Children & Adolescents, Parenting, Teen Mental Health

26 July, 2016

Cyber bullying

Cyber Bullying

“An aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual using electronic forms of contact repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself”

Cyber Bullying

cyber bully

Cyber bullying has been defined as:

An aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual using electronic forms of contact repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself” (Smith, Mahdavi, Carvalho, Fisher, Russell & Tippett, 2008, p.376).
Cyber bullying does not involve face to face or physical confrontation. It does not require any close proximity to the cyber victim. Cyber bullying can also be carried out anonymously.

Disinhibition exists:

  • young people say and do things online that they would never do face to face
  • they perceived the Internet as an environment free from adult supervision

The fear of discovery is absent. This fear which may control their behaviour in the real world does not control it in the cyber world.
Disassociation with the turmoil that the cyber bully causes the cyber victim.
By not experiencing the harm it causes means that the cyber bully may have no empathetic response at all.

How cyber bullying affects you

Cyber bullying can leave you feeling anxious, depressed or sad.  You may have difficulties sleeping or focusing in school and you may experience other stress-related disorders.

Signs of cyber bullying may include changes in mood, behavior, sleep, or appetite, fearing to go to school, reclusion, avoiding computer, phone or Internet.

How Cyber bullying is carried out

  • SMS: sending or receiving abusive text messages by mobile phone
  • MMS: taking, sending or receiving unpleasant photos and/or videos using mobile phones (e.g. happy slapping)
  • Calls: sending or receiving upsetting phone calls (e.g. malicious, prank calls)
  • E-mail: malicious or threatening emails directly to a victim, or about a victim to others
  • Chat rooms: intimidation or abuse when participating in chat rooms
  • Instant Message: abusive instant messages (MSN, Yahoo etc)
  • Websites: where secret or personal details are revealed in an abusive way or where nasty or unpleasant comments are posted
  • Flaming: online fights using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language
  • Harassment: repeatedly sending nasty, mean, and insulting messages
  • Denigration: “dissing” someone online. Sending or posting gossip or rumours about a person to damage his or her reputation or friendships
  • Impersonation: pretending to be someone else and posting material to get that person in trouble or danger or to damage that person’s reputation or friendships
  • Outing: sharing someone’s secrets or embarrassing information or images online
  • Trickery: talking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, then sharing it online
  • Exclusion: intentionally and cruelly excluding someone from an online group
  • Cyber stalking: repeated, intense harassment and denigration that includes threats or creates significant fear

Bystanders and witnesses

Bystanders or witnesses to cyber bullying are those who receive messages about someone else or see it posted.
By not responding or encouraging the cyber bullying or by reporting the occurrence to an adult, they can assist the person being bullied.
Silence, when others are being hurt, is not acceptable.

If they don’t allow the cyber bullies to use them to embarrass or torment others, cyber bullying will stop.

Preventing Cyber bullying

Preventing Cyber bullying

How to prevent cyberbullying

  • Don’t reply!
  • Keep the message
  • Block the sender
  • Tell someone you trust
  • Report problems


For more information, you can go to Watch Your Space

  • Tell someone you trust. You can go to Childline Ireland to get support.
  • Someone sends a mean text? screenshot it and report them to Watch Your Space
  • Report serious issues to
    The service is run by the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI) is supervised by the Department of Justice, Office for Internet Safety (OIS), in cooperation with An Garda Síochánaand is a member of INHOPE, the International Network of Hotlines.
  • Speak openly to their children about cyber bullying.
  • Talk to them about internet safety.
  • Monitor their online activity.
  • Reported cyber bullying episodes will not result in loss of technology.
  • Discourage young people from responding to the bully as this only antagonizes the bully and the situation.
  • Evidence of the cyber bullying should always be kept as a record of what has happened.
  • Contacting the Internet Service Provider (ISPs) which may result in the cyber bully having their SNS suspended.
  • Inform the school.
  • Contacting the police may be necessary if the cyber bullying involves threats of violence, harassment, child pornography, extortion or obscene calls or texts.

Netiquette & Internet Use

“Netiquette” or online etiquette: applying the same social criteria of face to face interaction in the cyber world
Don’t divulge too much personal information
Permanence of post!
Check the Privacy Settings on Facebook


Before I make a post, I pledge to ask myself:

  • Who will be able to see what I post?
  • Will anyone be embarrassed or hurt by it?
  • Am I proud of what I’m posting?
  • How I would feel if someone posted it about me?

Visit Jostens for more information.

Remember that you will be held responsible for any inappropriate or questionable content that you publish!
Do not send or share any content that:

  • may call into question your integrity
  • may be misinterpreted as offensive or inappropriate
  • could damage your reputation with your friends
  • be punished by your parents,

OR you may also get into trouble with the law!

Internet Safety Legislation

There is no specific legislation governing Internet safety at school level.

Complicating this issue is the fact that the Internet functions in a global context whereas the law operates in a localized one.

There are, however, a number of legislations that have relevance to Internet safety:

  • Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003: this act was passed in order to deal with privacy issues arising from the increasing amount of information kept on computer about individuals.
  • Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003: this amendment extends the data protection rules to manually held records and also makes improvements to the public’s right to access data.
  • Interception Act 1993 (The Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages
    Regulation Act 1993). This act stipulates that telecommunication messages can be intercepted for the purpose of an investigation of a serious offence.
  • Video Recordings Act 1989: this act prohibits the distribution of videos which contain obscene or indecent material which may lead to the depravation or corruption of the viewer. It would apply where someone in the State supplied this kind of video over the Internet.

Download our cyber bullying information pack

What is cyber bullying  How it affects you  How it is carried out  Bystanders and witnesses  Prevention – Netiquette & Internet Use Legislation