Just as face-to-face bullying can take many forms, from physically hurting the person to saying mean things about them, cyberbullying can also include a variety of behaviours.
Cyberbullying is defined as the repeated bullying behaviour of a person or group inflicted on another person or group with the intent to cause them harm, using electronic devices and features.
Bullying of any kind is never okay and if you’re experiencing it, it’s important to talk to someone. Childine is always available via phone on 1800 66 66 66, by free text 50101 or through live chat on childline.ie.
Examples of Cyberbullying Behaviours are:
Using a public online platform to pressure someone into taking part in something (like an online challenge) they don’t want to do or forcing them to disclose certain information.
Cowardice is a common trait among bullies and those who don’t want to be seen doing it publicly might send nasty or hurtful private comments through Direct Messages. (DMs).
Even if it’s done ‘as a bit of fun’, sharing embarrassing or compromising images of someone can be devastating to a young person’s self-esteem. There are now laws in place that prohibit this type of behaviour.
Individuals tend to use passive-aggressive comments when they want to express a negative comment/opinion about an individual but do not want to do it to their face.
Instead, they express their comment in a subtle manner to someone in the hope of influencing how that individual views the person who is the target of the comment. They may do this in a private group chat for example, or on a public forum, but never directly to the victim.
Sometimes those intent on cyberbullying another set up a fake account specifically to send unkind messages or spread lies about them.
These can be blocked and reported to the social media platform but ultimately, the person can just continue to set up new ones.
Trolling is a particular type of behaviour that can happen on social media platforms.
Those engaged in this type of behaviour tend to find satisfaction in targeting people and/or groups, challenging their viewpoints and trying to provoke a reaction or turn others against them, sometimes leading to the victim(s) shutting down their social media account and disengaging from the platform, as they no longer feel able to participate safely.
Social exclusion is when you have been excluded from a friend WhatsApp group or if you discover that a group was set up specifically to talk nastily about you.
Friends posting group pictures online without you with the intention of causing upset is another example of social exclusion.