What Is Cyberbullying?
From our research, we found that up to 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before the age of 18… but what is it and who does it effect? Cyberbullying comes in a whole range of different shapes and sizes and is something that is totally subjective to the recipient. We define cyberbullying as the following:
“Cyberbullying is the use of digital technologies with an intent to offend, humiliate, threaten, harass or abuse somebody.”
Anybody can become a recipient of cyberbullying, regardless of how old they are or the kind of job that they occupy. In fact, it is well documented that a lot of our favourite celebrities and role models also experience cyberbullying.
The most important this is knowing how to deal with it. Read on for our expert top tips and advice.
Get the Facts
Want to know more? Have a read through our past research papers to get an idea of the stats around bullying, cyberbullying and other related issues from the last 5 years…
What Does The Law Say?
As cyberbullying is a relatively new phenomenon, the UK courts are still trying to catch up with it and sentence offenders effectively. Though no laws specifically apply to cyberbullying alone, there are several laws which can be applied in cyberbullying cases:
- Protection from Harassment Act 1997
- Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
- Malicious Communications Act 1988
- Communications Act 2003
- Breach of the Peace (Scotland)
- Defamation Act 2013
In 2012 The Crown Prosecution Service published guidelines on how cyberbullying cases would be assessed against current laws, which you can find here.
On January 1st 2014 the Defamation Act 2013 came into order and can be read here.
Cyberbullying cases can often go unreported by for fear of what people may say, and indeed this was an issue faced by Nicola Brookes, who was remorselessly cyberbullied after posting a message of support on Frankie Cocozza’s Facebook page. After taking evidence to the Police with no success, she took her case to the High Court and won a battle with Facebook to have the names of those who had bullied her revealed. You can read more about the story here. The case was a landmark battle, as for the first time it meant a website had to release members’ details, opening them up for prosecution.
Trolls are increasingly being taken to court and if found guilty, given fines and facing jail terms. Two people who sent abusive messages towards Caroline Criado-Perez were jailed for 8 weeks and 12 weeks, and were ordered to pay £800 in fines.
A website owner will generally be responsible for content posted on the website, meaning that if a defamatory comment (or series of comments) exists on a website, the site’s owner can be taken to court – this is how Nicola Brookes was able to get information about her trolls from Facebook. Alternatively, it may be possible to take the troll themselves to court, as has been seen in the case of Caroline Criado-Perez. As with any court case, evidence is essential and it’s important to catalogue any abuse you may receive. KnowtheNet has produced a helpful infographic on how to interact on the internet, and you can see it here.
On a different note, after boxer Curtis Woodhouse had been trolled by the same account on Twitter for months, he put a bounty on the address of his assailant and visited the troll’s house to solicit an apology from him. Though this isn’t advised.
How to report and remove a post
– On the post that you want to report/remove, click on the arrow icon in the top right-hand side and select I don’t like this post.
– When the window pops open just click the appropriate reason for removing the post.
– Then you are given the options on how to proceed. You are given plenty of options to choose from.
– Once you have gone through this short process, you will have several options on how to proceed including blocking the person who made the original post and making a complaint to Facebook.
Blocking a User
– You can still block users by going to their Facebook page. Once on their profile page go to the top right corner and click on the button to the right of the messages button.
– You now have the option to report or block them.
Dealing with Abusive Messages
– If you are using the chat box then click on the options logo in the right corner followed by Report as Spam or Abuse…
– If you are in your inbox, select the message that you want to get rid of or report from the left-hand column by clicking on it.
– Click on Actions at the top of your screen and select Report as Spam or Abuse…
– Three options will appear so just click on the one that is appropriate.
Blocking a user through a Tweet
– On the tweet that you want to block, click on the more (…) icon at the bottom of the Tweet and click Block.
Blocking a user through a profile
– Go to the profile page of the user you want to block.
– Click on the options icon next to the follow button and select block. You can also report users by completing these same steps.
Reporting Content or a User
– Click on the options arrow either on a post or the users profile and click report.
Whether you’re being cyberbullied yourself or know somebody who is, join the community to start a conversation today and access free and impartial advice on what to do next…