What is Online bullying?

Online bullying is when someone uses technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person.

It happens on devices like smartphones, computers, tablets, and gaming systems. Online bullying hurts people, and in some cases is against the law.

The most common places where online bullying occurs are:
  • Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok.
  • Text messaging and messaging apps on mobile or tablet devices.
  • Instant messaging, direct messaging, and online chatting over the internet
  • Online forums, chat rooms, and message boards, such as Chatroulette and Discord.
  • Online gaming communities
  • Email.
Sometimes online bullying can be easy to spot — for example, if your child shows you a text, comment, or post that is harsh, mean, or cruel. Other acts are less obvious, like posting someone's personal information, or using photos or videos that hurt or embarrass another person. Someone might make a fake account or screen name to harass and bully, so you don't know who the bully is.
Beautiful lonely young girl depressed and worried suffering from bullying and harassment on social media

What Are the Effects of Online bullying?

Kids have almost constant access to their devices, so online bullying is hard to escape. Kids and teens can feel like they never get a break and feel the effects very strongly.
Online bullying that is severe, long-lasting, or happens a lot can cause anxiety, depression and other stress-related disorders in victims and bullies. In rare cases, some kids have attempted or died from suicide.
Online bullies also can be suspended or expelled from school or kicked off of sports teams. Depending on the severity of the online bullying, kids also might be in legal trouble.