Cyber bullying, like traditional bullying, can take place anywhere, at any time, and can affect anyone. It also takes many forms. Some examples of cyber bullying are:
- Issuing insults, rumors, or threats via texts, posts, comments, emails, phone calls, etc.
- Distributing embarrassing images of a victim or their family
- Hacking into a victim’s email or social media account
- Impersonating a friend or family member to obtain information that can be used to bully someone
People can be bullied for almost any reason — nationality, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, appearance, family wealth or status, mental or physical disability, extracurricular activities, and more. Some statistics about cyber bullying:
- The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey found that about 15 percent of high school students had experienced cyber bullying in the previous year.
- According to the 2012 Indicators of School Crime and Safety, female students were more likely to report that a student had posted harmful information about them online.
- However, both male and female students reported experiencing bullying via text message at equal rates.
- The 2012 report found that kids only reported bullying to an adult 40 percent of the time.
Bullying affects everyone involved — the victim, the bully, and bystanders — negatively. It can cause depression and anxiety, worsening academic performance and attendance, and further violence, among other effects.
Bullying is not a rite of passage for young adults. Parents should talk to their children about this issue to prevent cyber bullying and learn how to respond if they suspect that their child is being bullied or is bullying others. In addition, parents and teens can report cyberbullying to online service providers, law enforcement, and schools to address the issue.