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Get Clear on Cyberbullying

It may happen in the virtual space, but cyberbullying is a very real issue – as are the effects.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying happens when one person or several people use a device such as a phone, computer or console to threaten, tease or humiliate someone else. It can take place on social networks, within emails or gaming – or any other digital technology.

Why does it happen?

There are all kinds of reasons why people bully. Often, they’re going through a tough time themselves. The digital world makes bullying even easier to commit. Because, when you’re behind a screen, you feel anonymous – and at a safe distance from reality. This allows people do and say things they probably wouldn’t face to face. And it protects them from the impact of their behaviour – the hurt and damage they’re causing to other people.

How does it feel?

Cyberbullying can have a devastating effect on its victims. Being bullied can cause all sorts of emotions. From feeling lonely, frightened, sad and anxious, to feeling angry, confused or worthless. Because cyberbullying can happen on across every device – your phone, tablet or computer – it can invade your every moment. Even when you’re in a safe place like your bedroom.

What are the effects?

Being bullied can cause people to do things they wouldn't normally do such as running away or hurting themselves, because they believe this is their only way out of the situation. There is the obvious impact on a young person’s education, due to reduced school attendance and attainment. But there is also a more hidden yet fundamental impact on mental health and wellbeing. And this can result in devastating implications for the victims of cyberbullying and those around them.

Cyberbullying can lead to:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide

Vital statics everyone needs to know:

  • 1 in 4 pupils have been bullied online
  • More than 1 in 3 have witnessed bullying online
  • 1 in 5 teenagers in England have experienced cyberbullying in the last two months (reference
  • Children who have been cyberbullied are more likely to be depressed, anxious and lonely (reference
  • Girls (36.3%) are more likely to experience cyberbullying than boys (30.7%)
    (Source: Cyberbullying Research Center)
  • 71% of Millennials and Gen Z’ers are concerned about the impacts of cyberbullying (Source: ReportLinker)
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of those who are cyberbullied said they have had their private information shared online (Source: DitchTheLabel)
  • Of those that have experienced cyberbullying, 24% had suicidal thoughts (Source: DitchTheLabel)
  • Over half (55.2%) of LGBTQ students have experienced cyberbullying (Source:
  • One third of those in younger generations report having sent explicit messages or images (Source: ReportLinker)
  • At least one million children are harassed, threatened, or bullied on Facebook each year (Source: NVEEE)