What is cyberbullying? Blog by V

Cyberbullying is bullying which takes place through the internet or mobile phones.

Cyberbullying is different from other forms of bullying because it is really hard to get away from it.  If you are being bullied in the playground it is possible to walk away or get help from friends or a teacher.  If someone is bullying you by sending abusive text messages or posting horrible things about you on Facebook this is much more difficult to get away from. It can feel like nowhere is safe anymore.

Young people I have spoken to have said that adults do not understand cyberbullying as social networking and text messages are quite a new phenomena.  They say when they have told someone about being cyberbullied they have been told to just shut down their social networking sites. The adults did not understand how important sites like Facebook can be to young people.  It is how they were communicating with friends and sharing photos.  To shut down their profile would mean they wouldn’t be in touch with what was happening at school and with their friends, it would leave them feeling more left out and lonely.  It would make the situation worse because it makes them different from everyone else at school who is using Facebook or Twitter.  It is this element of cyberbullying being so difficult to get away from that can be the most challenging for young people to deal with and this is what they need support with.

Effects of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying  is very serious and can make you feel scared, upset, lonely and embarrassed.  In some cases cyberbullying has led to young people taking their own lives and self harming as they feel there is no escape from it.  It is really important to know that cyberbullying takes many different forms and effects people in very different ways.  The first thing you need to do is to share with someone that this is happening and how it is effecting you.  It is never ok for someone to make someone else feel scared or upset.

How can I make it stop?

Firstly you must tell someone that this is happening to you, you need support from others.  A lot of young people who are being bullied try to deal with the problem themselves but there are people who can help.

Although it is hard you should keep evidence of the abusive texts or posts.  You do not need to reply to these messages, just keep them so you can show someone you trust what is happening and tell them how it makes you feel.  If you are being bullied on a social networking site like Facebook you should think about suspending your account.  You don’t need to close the account but taking a break just for a little while could be good.  It is also possible to block people who are bullying you and you can report any abuse to the website or to CEOP.

Below is a list of websites which provide help and support:
This website has clear explanations of what cyberbullying is and how you can get help.
This website has young people who act as mentors for other young people who are being cyberbullied.  There is a chat room and you can also contact counsellors to discuss issues around being bullied.
This website has contact details for mobile phone providers to help prevent cyberbullying.  There is also lots of useful information about social networking and how to stay safe on the internet.
This website had advice for parents and carers and some videos about cyberbullying.