- What is Cyberbullying?
- Preventing Cyberbullying
- Responding to Cyberbullying and Key Safety Advice
Today’s children and young people have grown up in a world that is very different from that of most adults. Many people experience the Internet and mobile phones as a positive, productive and creative part of their activities and development of their identities; always on and always there. Above all information communication technologies support social activity that allows young people to feel connected to their peers.
Unfortunately, technologies are also being used negatively. When children are the target of bullying via mobile phones or the Internet, they can feel alone and very misunderstood. They may not be able to identify that what is happening to them is a form of bullying, or be confident that the adults around them will understand it that way either. Previously safe and enjoyable environments and activities can become threatening and a source of anxiety.
As mobile phone and Internet use become increasingly common, so has the misuse of this technology to bully.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT), particularly mobile phones and the Internet, deliberately to upset someone else.
What’s different about Cyberbullying?
Bullying is not new, but some features of cyberbullying are different from other forms of bullying:
- 24/7 and the invasion of home/personal space.
Cyberbullying can take place at any time and can intrude into spaces that have previously been regarded as safe or personal.
- The audience can be very large and reached rapidly.
The difficulty in controlling electronically circulated messages means the scale and scope of cyberbullying can be greater than for other forms of bullying. Electronically forwarded content is hard to control, and the worry of content resurfacing can make it difficult for targets to move on.
- People who cyberbully may attempt to remain anonymous.
This can be extremely distressing for those being bullied. The person cyberbullying may never be in the same physical space as their target.
- The profile of the bully and target.
Cyberbullying can take place both between peers and across generations; teachers have also been targets. Age or size is not important. Bystanders can also become accessories to the
bullying; for example, by passing on a humiliating image.
- Some instances of cyberbullying are known to be unintentional.
It can be the result of not thinking (something sent as a joke may be deeply upsetting or offensive to the recipient) or a lack of awareness of the consequences – for example saying something negative online about another pupil, or friend that they don’t expect to be forwarded or viewed outside their immediate group.