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Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place through communication technologies, such as mobile or smart phones or the internet. Cyberbullying is just as harmful as bullying in the real world. If you are getting threatening messages online, there are a number of ways to get them stopped.

Bullying on social networks

Every day, thousands of us interact with each other on social networks, via our computers, tablets or apps on our smart phones.

Sadly, sometimes social networks can be places where people experience bullying.

Cyberbullying on social networks can take place in many different ways, such as:

  • posting abusive messages on profiles
  • adding rude comments to a picture that has been uploaded
  • posting a video or photo that makes fun of someone
  • setting up fake profiles to tease others or to get them into trouble

Bullying through a smart phone

You may also experience bullying through your smart phone.Some examples of bullying through smart phones include

  • Sending rude or nasty text messages, iMessages, BBM
  • Making abusive, hurtful or silent phone calls, video calls
  • Sending someone photos or videos to embarrass or upset them
  • Sending embarrassing photos or videos of someone to make fun of them

It is important to remember that there are many apps that can be used to send messages, including photo and video. Bullying through any of these apps is still bullying.

The effects of cyberbullying

Even though cyberbullying cannot physically hurt you, it can still leave you feeling mentally vulnerable and very upset. You can also feel scared, lonely and stressed and that there’s no way out.

Escaping cyberbullying can be very difficult. Because anyone can get access to a mobile phone or the internet almost anywhere, it can be tough for those on the receiving end to avoid it, even in the safety of their own home.

How to stop cyberbullying

The internet is a wonderful tool. It allows us to connect with each other, share photographs and videos, learn from each others, be entertained and much more. Everyone has a right to be able to access and use the internet in safety.

If you see anything offensive or hurtful you should report it immediately.  Most social networks have ‘buttons’ that let you submit the report from the page you are on.

If you are experiencing bullying online or through your smart phone it is important that you tell someone about it. This might be a parent/carer, a teacher, a youth worker or another adult you trust.  Sometimes it may also be important to report the incident to the Police Service for Northern Ireland, so make sure to save any messages or posts that might be needed as evidence.

You should be thoughtful about what you post online and send through your smart phone. It is not acceptable to use the internet or smart phones to bully others.

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