Cyberbullying can occur online only, or as part of more general bullying. Cyberbullies may be people who are known to you or anonymous. Like all bullies, they frequently try to persuade others to join in.
You could be bullied for your religious or political beliefs, race or skin colour, body image, if you have a mental or physical disability or for no apparent reason whatsoever.
Cyberbullying generally comprises sending threatening or otherwise nasty messages or other communications to people via social media, gaming sites, text or email, posting embarrassing or humiliating videos on hosting sites such as YouTube or Vimeo, or harassing through repeated texts, instant messages or chats.
Increasingly, it is perpetrated by posting or forwarding images, video or private details obtained via sexting, without the victim’s permission.
Some cyberbullies set up Facebook pages and other social media accounts purely to bully others.
The effects of cyberbullying range from annoyance and mild distress to – in the most extreme cases – self-harm and suicide.
This can be a reality for vulnerable people, or indeed anybody made to feel vulnerable through cyberbullying or other personal circumstances.
What to do if you are affected by cyberbullying?
- Avoid escalating the situation Responding with hostility is likely to provoke a bully. Depending on the circumstances, consider ignoring the issue. Often, bullies thrive on the reaction of their victims. If you or your child receives unwanted email messages, consider changing your email address. The problem may stop. If you continue to get messages at the new account, you may have a strong case for legal action.
- Take screenshots, keep upsetting emails, messages and posts as evidence if reporting the bullying.
- Block cyberbullies’ social media, email and instant messaging accounts as appropriate.
- Report cyberbullies to your internet service provider (ISP), mobile phone provider (if bullying is via texts or calls) or social media site/app.
- Consider changing your phone number if the bullying is by text or phone call, and keep the new one private.
- Protect all your passwords and password protect your phone.
- Talk to a friend, family member or use our Bullyid Indonesia’s platform to get advice and start your online counselling with licensed psychologists and lawyers.
- If the communications become more frequent, the threats more severe, the methods more dangerous and if third-parties (such as hate groups and sexually deviant groups) become involved—the more likely law enforcement needs to be contacted and a legal process initiated.
- Report serious bullying such as threats of physical harm or abuse, to the police.