Common forms of cyberbullying include: sending malicious text messages and emails, creating fake social media accounts to harass someone and impersonating someone else to spread harmful information. Cyberbullies use technology, such as cell phones and computers, to threaten or humiliate a victim. When adults target other people in this way, they may face charges for cyber-stalking or cyber-harassment.
Cyberbullying can occur in subtle ways, such as deliberately excluding certain people online to be hurtful. In other cases, victims are tricked into sharing embarrassing information or made fun of and called names. While cyberbullies are usually people the victim knows, attacks may also come from strangers.
Cyberbullying is difficult to overcome because victims cannot escape these attacks at home or while they're alone. Whether bullies are posting embarrassing photos or sending mean-spirited texts, they have the power to harass victims at any hour of the day and distribute information to a wide audience in seconds. Removing harmful information from Internet sites is challenging, and children being bullied in and out of school may be afraid to seek help from adults.
The relentless nature of cyberbullying can increase a child's risk of developing depression and anxiety. Similar to traditional bullying, cyberbullying may also affect the victim's self-esteem and lead to poor academic performance.