What is Cyberbullying?

Bullying in the playground is where a person or group of people are repeatedly threatened or intimidated by another person or group. It's the same with cyberbullying, except that it can take place using email, a blog, text messaging or any other method of electronic communication.

In some ways bullying by electronic communications can be easier for the bully - there can be a degree of anonymity about the process, but also because it is action at a distance, ie the bully is not face to face with the bullied person, there can be a tendency for it to be easier for one person to bully another because it takes less energy and courage to express hurtful comments using a keypad. It's worth noting that the bully doesn't necessarily have to be larger than the bullied, which is the traditional set up for physical playground bullying.

How should people respond to cyberbullying?

Here is the view from the direct gov website

You're not alone

"Rather than not be a mate to a bully I would say ‘stop doing it’".

If you are having problems with mobile or online bullying, here’s a few ideas about what you can do to help you deal with it and stop it happening completely:

  • talk to someone you trust about it, like a friend, a teacher or an older relative
  • keep and save any bullying emails, text messages or images you receive
  • make a note of the time and date that messages or images were sent, along with any details you have about the sender
  • try changing your online user ID or nickname
  • change your mobile phone number and only give it out to close friends
  • mobile phone companies and internet service providers can trace bullies, so don’t be afraid of reporting it to them
  • block instant messages from certain people or use mail filters to block emails from specific email addresses
  • don't reply to bullying or threatening text messages or emails – this could make matters worse and lets those carrying out the bullying know that they've found a 'live' phone number or email address
  • report serious bullying, like threats of a physical or sexual nature, to the police
Last modified: Thursday, 15 January 2009, 2:04 PM