Vol. 76, No. 1Just the facts


Bullying is no longer restricted to the playgrounds and school hallways – social media sites and cellphones have allowed taunts to enter the cyber world and the victims' home.

  • Cyberbullying is the use of the Internet or other information technology to harm or harass an individual through the deliberate and/or repetitive posting of information about that individual.
  • Instances of cyberbullying include someone posting an embarrassing photo of someone else, breaking into someone else's social media account and pretending to be them, and using information found online to harass an individual at home, school or work.
  • It can also take the forms of gossip, exclusion, impersonation, harassment, stalking, threatening and trickery (tricking someone into revealing secrets online that are then shared).
  • The most common form of cyberbullying is when someone takes a private communication, such as an email, an instant message or a text message, and forwards it to others or posts it publicly.
  • In 2011, Kids Help Phone identified that cyberbullying occurs most frequently on social networking sites. Text messaging has replaced email as the second most common platform.
  • Youth aged 13 to 17 send more than 2,000 text messages each per month.
  • The nature of cyberbullying has evolved. In 2007, the most frequent online bullying experiences were youth getting called bad names and being threatened. In 2011, young people experienced the sharing of unwanted photos, videos and altered images.
  • The majority of youth (65 per cent) say that they would tell a friend over a parent if they were being cyberbullied. They don't feel that reporting cyberbullying to authorities is effective.
  • Cyberbullying can have a range of psychological effects on a victim, including anxiety, poor concentration and feelings of hopelessness. Perpetrators can also experience the impact of their actions and may be at risk of relationship problems, substance abuse or delinquency.
  • Both cyberbullying victims and perpetrators are twice as likely as their peers to attempt suicide.
  • Approximately 15 to 35 per cent of youth confront their cyberbullies and ask them to stop.
  • Only around 40 per cent of victims of cyberbullying know their perpetrator.
  • Around 85 per cent of those cyberbullied at home are also bullied at school.
  • More than 66 per cent of ninth graders in Canada have access to the Internet from their own bedrooms.
  • Less than one in five cyberbullying incidents are reported to police.
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