Cyberbullying is essentially bullying that takes place over the internet via social media sites, text messages, emails, chat rooms and websites. It could be perpetrated using a computer, tablet, cell phone, or really any form of electronic technology. Some examples of cyberbullying include mean statements or rumors being spread about someone through text messages or emails, being posted on social media, or even embarrassing pictures being posted at the expense of another person. The difference between real life bullying and cyberbullying however, is that cyberbullies can harass their victim at any time in the day, whether or not they are currently engaged. A 2013 study done by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey found that 15% of high school students were cyberbullied in the last year (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, 2013). According to StopBullying.gov, these teens have a higher risk of depression and anxiety (“What is Cyberbullying,” n.d.). In addition, other symptoms may include:
- The use of alcohol and drugs
- Skipping school
- Experiencing in-person bullying
- Loss of interest in activities
- Unwillingness and/or hesitance to attend school
- Not doing well academically
- Lower self-esteem
- Health problems
However, cyberbullying doesn’t only come in the form of mean messages or the spread of rumors over the internet. This behavior becomes sexual harassment when it begins to involve unwanted sexual advances, threats or comments to or about another person. To put it into perspective, bullying typically involves hurtful or mean comments, actions, gestures, etc. that is intended to hurt, humiliate or scare another person. However, with sexual harassment or sexual bullying, the focus of the comments of tactics mostly focus on that person’s sexuality, appearance and/or orientation. Over the internet this can be done in the form of sending inappropriate messages, pictures or videos to someone or regarding someone else’s personal business. To learn about what sexual harassment looks like when it’s not over the internet, be sure to visit the “Sexual Harassment & Assault” page.
What is Cyberbullying. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). (2015, May 15). Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/index.htm
Social Media: Issues and Tips for Teens. (2014). Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://nationalcac.org/images/pdfs/LocalServices/Prevention/ForTeens/Social_Media_Issues_and_Tips_for_Teens.pdf.