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

For some reason, people have always found it comforting to put other people down, even if the comments they make are mean and hurtful. This can explain why, in 2020, 73% of students feel they have been bullied in their lifetime, and why 44% say it has happened in the last 30 days.

Click here for some critical cyberbullying statistics in 2020

With the continuous advancements in technology through the usage of smart phones, ipads and laptops, cyberbullying has become so frequent that young people have started to accept this as a part of their everyday lives.

Female adolescents are more at risk

Females were more likely than males to report that they had been cyberbullied (21% vs 14% respectively).


cyber bullying and cyber safetyCyberbullying is not acknowledged by many parents

14% of parents claimed they didn't know if their child had experienced cyberbullying.  75% claimed their child had never experienced cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a cyber crime using technology to deliberately and repeatedly bully someone else. It can happen to anyone, anytime and can leave the recipient feeling unsafe and alone.

The main reason why cyberbullying is not acknowledged by many parents is because this type of bullying takes place via the internet, usually in chat rooms. As a parent, if we are not monitoring what our child is doing on the internet, it becomes easy for this type of bullying to be overlooked.


As you can see from the statistics, it isn’t just the internet where people are cyberbullied. It can take place through text messages, blogs, emails, social media sites and websites.


Examples of cyberbullying include

      • Harrasment - Repeatedly sending offensive messages to a target
      • Cyber stalking - Intense harassment and denigration that includes threats or creates significant fear in the victim. Harassment becomes cyberstalking when a victim fears for their personal safety
      • Denigration - Making derogatory comments about a target. This can occur using words or can involve the dissemination of a derogatory, sexual or non-sexual image
      • Happy slapping - The filming of a physical assault on a victim and the subsequent distribution of the film to humiliate the victim publically
      • Exclusion - Purposely excluding a victim from entering online domains such as a chat room discussion group
      • Outing and trickery - Situations where a perpetrator manipulates the victim into disclosing information that the perpetrator then publicises in order to humiliate the victim
      • Impersonation or masquerading - Involves a perpetrator pretending to be the victim and sending an offensive message that appears to come from the victim
      • Indirect threat - A form of cyberbullying related to cyberstalking in that it refers to an online communication of impending physical harm. Unlike cyberstalking, this form relates to a single threat of physical harm made indirectly in the public online domain

Our tools, strategies and activities

School-based anti-bullying programs are effective. On average, bullying decreased by 20–23% and victimization decreased by 17–20%. Program elements and intervention components that were associated with a decrease in bullying and victimization were identified, based on feedback from researchers about the coding of 40 out of 44 programs.

Our Life Lessons workshop teaches high school students the strategies and tools on how to be cybersafe. We also teach students how to treat others respectfully online. How to be constructive and not cause harm to others. How to keep private information secure and knowing how to report unsafe online behaviour to the appropriate person.

We raise awareness of cyberbullying and teach students how to handle, stop and prevent it using multimedia presentations, short films, group discussions and group work, role play, games and activities.

At workshop conclusion, students should be more empowered to
        • Deal with the dangers of Cyberbullying
        • Understand the consequences it can have. This includes the social, emotional and legal consequences of online misuse
        • Focus on the important role of the bystander
        • Reduce bullying
        • Use safe cyber practices and the tips that we provide to help young people to stay cyber safe.

(Sources: Australian Commissions and Media Authority ACMA. 'No Bullying' website. 10,000 young people surveyed. Cyberbullying Research Centre www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying)


Online safety tips


Australian Government eSafety resources


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