Cyberbullying is “the use of Information and Communications Technology, particularly mobile phones and the internet, deliberately to upset someone else”.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying may consist of threats, harassment, embarrassment, humiliation, defamation or impersonation. It may take the form of general insults, or prejudice-based bullying, for example homophobic, sexist, racist or other forms of discrimination.
There are reported cases of cyberbullying involving:
Virtual Learning Environments
social networking sites
mobile and fixed-point phones
games and virtual world sites.
Advice for parents and students
Text and Video Messaging
Don’t reply to text messaging (also known as SMS or EMS) or video messaging (also known as MMS) that is abusive or obscene. Your mobile service provider e.g. Orange, T-Mobile, Vodaphone, etc. should have a number that you can ring to report abusive messaging. Try their websites for details.
Be careful who you give phone numbers to and don’t leave your mobile lying around when you are not there.
Chatrooms or Instant Messaging (IM)
Do not give out personal information
Give yourself an alias that doesn’t give out anything about your age, gender or location
Don’t respond to abusive posting – ignore them or log off. If you don’t take time off and calm down you’ll end up writing something you’ll regret which will only make the situation worse
Think about what you write – it is very easy for people to get the wrong idea about what you write or how you write it
If you receive a nasty or abusive email (known as being flamed), don’t reply. If it’s from someone you think you know, like someone at school, they’ll want some kind of reaction, just like they would if they were standing in front of you and bullying you. Don’t give them the satisfaction of replying, and they’ll probably stop
If they don’t stop then you need to find out where the email is coming from. Using an email client like Outlook or Outlook Express, clicking the right mouse button over an email will reveal lots of details about where and who the email came from. You can then get your parents to contact the school or the service provider of the sender of the email
The email can also come from people that you don’t know, (known as spamming) – email addresses are fairly easy for companies to obtain on the internet, using software called email harvesters. They are also surprisingly easy for specialist computer programs to guess. Under no circumstances should you reply to these types of email, even if they have a Click here and stop receiving this email link – this will just confirm your email address as a real one. The individual sending it can then sell or pass it on to other people and you’ll be flooded with even more junk and abusive emails
You can delete the emails, but if the situation becomes serious, you should save them or print them off so that, if you do need to take action, you have some evidence
Learn more about your email program from the Help menu – you should be able to find details of how you can create folders, email filters and folder routing. This won’t stop the emails but it can help to shield you from them
If the cyberbullying is on a school or community website, do as you would do if the bullying was face to face – tell someone like your parents or teachers
If it’s on a site that you don’t know about, you have to do a bit of research to find out who hosts the website
Contact the school direct or contact the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre or CEOP is a place where you can report any inappropriate or potentially illegal activity with or towards a child online. This might be a conversation with someone online who you think may be an adult, and is treating a child in a way which makes you feel uncomfortable, or you think may be trying to meet them for sex.