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Online Safety

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Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying involves a person or group bullying someone else by use of computers, cellphones, and other devices to hurt, embarrass, or intimidate that person. Examples include: mean texts, pranking, hacking, being rude or mean, spreading secrets or rumours, and pretending to be someone else.

Reports suggest that 25-50% of students (grade 4 through high school) in Ontario have been cyber bullied

Cyber bullying is different from other forms of bullying:

  • the cyber bully may be anonymous (unknown) Girls Chatting
  • the cyber bully may send or post comments or images online that they wouldn’t usually do face-to-face
  • hurtful comments or photos can be spread rapidly through texts, chat messages and emails at any time of day or night
  • hurtful comments or posts can remain online and the victim may not be able to delete it
  • many people can view the comment or post and may support it by 'liking' it or commenting again
  • victims may not seek help of an adult for fear they will lose computer or phone privileges

Cyber bullying is a 24/7 phenomena... the victim may feel there is no escape.

Cyber bullying can have harmful effects on health and well-being. It can lead to poor self-esteem, lower school grades, mental health problems, use of drugs or alcohol, and even suicide.

Signs a child may be experiencing cyber bullying if he or she:

  • appears sad, moody, or anxious
  • avoids school
  • shows a lack of interest in social activities
  • poor grades or decline in school work
  • appears upset after using the computer or being online
  • appears upset after viewing a text message on a cell phone

If a child shows any of these warning signs, it is important to talk together and look into the problem to determine whether cyber bullying is occurring and to offer help.

Types of Cyberbullying

  • Harassment: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messagesWeb cam
  • Denigration: Posting information about another that is degrading and untrue
  • Flaming: Online "fighting" using electronic messages with angry and rude language
  • Impersonation: Breaking into an email or social networking account and using that person's online identity to send or post vicious or embarrassing material to/about others.
  • Outing and Trickery: Sharing someone's secrets or embarrassing information, or tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information and forwarding it to others
  • Cyber Stalking: Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or are highly intimidating

 Strategies to deal with cyberbullying:

  • Do not respond
  • Save and print the message or image; take "screenshots" that include date and time (consult cellphone or internet user-guide)
  • "Block" the cyber bully from sending texts or emails (consult cell or internet user-guide)
  • Report to school or school board
  • Call Internet Service Provider or Cell Phone Provider
  • Talk to Police

Cyber bullying can be challenging for parents to notice as it can happen anywhere and at any time, but a parent’s awareness is key to preventing it and detecting it.

How to Prepare or Help Your Child

  • teach how to identify and report inappropriate behaviour such as cyber bullying
  • use these tips and tools
  • teach about respecting others’ personal boundaries