Cyberbullying, or online bullying, can be defined as using the internet or technologies to deliberately and repeatedly upset someone else; it is often an extension of face-to-face bullying, where the internet provides an additional route to communicate and harass.
Cyberbullying, like other forms of bullying, affects self-esteem and self-confidence and can affect mental health and wellbeing. Addressing all forms of bullying and discrimination is vital to support the health and wellbeing of all members of education settings communities.
Cyberbullying can/may involve:
- Defamation, taunting and humiliation
- Exclusion or peer-rejection
- Harassment and cyberstalking
- Impersonation, identity theft or hacking
- Intimidation or threats of violence
- Manipulation and exploitation
- Publication of private or personal information and images.
Cyberbullying can be characterised in several specific ways that differ from face-to-face bullying. These include the profile of the person carrying out the bullying, the location of online bullying, the potential audience, the perceived anonymity of the person cyberbullying, motivation of the person cyberbullying and the digital evidence of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying involving children is considered to be a type of child-on-child abuse and as such educational settings should ensure that clear policies and procedures are in place so concerns are recognised and responded to appropriately.