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Find out what makes cyberbullying different

Cyberbullying is when someone bullies others using electronic means, this might involve social media and messaging services on the internet, accessed on a mobile phone, tablet or gaming platform. The behaviour is usually repeated.

Like any form of bullying, cyberbullying can be horrible for the children involved and hard for them to talk about.

Cyberbullying can happen via text, email and on social networks and gaming platforms. It can consist of: 

Dr Linda Papadopoulos offers advice

  • Threats and intimidation
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Defamation
  • Rejection and exclusion
  • Identify theft, hacking into social media accounts and impersonation
  • Publically posting or sending on personal information about another person
  • Manipulation

10 things you need to know about cyberbullying


Reported cyberbullying statistics vary considerably.

A study by the Department for Education in 2015 found that 11% of 15-16 year old had experienced cyberbullying (15% amongst girls and 7% amongst boys)
A global YouGov study in the same year found that one in five 13-18 year-olds had experienced it and believed it was worse than face to face bullying
Our own research shows that 62% of parents are concerned about cyberbullying and one in 10 are aware that their child has been involved in a cyberbullying incident

The fact is the more time children spend online the more chance they have of having a negative experience at some point. About half of all cyberbullying comes from someone known to the victim.

One of the biggest differences between cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying is that it can be hard to get away from. Young people could be bullied anywhere, anytime – even when they’re at home.

  • It can reach a vast audience in a matter of seconds
  • It has the potential to draw in large numbers of people
  • It takes ‘repetition’ to a different level, with hurtful comments and images being shared multiple times
  • It has the potential to impact at any time of day or night
  • It can offer a degree of anonymity to the perpetrator
  • There are very few children that have not been impacted in some way, either as the perpetrator or the victim
  • It’s difficult to police and to punish
  • There is often some form of evidence (e.g. screen shot, text message).

Lauren Seager-Smith from the Anti-bullying Alliance talks about the rise of cyberbullying and how the ABA can help parents

You’ll hear various different words used in the context of cyberbullying, so it helps to know what each of these mean. Click on the words below to learn the definition.

stealing someone’s profile or setting up fake profiles to lure people into starting online relationships

sending repeated and frequent messages that include real threats of physical harm

sending or posting information that’s intended to damage someone’s reputation

deliberately excluding someone from online conversations, games and activities

sending angry, abusive online messages to intentionally provoke someone into starting an argument

logging into someone else’s account, impersonating them or posting inappropriate content in their name

abusing and angering people through online gaming

targeting an individual or group with persistent and offensive messages which could develop into cyberstalking

creating a fake identity or impersonating someone else online to harass an individual anonymously

publicly sharing personal, private or embarrassing information, photos or videos about someone online

ganging up on an individual online and sending offensive abuse until the victim is seen to ‘crack’

deliberately posting provocative and insulting messages about sensitive subjects or inflicting racism or misogyny on an individual

Protect Your Child

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Where to get further help and advice

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More to explore

Here are some other useful introductions to bullying and cyberbullying from organisations that deal with this issue: