Cyber Bullying

Forms of Cyber bullying and Terms Defined

Cyber stalking:

A form of harassment. Normally messages are sent through personal communications, such as email or text messages. Victims start to believe that the cyber stalking may escalate into real stalking.


An elaborate form of cyber bullying where the bully pretends to be someone who they aren’t. They might create fake email addresses or instant messaging names or they might use someone else’s email or mobile phone to bully you. This would make it appear as if the threats have been sent by someone else, again keeping the bully’s identity hidden. Some people will tell you that you would give them your password if you were a ‘real’ friend. Do not give out your password to anyone.


An intense argument that normally takes place in chat rooms, over instant messages or email. These bullies use capital letters, images and symbols to add emotion to their argument.


When someone makes threatening comments to you, but is able to hide who they are. This means that it can be hard for you to figure out who sent you a threatening message or email. Anonymity can include the use of aliases or pseudonyms. Have a look at the book on pseudonyms on the bookcase. Anonymity is a big issue in terms of cyber bullying.

A Pseudonym or alias:

A nickname. Bullies may call themselves a different name when they are online, to when they are offline. They do this to keep their real identity a secret from you. When you use instant messaging services like MSN Messenger or Yahoo Messenger, you are known to others online by a nickname that you have chosen. This is an example of a pseudonym. Bullies can use this same feature to change their name to something that you wouldn’t expect. Similarly, bullies may change their name to something offensive.


The public display or forwarding of personal communications such as text messages, emails or instant messaging. Many bullies print out instant messaging conversations, often containing personal or sexual information, and show them around to other people. Even reading out the saved messages on a person’s mobile phone is a form of outing. It can cause real psychological damage to the people involved, if the message is private information.


Bullies sending offensive messages targeted at an individual or group. Bullies often send repeated messages, or at odd times of the day and night. Some bullies even post their messages to a public forum to a chat room or forum.

The Laws that Crossover Cyber Bullying


The following are the laws that crossover cyber-Bullying because cyber-bulling itself isn’t illegal. The laws are in chronological order.

Telecommunications Act 1984/Malicious Communications Act 1998:

It is an offence to send an offensive or threatening letters, electronic communication or other articles to another person.  Under section 43 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 it is a similar offence to send a telephone message which is offensive or threatening.

Both these offences are punishable with up to six months imprisonment or a fine.

Both of these acts cover a larger range and the police are likely to use these in order to bring a charge.

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994:

This defines a criminal offence of intentional harassment which covers all forms, For example: sexual harassment.  A person is guilty of this offence if, He/she has intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, This covers

The use threatening, abusive or insulting words or phrases.

The display of any writing or pictures which are threatening abusive or insulting, causing that or another person’s harassment, alarm or distress.

Protection from Harassment Act 1997:

This was passed following concerns that stalking was not dealt with effectively under the existing legislation.  The Act does not refer solely to stalking but also covers harassment in a wider sense.  The Act states that it is unlawful to cause harassment, alarm or distress by a course of conduct and states that ‘A person must not pursue a course of conduct, which:

He/she amounts to harassment of another

He/she knows, or ought to know, the amount of harassment to the other.’

There is some evidence that the police are more comfortable in bringing forward this law when dealing with issues of cyber bullying. The police have successfully used the Protection from Harassment Act to prosecute the sending of offensive e-mails through the internet.  Messages like this will also constitute an offence under the Malicious Communications Act.

The Communications Act 2003:

This states that a person is guilty of an offence if he/she:

Causes annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another person by means of texts and emails.

Causes such a message to be sent;

Or persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.

The Breach of Peace

At present this might be described as harassment or stalking is usually prosecuted as a breach of the peace. This law covers all behaviour (including single incidents) which cause: Fear, alarm, upset or annoyance. When one or more persons conduct themselves in a riotous, or disorderly manner, anywhere, which alarms, annoys or disturbs other people. The offence can take place anywhere (a house, an office, a school or a public street). The element of disturbance would be the most relevant to Cyber bullying as the behaviour does not have to be noisy but still of a nature that would cause concern to other people – harassment or stalking and bullying

The Courts recognise that breach of the peace can be serious and a life sentence is theoretically possible.  A sentence of eight years was recently imposed for the crime of Breach of the Peace.

It proves difficult to source evidence of charges being successfully brought against people who use new technology to bully.

It is worth noting that the age of criminal responsibility in the UK is twelve.  All organisations, including schools are covered by the laws stated above.  If an offence takes place in school it is still an offence.

Vessels used for Cyber Bullying

View the Vessels
Gaming Sites, Consoles and Virtual Worlds

Gaming sites have been known to help develop many positive skills. Also this helps
with leadership, decision making, puzzle solving and teamwork. Also virtual
worlds can be used to explore lots of different subjects and topics.

Quite a lot of games nowadays have been designed for adults and they are not suitable
for children and young people. As with other games and programmes you are able
to communicate and people have been known to call others names and pick on
weaker players.

Video Hosting Sites

On video sites there are a lot of good content to view on these sites like music
videos, funny clips and lots of other entertainment. There are also a lot of
educational sources on video hosting sites. Also internet safety and
anti-bullying videos can be found on these sights.

There are two main ways that children can be affected with these sights. One,
children may accidently access inappropriate material such as violent or
pornographic content. Also they may be able to post inappropriate materials
which may be contactable which may lead to the embarrassment of their

Virtual Learning Environments. (VLE’S)

VLE’S are a good thing for teachers as it provides a structured way for staff to set
work and deadlines for students to complete activities, submit work and to
communicate to others in the school community. These sites are password
protected to be able to track learner’s progress in tasks. They can enable
students to access resources from home.

If the site is accessible from any internet location, schools will want to ensure
that a specific ‘acceptable use policy’ is in place. Also students need to be
aware of appropriate and acceptable behaviour.

Social Networking Sites

Young people use online space in much of the same way they use offline space – they
socialise with friends and other people online, express themselves, and meet up
in much the same way as they might do at youth clubs or shopping centres. These
sites provide them with public and private pace, and lets them express
themselves creatively by selecting and creating content. Young people can
usually set permissions, giving them control over who can access their profiles
and pages.

Many young people view the social network site they use as the hub of their online
activity and will spend a lot of time on the look and content of their pages.
Profiles and blogs may contain a lot of detailed and personal information-
about themselves and their friends. This can be misused by bullies and sexual
predators to gain information about an individual, their interests and tastes
as well as their location or contact details. Children and young people often
mistakenly view publicly available sites as private and personal places, and
may post photographs for their Immediate friends which may be inappropriate or
embarrassing in other contexts.


As well as the obvious communication benefits, web-based email addresses do not
require external verification and such ‘disposable’ accounts can be extremely
useful for entering competitions and other activities that generate unwanted or
spam email.

Email can be used to send inappropriate images and to forward private information.
Computer viruses and spam are common email hazards. Web-based email can also be
used by people wanting to remain anonymous in order to send malicious or nasty


Webcams let you see , in real time (i.e. live), people you are chatting to, place or
events. They can have educational value – they can bring far-off places to
life; be used to view experiments; be used for video-conferencing; and be used
to facilitate collaboration between schools in different parts of the country
or the world. They can also help families to keep in touch with friends and

Children have been persuaded to take or send inappropriate photographs of themselves,
either by their friend or by people they have only had contact with online.
Webcam use can be difficult to supervise if the computer is in a child’s
bedroom or private space. Although fairly rare, there have been cases of people
using virus programmes that can ‘hijack’ the output of a remote webcam and send
the images to their own computers.

How to Reduce Cyber Bullying in Schools or out of School
  • One way of reducing cyber bullying is contacting the police. They could talk to the person/people who are bulling you and they can either give them a warning or block them from a social network for a certain amount of time.
  • Parents can encourage their children to ‘not respond’ to comments being made even if they are upset and wanting to argue. Parents could talk to the cyber bullying child’s parents so they could stop the bullying. Children-         Resist the temptation to respond. If someone is cyber bullying you for the fun of it, any response you give will keep the game going. You may be concerned that others will believe lies a cyber-bully spreads about you on social networking sites, but defending yourself against the lies won’t make them seem less believable and will only encourage the bully to continue with lies and bullying.
  •  Discuss the cyber bully’s behaviour with trusted friends and adults. If the cyber bully is spreading lies that you are afraid will have a negative effect on your relationships with other people, communicate with those people in person, on the phone or through private email.
  •  Report the cyber bully to a teacher or other adult authority figure if the harassment is obscene. Even if you’re not sure who the cyber bully is, your school may investigate and stop the behaviour if the person is using the school’s Internet provider to send the offensive messages.
  •  Some cyber bullies impersonate your friends or family. If you think they are, then ask them some questions that you know the answers to like: whens your birthday? What’s your favourite type of ice-cream? Stuff like that, it helps. Once you find out whom they are report to a parent, teacher or the police they can do something about it.
  •  Mobile cyber bullying – you can also be bullied over text messages. People can say they hate you or if you tell them a secret or some personal information then they get spread it. Also if you are texting your friend it might not be them. Someone could of stolen their phone and text you and pretend to be your friend. They would get personal info and use it against you.

So just be careful when texting or on the internet on social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Parents I advise you to keep checking your child’s social networks and messages. Also talk to your child/children about this situation because it can cause a lot of damage.

Kids of the world, watch out for cyber bullies. They are everywhere and you never know when they could strike. If you are on a social network then don’t talk about anything personal like your phone number, home address or secrets as you could be stalked or had information used against you.

Advice for Cyber Bullying

Don’t respond, if someone bullies you, remember that your reaction is usually what the bully wants. Don’t retaliate, getting back at the bully turns you into one and strengthens the bully’s behaviour. Save the evidence, the only good news about digital bullying is that the harassing messages can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. You need to do this even if it’s minor stuff, in case things escalate. If you’re really nervous about saying something, see if there’s a way to report the incident anonymously at school. Block the bully, if the harassment’s coming in the form of instant messages, texts, or profile comments, use preferences or privacy tools to block the person. If it’s in chat, leave the “room.” Be civil, even if you don’t like someone, it’s a good idea to be decent and not sink to the other person’s level. Also research shows that gossiping about and trash talking others increases your risk of being bullied. Treat people the way you want to be treated. You know the old saying about walking in someone else’s shoes, even a few seconds of thinking about how another person might feel can put a big effect on aggression. That’s needed in this world. Be a friend and not a bystander (A bystander is a person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part), watching or forwarding mean messages empowers bullies and hurts victims even more. If you can, tell bullies to stop or let them know harassment makes people look stupid and mean. If you can’t stop the bully, at least try to help the victim and report the behaviour.

For Parents

Be aware, your child may as likely cyberbully as be a target of cyberbullying. Be alert to your child seeming upset after using the internet or mobile phone.

Get involved. Talk to your children and understand the ways they are using the internet and mobile phone. Make sure they know the tips for children.

Learn how to use the safety tools on the service. Most services have block and ignore buttons, privacy settings and some allow the recording of online messaging.

Remind your child not to reply to bullying messages, at least not in anger.

Low self-esteem: Both teachers and parents should be able to notice if a student or a child is exhibiting symptoms of low self-esteem. It could be something as simple as your daughter making a comment about being too fat even though she is a perfectly healthy size. Children, not too different from adults, can be very passive-aggressive in the way they ask for help.

Lower grades: when kids are cyber bullied many tend to lose focus on homework and extra-curricular activities. If you’re a-student is getting C’s D’s on regular basis it might be time to speak with them about any problems they might be having.


Cyber bullying Advice Websites

Below are a list of sites:


Childline is a website which covers all aspects of hard life for children but has a cyber-bullying page as well.

Get Connected

Get connected is a phone and messaging service which not only provide advice but you can talk to an advisor aswell.


Kidscape are  the Uk’s first charity in preventing cyber bullying. They not only provide advice for children but they provide advice for adults aswell.


Netsafe provide advice for everyone who is affected by cyber bullying.

Bullying Help Advice is a site which provides advice for children affected by cyber bullying. The advice is given by children, parents and teachers.

BBC – Advice – Bullying

This service is a trusted advice source which contains advice for everybody affected by cyber bullying.

Cyber Bullying Statistics

Approximately 56% of children witnessed cyber bullying at some time during their time at school.

About 15% of children don’t attend school because of cyber bullying.

About 71% of children say that cyber bullying is an on-going problem.

Year 9 is the most common year for bulling, over 90% of children in this year have been cyber bullied.

34% of children have been victims of cyber bullying.

31,599 children called Child Line in 2011/12 about bullying.

Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.

More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online.

Over 25 per cent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.

Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

Around half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying

Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber-bully victim

Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement

1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras

About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others

Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to be involved in cyber bullying

Over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying

About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly

Mean, hurtful comments and spreading rumors are the most common type of cyber bullying

Girls are at least as likely as boys to be cyber bullies or their victims

Boys are more likely to be threatened by cyber bullies than girls

Cyber bullying affects all races

Cyber bullying victims are more likely to have low self-esteem and to consider suicide

Overweight and Obese Kids Are 63% More Likely to Be Bullied

39% of Social Network Users Experience Cyber Bullying

56% Report That Cyber Bullying Has Real-World Consequences

Bullying Victims are 2 to 9 Times More Likely to Commit Suicide