Cyberbullying or ebullying is bullying that takes place online or electronically through use of the internet, mobile phones or other technological devices. For example, sending mean and abusive text, email or instant messages; making silent phone calls; posting nasty photo or video clips or messages about others in blogs, chat rooms or websites; using someone else’s username to spread rumours or lies; or accessing someone’s account to make trouble for them.
Cyberbullying, also known as electronic bullying or online social cruelty, is defined as bullying through:
- instant messaging
- a chat room or message board
- a website or gaming site
- digital messages or images
- mobile phone (texts, phone messages, phone calls, pictures & videos)
A one-time posting of something intended to embarrass someone, while unpleasant, does not qualify as bullying. Cyberbullying is deliberate, repeated and hostile behaviour that is intended to harm others and is usually not a one-off communication, unless it involves a death threat or a credible threat of bodily harm. Learn more about the different types of cyberbullying and the terminology associated with it.
This destructive online behaviour is not confined to youth but is also carried out by adults towards other adults, in which case it is referred to as cyberstalking or cyberharassment. Cyberstalkers may attempt to damage a search engine or encyclopaedia, or threaten a victim’s employment, reputation or safety.