Cyberbullying: What is it and how to prevent it?

Let’s First Discuss What Cyberbullying Is.

Cyberbullying is the same as real bullying that a person (usually a child) experiences at school. The difference is that this type of bullying takes place online. Television movies have been made about cyberbullying. Newspaper reports have also been written about extreme cases where a teenager was killed by cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is more harmful than actual bullying. Unlike real-world non-virtual bullying, where a bully has to show their face, a cyber bully can hide behind computer screens to avoid revealing their identity.

What Defines Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying can be defined as any bullying that occurs over a digital device. This includes text messages, apps, and social media sharing or posting harmful, false, or demeaning content. It is most prevalent on devices and forums where your children spend a lot of their time. As per The Wall Street Journal, there has been a significant rise in the use of toxic words and phrases in Discord chats, which is a trendy application among kids.

According to a CDC report published in 2019, 33% of high school students and 33% of middle school students have experienced cyberbullying. Nearly 14% of public schools also reported that bullying occurred at least once per week.

Below are the ten most common methods that can be classified as cyberbullying.

1) Video Shaming.

examples of this include initiating an incident that causes another person to get upset or react emotionally, recording their reaction and uploading it to YouTube, or sending the recorded video via a mass email or text message to make the incident more accessible to a wider audience.

2) Denigration.

This involves online harassment of another person. To damage a person’s reputation or to cause harm to their relationship by sending or posting cruel gossip or rumors.

3) Exclusion.

Exclusion refers to the act of intentionally leaving someone out. Your child may be excluded from parties or groups but see their friends being included. Or they might be excluded from messages or conversations that are related to mutual friends.

4) Trolling.

Trolling refers to bullying that seeks to inflict pain on others through posting inflammatory comments online. Trolling may not always equate to cyberbullying, but if done with malicious and harmful intent, it can be used as a tool to cyberbully. These bullies, also known as internet trolls, are usually more distant from their victims and don’t necessarily have a personal relationship with them.

5) Masquerading.

Masquerading refers to the act of creating a false identity to harass an individual anonymously. The bully may also create a fake identity to scam someone anonymously. This is also known as catfishing, where people create fake profiles to attract people to their online relationships. It is usually done for amusement, money, or humiliation.

6) Cyberstalking.

Cyberstalking refers to stalking someone online. They follow you online and may end up following you in the real world. They will follow your Twitter, Facebook, and blog posts and consider casual contact to be something more serious than what you actually mean. In some cases, this can escalate to very dangerous levels.

7) Cyberthreats.

This involves bullies making threats on the internet and may even resort to violence. The threats also include threats to commit suicide. 

8) Fraping.

This involves a child logging into another student’s social networking account. The Bully pretends to be the victim and engages in inappropriate behavior to make the victim look bad. This can damage someone’s reputation, particularly when it is difficult to deny. Children need to be able to identify where they log in to their social media accounts and protect their passwords. After each session, children must log out of any computer they use to log in to school or friend’s social media accounts. It’s easy for someone else to pretend to be your child.

9) Outing.

This involves the bully posting sensitive and private information about the victim on public forums. I many cases, this is often associated with outing the victim’s sexual orientation before they are comfortable with sharing that information. Outing can include any information that fuels bullying. One student might post the family of another student using food stamps to shame them.

10) Trickery.

Trickery is similar in nature to outing but with an additional element of deception. Bullies will often make friends with their target to give them a false sense of security. Once they have gained the trust of their target, the bully will abuse that trust by sharing the victim’s private information publicly.

Cyberbullying Stats.

1) According to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) report, an August survey of over 6,000 10- to 18-year-olds revealed that approximately half of them had been victims of cyberbullying at some point in their lives.

The report included 11 European countries. 44% of those who were cyberbullied before lockdown stated that it occurred more often during the lockdown. 

2) Since the Covid lockdown, there has been an increase of 70% in bullying and hate speech among children and teens.

3) According to a January 2019 Google survey cyberbullying is the #1 safety concern for teachers in their classrooms.

4) According to a 2019 poll released by UNICEF, one third of young people across 30 countries reported being victims of online bullying. One-fifth reported that they had skipped school because of cyberbullying.

5) As per Pew Research Center, the majority of teens have experienced some form of cyberbullying. 59% of U.S. teenagers have experienced cyberbullying. A similar percentage says that it’s a serious problem for their age group.

6) According to, Instagram has the highest reported cases of cyberbullying at 42%, followed closely by Facebook at 37% and Snapchat at 31%, whereas youtube was only responsible for about 10% of reported cyberbullying cases.

7) As per the 2017 Annual Bullying survey  Seventy-one percent of survey participants stated that social media platforms don’t do enough to stop cyberbullying.

8) As per a 2016 report from the Cyberbullying Research Center, 33.8% of students aged 12-17 reported being victims of cyberbullying, whereas 11.5% of students aged 12-17 reported that they had engaged in cyberbullying during their lifetime.

9) As per a 2015 report from the Cyberbullying Research Center, the likelihood of girls being a victim of cyberbullying (40.6%) is much higher than boys (28.8%).

10) As per a 2015 sample study by the Cyberbullying Research Center, 14% admitted to cyberbullying others by spreading rumors online, via text, or email. Email was reported to be the most common form of bullying.

What To Do About Cyberbullying and How to Stop a Cyberbully?

The way to avoid bullying online is to keep your online contacts to your friends. Sites that lure young people, like Facebook, are offering extra internet security because they limit access to a person’s page to only their friends. However, your teens should know that friends can quickly become enemies.

Unlike bullying in school, there is little to be done about cyberbullying unless it is an extreme case. As these events occur outside of school, the school has very little authority over what goes on when students are not under their control. Because of freedom of speech, the police also have little control unless actual threats are made.

To avoid problems with cyberstalkers and cyberbullies online, you need to do the following:

  • Limit the amount of information that you put about yourself online.
  • Limit your contacts to those people who you know.
  • Do not put down the name of your town where you live.
  • Never use your real name online.
  • Learn to use block systems to keep those who may be stalking or bullying you away from you.
  • Report any threat to you or your family to the police.

Putting too much information out there for the world to see is always a bad idea and should never be done.

Talk to older kids about cyberstalking and cyberbullying. They should know what a healthy form of communication is and what is not. Tell them these stories and teach them to report anything that makes them feel threatened or uncomfortable online to you. Trust your instincts and, if you happen to meet someone online who you would like to talk to you by phone, use a cell phone number that cannot be traced to your home.


Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that involves using social media, smartphones, and text messages as weapons and tools. However, these tools are not the problem. The choices made by children cause cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can’t be stopped by limiting your child’s internet access.

Instead of limiting your child’s internet access, educate them about cyberbullying. Talk with your child about making smart online choices and reporting cyberbullying if it happens. The best way to address the problem is to have an open conversation with your children about cyberbullying.

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