Cyberbullying (noun): The use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature: children may be reluctant to admit to being the victims of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like mobile phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. A common operational definition of cyberbullying in sociology and criminology is based on the idea that cyberbullying is an electronic form of face-to-face bullying.

What is different about cyberbullying?

  • Bullying can happen 24/7 making it difficult to escape.
  • The audience for bullying is potentially much larger, increasing the impact.
  • Anonymity and being one step removed makes it easier for bystanders to join in.
  • Anonymity increases the impact on those being bullied, as they cannot be sure who is responsible.
  • There is a general lack of awareness that behaviour is cyberbullying and young people tend to underestimate the impact of their behaviour.
  • Unlike traditional forms of bullying, evidence is readily available and should be preserved.

Types of cyberbullying

There are many ways of bullying someone online and for some it can take shape in more than one way. Some of the types of bullying are:


This is the act of sending offensive, rude and insulting messages and being abusive. Nasty or humiliating comments on posts, photos and videos on social media sites, chat rooms and gaming sites.


This is when someone may send information about another person that is fake, damaging and untrue. Sharing photos of someone for the purpose to ridicule, spreading fake rumours and gossip. Photos can also be altered for the purposes of bullying.


This is when someone is purposely using extreme and offensive language and getting into online arguments and fights. They do this to cause reactions and enjoy the fact it causes someone else to get distressed.


This is when someone hacks into someone else's email or social networking account and uses their online identity to send of post vicious or embarrassing material to or about others. They may also create fake accounts to cause hurt and humiliation.

Outing and Trickery

This is when someone may share personal information about another or trick someone into revealing secrets and then forwarding that information to others. They may also do this with private images and videos.


This is the act of repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm, harassment, intimidating messages, or engaging in other online activities that make a person afraid for his or her own safety. The actions may be illegal too, depending on what they are doing.


This is when others intentionally leave someone out of a group such as group messages, online apps, gaming sites and other online engagement.

The parents' guide to teaching your teen online safety 

This comprehensive guide delves into: 

  • Identifying the most popular social media platforms among teens  
  • Strategies for ensuring online safety during social interactions 
  • The intricate relationship; between influencers, body image, and mental well-being 

You can access the full guide on My Tutor (external link)