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What is cyberbullying?

  • Cyberbullying it is an intentional and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices (https://cyberbullying.org/what-is-cyberbullying). Cyberbullying describes bullying using mobile phones and the internet (Smith, și alții, 2008).
  • Cyberbullying is defined as ”being hostile towards others and causing intentional harm. It is also a form of persuasion where people can persuade the victim thatthey are bad and undesirable people and also persuading others to think negatively andhatefully towards the victim” (Nycyk, 2015).
  • Cyberbullying is bullying behaviour, using digital technology, including the internet, email or mobile phones. Like any bullying, cyberbullying often occurs between people that know each other (colleagues, club members, people from the same social circle, friends). Cyberbullying is pervasive and incessant. It differs from face-to-face bullying in that the bully can ‘follow’ their victim 24/7. Cyberbullies may take advantage of the perception of anonymity (e.g. using an account in a fake name, or a blocked number). Cyberbullying can be particularly harmful as it is often a public form of humiliation and many others are able to see what is written or posted. Once something is published online, it is difficult if not impossible to remove all traces of it. (https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/programs/bullystoppers/smcyberbullying.pdf).

Cyberbullying statistics

Did you know?

  • Searches for “cyberbullying” have tripled in the last decade? (Petrov, 2019).
  • Victim stats suggest women are most vulnerable on Facebook (57%). Other high-risk social platforms are Facebook Messenger (23%) and Instagram (10%) (Petrov, 2019).
  • Over 80% of children own a mobile phone and have multiple social network accounts. 57% of them admit they have seen or experienced online harassment (Petrov, 2019).
  • 25.38% of gamers have had an online account hacked at least once (Petrov, 2019).
  • Parental awareness and subsequent actions vary considerably around the world. Over 37% of parents in India have reported their child suffering from online bullying. In Japan and Russia, that number is less than 4%(Petrov, 2019).
  • From those bullied in the last year, 37% developed social anxiety while 36% fell into depression (Petrov, 2019).
  • Online abuse and suicidal thoughts are directly interconnected. 24% have contemplated suicide after continuous cyberbullying (Petrov, 2019).
  • Most significant psychological impacts for female victims of cyberbullying include feelings of powerlessness (66%), loss of sleep (63%), and lower self-esteem (61%) (Petrov, 2019).
  • How do female victims react to cyberbullying? Over half of them admit they just block the account in question (57%), but many look to further pursue the perpetrator with the help of the platform owner or administrator (22%) (Petrov, 2019).
  • Data from numerous studies also indicate that social media is now the favored medium for cyberbullies (Cook, 2019)
  • 40% of adults have experienced cyberbullying. A survey of 3,217 respondents in the American Trends Panel developed by Pew Research concluded that nearly half of American adults have experienced cyberbullying. Adult cyberbullying is clearly also prevalent, even though not many people associate the phenomenon with young people and teenagers. Respondents claim that 27% were called offensive names, including slurs, and in 22% of the cases, the cyberbully chose to embarrass them intentionally. Finally, 6% of said respondents had experienced sexual harassment online (Bera, 2019).
  • In 2018, US cyberbullying victims were predominantly on the following platforms: Facebook (56%), Twitter (19%), Youtube (17%), Instagram (16%), online gaming (14%), and WhatsApp (13%). (Bera, 2019) (Bera, 2019).
  • 29% of the 1,000 women who took part in a recent 2019 survey had been harassed on Facebook. (Bera, 2019).

Read more and reflect!





Types of cyberbullying

Bera (2019) identifies 5 types of bullying on the web:

  1. Harassment: Threatening or abusive messages are sent in a sustained, repeated, and intentional way.
  2. Outing: This is a deliberate act meant to publicly humiliate a person by posting embarrassing, sensitive, or private photos.
  3. Fraping: This occurs when a cyberbully logs into a person’s account and impersonates them, posting comments, photos, and/or videos to cause emotional harm.
  4. Cyberstalking: The official cyberstalking definition varies from state to state. Often a criminal offense, this behavior involves stalking a victim via online platforms and using the collected information to bother them and cause harm. It’s often accompanied by offline stalking.
  5. Catfishing: This is when a person creates a fake social media presence or a fake identity intended to deceive, manipulate, and harm a specific person (Bera, 2019).


Nycyk (2015) identifies 9 types of cyberbullying:

  1. Abuse, Threats and Name Calling. This is one of the most common form of cyberbullying based on someone’s physical appearance and weight, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, culture orbeliefs. Celebrities and high-profile people, such as politicians, are particularly bullie.
  2. Altering Photos. Using Photoshop for Altering someone’s photo and posting them online is a form of cyberbullying.
  3. Creating Fake, Unauthorised or Hurtful Profiles. Creating fake, unauthorised and hurtful profiles that misrepresent a person’s moral character is a form of cyberbullying.
  4. Disclosure of Personal Information. Making public someone's private home address, work address, phone numbers, email and real names is a form of cyberbullying.
  5. Flaming. Having arguments on social media is a form of Cyberbullying.
  6. Hacking and Desecrating of Memorial Websites. A computer hackers access websites and socialmedia memorial sites of those who have passed away.
  7. Impersonating Someone. On datingsites and in chat rooms where people can be emotionally vulnerable, Cyberbullies can also pretend to be the victim and post messages and emails to others to undermine the victim’s relationships they have with other people.
  8. Posting Gossip and Rumours. This strategies are used to persuade others about someone’s character that is often without fact or truth.
  9. Sexting. Sexting is where messages and photos are of a sexual nature that is unauthorised and unwanted. They are primarily sent by mobile phones. This is cyberbullying when the sendingof them to others is not consensual. If people send nude photos and explicit texts to eachother and they consent to do so, that is not bullying. It is not just taking photos of someone that can result in experiencing bullying. It is also if someone takes a ‘selfie’ or photo of one’s self and it is obtained by a bully. Additionally, if someone sends you unwanted photos of naked people or people engaged in sexual acts it is a form of cyberbullying if you did notwant to see them.


Blain (2017) identifies 9 Common Types of Cyberbullying:

  1. flaming (when a person sends electronic messages with angry and vulgar language)
  2. happy-slapping (posting or publishing embarrassing or damaging photos or videos)
  3. denigration (gossiping or spreading rumors about a person), impersonation (pretending to be someone else)
  4. outing (revealing private or embarrassing information about a person)
  5. trickery (persuading a person to reveal secret information they would not otherwise reveal)
  6. exclusion (engaging in activities intentionally to exclude someone from a formal or informal group)
  7. cyberstalking (monitoring a person's activities or placing a person under surveillance to instill fear)
  8. doxing or doxxing (publishing or making available personally-identifying information about another)
  9. self-harming (when a person anonymously sends himself/herself instructions to self-harm or self-injure)
  10. cyber harassment (repeatedly sending offensive messages to cause a person to fear for their safety)


How to stop adult cyberbullying

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, forty percent of adult Internet users say they’ve been harassed online, and almost three quarters say they’ve seen someone else being harassed.

We can stop cyberbullying by:

A. Silence

Most of the experts agree that we should respond with complete silence to a cyberbully. “Unfriend, unfollow, unlink, says Patricia Wallace, adjunct professor at the University of Maryland University College Graduate School and author of “Psychology of the Internet.” Block the bully from your phone and your social media accounts. Don't respond. It makes you seem vulnerable and a more interesting target” (Bernstein, 2016).

B. Writing

The next recommendation is to write everything you want to say down in a notebook or a Word document, then to file it away. “The writing will dissipate your anger, says Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, in Newport, Calif. And you can recognize that the bully has a problem and you don’t.” (Bernstein, 2016).

C. New focus

Shifting your focus by writing a friend or loved one a nice note.

D. Save evidence

It is strongly recomended to make an archive of the evidence, ”with dates, times, descriptions and screenshots of messages or emails, says Tyler Cohen Wood, cybersecurity expert for Inspired eLearning, a San Antonio company that provides online digital awareness, compliance and harassment trening” (Bernstein, 2016).

E. Report to the site’s administrators

When cyberbullying happens on social media you should report to site’s administrators. ”You can also reach out to organizations that help people who are being attacked online: Crashoverridenetwork.com, iHollaback.org” (Bernstein, 2016).

F. Report to local law enforcement

If you are threat or if the cyberbullyied became extremely violent in cyber space, go to police and ask for help.

G. React when someonelse is cyberbullyied

”If you see cyberbullying happening to someone else, post something positive to the person being attacked. It is a powerful show of support to the victim and of rebuke to the bully, says Michelle Ferrier, an associate dean for innovation at the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University and founder of TrollBusters, an organization that combats cyberbullying” (Bernstein, 2016).

Watch the next movie about how to beat cyberbullies!


Didactic part

Find here inspirations and instructions for exercises to be applied in adult education. They were tested during common workshops. didactic_inspirations_cyberbullying.pdf

Author: Ciomaga Florentina, CJRAE Vrancea


Gina, 2020/09/01 08:55
Subiect de actualitate, mai ales cand cea mai mare parte a a vietii noastre s-a mutat in mediul online.
Cezarina, 2020/09/02 10:49
Bullying and cyberbullying are increasingly common realities in school that can have devastating effects on students. Therefore, they must be known and stopped from the first manifestations.
cristina serban, 2020/09/03 10:59
Useful and much awaited support for the parent of a pre-teen who already spends much time online and for the highschool teacher who needs, in his/her turn, guidance and reliable academic info in the field to be able to pass on the knowledge and the awareness to students.
Anonymous, 2020/09/03 14:16
Good to have some tips about how to stop cyberbullying.
Anonymous, 2020/09/03 14:17
Cyberbullying can occur anywhere (at home, via smartphones, emails, texts, and social media, 24 hours a day, with potentially hundreds of people involved). It is a reality next to us, a part of our lives. We need to know what is cyberbullying and how we can stop cyberbullying. We need to know for us, adults and we need to know how we can protect our children against cyberbullying.
Anonymous, 2020/09/03 14:17
It is important to know how to deal with a bully/cyberbully.
Anonymous, 2020/09/03 14:55
Tips for dealing with cyberbullying

Dealing with cyberbullying is rarely easy, but there are steps you can take to cope with the problem. To start, it may be a good time to reassess your technology use. Spending less time on social media or checking texts and emails, for example, and more time interacting with real people, can help you distance yourself from online bullies. It can also help to reduce anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness.

As well as seeking support, managing stress, and spending time with people and activities that bring you pleasure, the following tips can help:

Don’t respond to any messages or posts written about you, no matter how hurtful or untrue. Responding will only make the situation worse and provoking a reaction from you is exactly what the cyberbullies want, so don’t give them the satisfaction.

Don’t seek revenge on a cyberbully by becoming a cyberbully yourself. Again, it will only make the problem worse and could result in serious legal consequences for you. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.

Save the evidence of the cyberbullying, keep abusive text messages or a screenshot of a webpage, for example, and then report them to a trusted adult. If you don’t report incidents, the cyberbully will often become more aggressive.

Report threats of harm and inappropriate sexual messages to the police. In many cases, the cyberbully’s actions can be prosecuted by law.

Prevent communication from the cyberbully, by blocking their email address, cell phone number, and deleting them from social media contacts. Report their activities to their Internet service provider (ISP) or to any social media or other websites they use to target you. The cyberbully’s actions may constitute a violation of the website’s terms of service or, depending on the laws in your area, may even warrant criminal charges.
Anonymous, 2020/09/03 15:03
Conform Dicționarului Merriam-Webster, „cyberbullying-ul” a fost folosit pentru prima dată în 1998. Prin cyberbullying se înțelegea „afișarea electronică a mesajelor defaimătoare despre o persoană, adesea făcută anonim”. Dar, pe măsură ce timpul a trecut și Internetul în sine a evoluat, a evoluat și definiția cyberbullying-ului. In aceasta pagina gasim accepțiunile actuale ale cyberbullyingului, pe înțelesul tuturor.
Anonymous, 2020/09/03 15:04
Ce diferențiază cyberbulyingul de bullyingul tradițional?
- Caracterul anonim (victima, de cele mai multe ori, nu știe cine este în spatele cyberbullyingului);
- Caracterul public (bullyingul tradițional situația este între agrespr și agrsat; în cyberbullying multe persoane pot vizualiza ceea ce este postat în mediul virtual);
- Caracter permanent (mediul online permite cyberbullyingul 24 de ore din 24 iar conținutul din mediul virtual rareaori poate fi șters definitiv);
- Greu de identificat (în mediul virtual este mai greu de identificat unde se află mențiuni malițioase la adresa unei persoane; acestea pot fi redistribuite, postate sau copiate în diverse zone iar posibilitatea de urmărire este limitată).
Anonymous, 2020/09/03 15:05
Very important topic. Should be discussed more often. Good input to do so!
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contributions/cyberbullying.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/01 13:01 by Sophia Bickhardt

Redistribution of this work and its contents as OER permitted.
Please cite as follows: "Empowering Digital Literacy" by DIGILIT project team, CC BY-SA 4.0