Bullying that occurs on social media, online gaming or via mobile phones is called cyberbullying. It can include spreading rumours about someone, or posting nasty or embarrassing messages, images or videos.
A child may know the person who’s bullying them online – and they might be experiencing bullying in the real world as well. They may also be targeted by someone using a fake or anonymous account. It’s easy to be anonymous online and this can increase the likelihood of engaging in bullying behaviour.
Cyberbullying can happen at any time or anywhere and a child might feel like there’s no escape from the bullies. It is sometimes difficult to trace the bully online.
Cyberbullying can include:
- sending threatening or abusive text messages
- creating and sharing embarrassing images or videos
- ‘trolling’ – sending menacing or upsetting messages online
- excluding children from online games, activities or friendship groups
- setting up hate sites or groups about a particular child
- encouraging self-harm
- voting for or against someone in an abusive poll
- creating fake accounts, hijacking or stealing online identities to embarrass a young person or cause trouble using their name
- sending explicit messages, also known as sexting (find out more about sexting)
- pressuring children into sending sexual images or engaging in sexual conversations.