What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of any kind of technology
to intimidate, hurt, or humiliate others.

It’s so common that you or someone you know have probably already been involved in it—whether as target, bystander, or as the person cyberbullying others.

Here are some examples of cyberbullying:

teen sadly sits with cellphone
  • Sending cruel or threatening emails, texts, or instant messages to someone
  • Posting photos that you know will embarrass someone
  • Creating a website to make fun of someone
  • Posting insults on someone’s timeline
  • Making up fake accounts on social networking sites (like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr) to ridicule others
  • Rating people in online polls
  • Spreading secrets or rumours about people online
  • Harassing other players in online video games (flaming)


All forms of bullying are hurtful, but there are some things about cyberbullying that can make it especially devastating. For example:

  • It’s easier to be cruel when you can’t see or be seen by your target. When someone doesn’t witness the hurt they are causing, it’s easier to imagine that ‘it’s just a joke’ or that what they’re doing is ‘no big deal.’
  • Cyberbullying has a much larger audience than face-to-face bullying. If someone posts something that your entire friend circle can see, it’s going to hurt more than if they’d said the same thing to your face.
  • The perpetrator is anonymous in some types of cyberbullying, which can make the abuse very difficult to stop.
  • Because teens are always wired, cyberbullying can follow them everywhere—even into ‘safe’ places like their homes.

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Last Reviewed October 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team

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