hate sites or groups.
  • The encouragement of self-harm.
  • The creation of abusive polls.
  • Creation of fake profiles using the name of the victim.
  • Stealing online IDs
  • Pressuring children to discuss sex or sexual conversations and/or send sexual images.

It is important to understand cyberbullying and to help your children or the young people in your care to stay safe online. The NSPCC have lots of useful advice for protecting children from abuse and cyberbullying, including the Be Share Aware campaign and Help Protect Children Online. Click the link to learn more.