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What Is Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:

  • Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter
  • SMS (Short Message Service) also known as Text Message sent through devices
  • Instant Message (via devices, email provider services, apps, and social media messaging features)
  • Email

Special Concerns

With the prevalence of social media and digital forums, comments, photos, posts, and content shared by individuals can often be viewed by strangers as well as acquaintances. The content an individual shares online – both their personal content as well as any negative, mean, or hurtful content – creates a kind of permanent public record of their views, activities, and behavior. This public record can be thought of as an online reputation, which may be accessible to schools, employers, colleges, clubs, and others who may be researching an individual now or in the future. Cyberbullying can harm the online reputations of everyone involved – not just the person being bullied, but those doing the bullying or participating in it. Cyberbullying has unique concerns in that it can be:

Persistent – Digital devices offer an ability to immediately and continuously communicate 24 hours a day, so it can be difficult for children experiencing cyberbullying to find relief.

Permanent – Most information communicated electronically is permanent and public, if not reported and removed. A negative online reputation, including for those who bully, can impact college admissions, employment, and other areas of life.

Hard to Notice – Because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying taking place, it is harder to recognize.

Laws and Sanctions

Although all states have laws requiring schools to respond to bullying, many states do not include cyberbullying under these laws or specify the role schools should play in responding to bullying that takes place outside of school. Schools may take action either as required by law, or with local or school policies that allow them to discipline or take other action. Some states also have provisions to address bullying if it affects school performance. You can learn about the laws and policies in each state, including if they cover cyberbullying.

Frequency of Cyberbullying

There are two sources of federally collected data on youth bullying:

  • The 2017 School Crime Supplementexit disclaimer icon (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice) indicates that, among students ages 12-18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, 15% were bullied online or by text.
  • The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Systemexit disclaimer icon (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that an estimated 14.9% of high school students were electronically bullied in the 12 months prior to the survey.

See also "Frequency of Bullying".

Content last reviewed on May 30, 2019


Prevent Cyberbullying

Be Aware of What Your Kids are Doing Online

A child may be involved in cyberbullying in several ways. A child can be bullied, bully others, or witness bullying. Parents, teachers, and other adults may not be aware of all the digital media  and apps that a child is using. The more digital platforms that a child uses, the more opportunities there are for being exposed to potential cyberbullying.

Warning Signs a Child is Being Cyberbullied or is Cyberbullying Others

Many of the warning signs that cyberbullying is occurring happen around a child’s use of their device. Some of the warning signs that a child may be involved in cyberbullying are:

  • Noticeable increases or decreases in device use, including texting.
  • A child exhibits emotional responses (laughter, anger, upset) to what is happening on their device.
  • A child hides their screen or device when others are near, and avoids discussion about what they are doing on their device.
  • Social media accounts are shut down or new ones appear.
  • A child starts to avoid social situations, even those that were enjoyed in the past.
  • A child becomes withdrawn or depressed, or loses interest in people and activities.

What to Do When Cyberbullying Happens

If you notice warning signs that a child may be involved in cyberbullying, take steps to investigate that child’s digital behavior. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying, and adults should take the same approach to address it: support the child being bullied, address the bullying behavior of a participant, and show children that cyberbullying is taken seriously. Because cyberbullying happens online, responding to it requires different approaches. If you think that a child is involved in cyberbullying, there are several things you can do:

  • Notice – Recognize if there has been a change in mood or behavior and explore what the cause might be. Try to determine if these changes happen around a child’s use of their digital devices.
  • Talk – Ask questions to learn what is happening, how it started, and who is involved.
  • Document – Keep a record of what is happening and where. Take screenshots of harmful posts or content if possible. Most laws and policies note that bullying is a repeated behavior, so records help to document it.
  • Report – Most social media platforms and schools have clear policies and reporting processes. If a classmate is cyberbullying, report it the school. You can also contact app or social media platforms to report offensive content and have it removed. If a child has received physical threats, or if a potential crime or illegal behavior is occurring, report it to the police.
  • Support – Peers, mentors, and trusted adults can sometimes intervene publicly to positively influence a situation where negative or hurtful content posts about a child. Public Intervention can include posting positive comments about the person targeted with bullying to try to shift the conversation in a positive direction. It can also help to reach out to the child who is bullying and the target of the bullying to express your concern. If possible, try to determine if more professional support is needed for those involved, such as speaking with a guidance counselor or mental health professional. 

Content last reviewed on September 08, 2017


ሳይበር ትንኮሳ (Cyber Bulling)

የሳይበር ምህዳሩ ይዞልን ከመጣው መልካም  አጋጣሚ  በተጨማሪ  አሉታዊ  ጎኑም ሌላኛው  ገጽታው ነው፡፡                                                     

ልንጠቅሳቸው ከምንችላቸው  አሉታዊ ጉኖች መካካል በተጠቃሚዎች ላይ  የሚደርሱትን  ትንኮሳዎች ማንሳት እንችላለን፡፡

 የሳይበር ትንኮሳ  ማለት ቴክኖሎጂን  በመጠቀም  ሆን ብሎ የሰዎችን  ስሜት የሚረብሽ ወይም  ስነ-ልቦና  የሚጎዱ መልዕክቶችን፤ መረጃዎችን  ወይም ፎቶዎችን   ማስተላለፍ እና  መለጠፍን የሚያጠቃልል ተግባር ነው ፡፡  ይህ ተግባር በብዛት  በስሜትም ሆነ በአስተሳሰብ  ባልበሰሉ ታዳጊዎች  ወጣቶች እንዲሁም አዋቂዎችላይ የሚከሰት ከመሆኑ የተነሳ   የሚያደርሰው   ጉዳት ከፍ ያለ ነው፡፡

ከዚህም በተጨማሪ  የሳይበር  ምህዳሩ ማንነታቸውን አንዲደብቁ ከማስቻሉ  የተነሳ ሰዎች  በቀላሉ  ሌላውን ሰው አንዲተነኩሱ እድል ይፈጥራል፡፡ እንደነዚህ አይነት  ስሜት የመረበሽ ወይም የማስፈራራት  ባህሪይ ያላቸው መልዕክቶች  ሰዎች ላይ በተለይም በታዳጊ ወጣቶች  ላይ ከፍተኛ  የስነ-ልቦና ቀውስ ያስከትላሉ፡፡

በዋናነት ስለራሳቸው ያላቸው አመለካከት ዝቅተኛ እንዲሆንና በራስ መተማመናቸው እንዲቀንስ ያደርጋል፤ በቀጣይ ከሰዎች ጋር በሚኖራቸው ማህበራዊ ግንኙነት ላይ መፍራት ወይም ተነሳሽነት ማጣት፤ በሳይበሩ  አለም የሚደርሰው ማስፈራራት በገሃዱ አለም እንደሚደርስባቸው በማሰብ መፍራት እና መረበሽ፤ ተቀባይነት አንዳጡ መሰማት  እና እራሳቸውን ማግለል፤ ድብርት   ..  የሚጠቀሱ ናቸው፡፡

ከዚህ አይነት ጥቃት ራስን ለመጠበቅ ከሚረዱን ዘዴዎች ውስጥ ከማናቃቸው ሰዎች ጋር የሚኖረንን ግንኙነት መወሰን፤ የግል መረጃንም ሆነ ሚስጢርን በማህበራዊ ሚድያዎች ላይ አለማስፈር፤ ወላጆች የልጆቻቸውን  ኢንተርኔት አጠቃቀም እና የሚያሳዩትን  የባህሪ ለውጦች መከታተል፤ በተለያዩ ማህበራዊ ድረ-ገጾች  ሪፖርት እንድናደርግ የሚያስችሉንን ቅንብሮች መጠቀም፤አዋቂዎችን”  ለተሻለ እርዳታ ማማከር ይጠቀሳሉ፡፡