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Cyberbullying is a fairly new type of bullying in which one person or a group of people threaten, tease or embarrass someone else by using a mobile phone, the internet or other technologies. Cyberbullying can either be public (e.g. hurtful messages on your personal social networking page) or more private (e.g. messages send to your mobile).
Sometimes, people may not realise they are contributing to cyberbulling – for example if one friend tells another to post a comment on someone else’s blog. Think to yourself ‘would I want other people posting these sorts of comments about me?’
Cyberbullying takes many forms. These are some of the main ones:
Sending emails that can be threatening or upsetting. Emails can be sent directly to a single target, or to a group of people to encourage them to become part of the bullying. These messages or ‘hate mails’ can include examples of racism, sexism and other types of prejudice.
If someone sends you a message and you forward or laugh at it, you’re actually adding to the problem.
Sending instant messenger and chatroom messages to friends or direct to a victim. Others can be invited into the bullying conversation, who then become part of it by laughing.
Setting up profiles on social networking sites to make fun of someone. By visiting these pages or contributing to them, you become part of the problem and add to the feelings of unhappiness felt by the victim.
Sending humiliating and abusive text or video messages, as well as photo messages and phone calls over a mobile phone. This includes anonymous text messages over short distances using Bluetooth technology and sharing videos of physical attacks on individuals (happy slapping).
Games consoles such as the Playstation 3 and Xbox360 allow players to chat online with anyone they find themselves matched with in a multi-player game. Sometimes cyber bullies abuse other players and use threats.
They can also lock victims out of games, spread false rumours about someone or hack into someone’s account.
Some people send viruses or hacking programs to another person that can destroy their computers or delete personal information from their hard drive.
Many victims of cyberbullying have complained that they have seen personal photos, emails or blog postings posted where others could see it without their permission.
Social networking sites make it a lot easier for web users to get hold of personal information and photos of people. They can also get hold of someone else’s messaging accounts and chat to people pretending to be the victim.
More information about staying safe online.