Cyber-Bullying: What it is and how you can be supported
What is it?
Cyber bullying is any sort of bullying which takes place online. This could be through social networking sites (such as Facebook), messaging apps or gaming sites. In a recent national bullying survey taken by Bullying UK, 56% of young adults said that had witnessed other people being bullied online, with 42% saying they felt unsafe online.
Examples of Cyber Bullying:
Cyber bullying could appear in a number of different forms and could affect different people in different ways. This could be by spreading rumours or presenting threatening behaviour. Many forms of Cyber Bullying may also be illegal. It is against the law to use the phone system (which now includes the internet) to cause alarm or distress. Some examples of cyber bullying could be:
- Cyber Stalking – People repeatedly send or receive messages which could include threats or forms of harassment or just other intimidating messages which could make a person feel afraid of their safety.
- Harassment – When people receive or send messages which may be offensive, rude or insulting. This can also include making horrible comments on posts or on photos through social media.
- Impersonation – It is when someone will hack into someone’s account (on social media or other networking site) and then use their identity to send or post horrible or embarrassing information about that person or someone else.
- Exclusion – This is possibly one of the most common forms of cyber bullying and also the one which goes most unnoticed. This is where others intentionally leave a person out of a group or an event e.g. a group chat on Facebook or maybe a group game on Xbox or online.
- Grooming – This is an offence and you can be jailed for it. It may be as simple as a guy/girl you like asking you to send you some pictures or a film of you without any clothing on and when you refuse, they may start to threaten to spread rumours or send people information about you if you don’t take part.
What to do if you are being bullied:
It is important to note that there are a number of ways to protect yourself online, either through the use of secure passwords to going through and changing your privacy settings to ensure that you don’t put yourself at risk of cyber bullying.
There a number of different ways to report and seek help and advice if you are a victim of cyber bullying. Most social media sites, such as Facebook or YouTube have buttons which allow you to report people who you may feel are harassing you. By doing this you make them aware of these people and they will disable the account of anyone who bullies and attacks another person. By reporting them you may well help to save another people from receiving similar forms of attack.
Many other sites or apps such as Snapchat or WhatsApp have forms online which you can fill in with contact emails for people who will be able to ensure that the persons account is disabled and that you then receive support and advice. There are also a number of different support websites (such as Bullying UK) which provide advice and contact details for anyone who may be suffering from any type of bullying. They allow you to speak to people and work out the best step forward.
The University and Students’ Union has a number of support systems in place providing support and advice for all types of problems:
- The Advice Centre is a free confidential advice centre which aims to offer all members of SUSU support and advice on any problems which they may be experiencing. They are open 9-5 Monday to Friday and can be found on Level 3 of Building 40, Highfield Campus.
- Many students also have personal academic tutors who should be able to help and support with more issues and if they cannot help, will certainly be able to point you in the direction of the right people to speak to.
- Nightline is a confidential anonymous telephone listening service which is run by students. You are able to phone them on 02390 595236 from 8pm – 8am every term time night. You shouldn’t wait to be bullied yourself to report cyber bullying. If you witness another person being bullied on any form of social media you should encourage them to step up and take action or take action yourself and report them to stop the spread of bullying.