Cyberbullying: The Rise of the Invisible Bully

By September 30, 2020 Blog

October is National Bully Prevention Month, and this month we want to touch on Cyberbullying and its severe effects. Cyberbullying is bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms, and mobile phones. It is repeated behavior, aimed at scaring, angering, or shaming those who are targeted. 

Examples include:

  • spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos of someone on social media

  • sending hurtful messages or threats via messaging platforms

  • impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf.

Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying can often happen alongside each other. But cyberbullying leaves a digital footprint – a record that can prove useful and provide evidence to help stop the abuse. (

Being bullied can leave scholars feeling humiliated, isolated, depressed, ashamed, or even suicidal. Scholars’ mental and physical health can suffer, and there can be a greater risk of developing mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. Scholars who are bullied are also more likely to miss or drop out of school. Cyberbullying can become more harmful than face-to-face bullying because it can happen at any time, in locations where a scholar typically feels safe, like at home. It can feel like there is no escaping the taunting and humiliation.

Cyberbullying is often done anonymously, and because cyberbullies can’t see your reaction, they will often go much further in their harassment than they would if they were face-to-face. Thousands of people can also witness cyberbullying. Emails can be forwarded to many; people can comment on photos and posts in a mean and demeaning manner. They can torment a victim 24 hours a day, and with a few clicks, the humiliation can be witnessed by hundreds or thousands of people.

What are some of the warning signs that your scholar may be experiencing cyberbullying:

  • They are using their device much more or less frequently than previously

  • They appear more anxious than usual when on their phone or computer

  • They hide their phone or devices from you

  • Their social media accounts are suddenly shut down, or new ones are opened

  • They may withdraw from friends, family, or activities that they typically enjoy

  • Their grades are suffering

  • They change in mood, appetite, behavior, or become depressed or withdrawn. 

  • They become irritable or distressed after being online.

If you think that your scholar is a victim of cyberbullying: 

  • First Notice – Pay attention to the signs above and prepare to discuss them with your scholar.

  • Talk to them – Find out how it started, what is happening, and who is involved. 

  • Keep Documentation – Keep a record and take screenshots, if possible. Most laws and policies note that bullying is a repeated behavior, so keep records to document it.

  • Report –  If a classmate is cyberbullying, report it to school. You can also contact social media platforms (details in resources below), report illegal behavior, and report it to the police.

  • Support them– Parents, teachers, counselors, mentors, and trusted adults can sometimes intervene positively to influence and redirect a harmful situation. They can also reach out to the scholar who is doing the actual bullying and work with them. And they can determine if a more serious intervention is necessary. 

 Being online is a massive part of our modern culture. It is critical to teach your scholar how to create a healthy space and keep themselves safe. 

Tips for dealing with a scholar being cyberbullied: 

You do not want to punish them, but it is necessary to limit access while your scholar recovers. It is also critical to monitor their technology in the future, no matter how much they resent it.

 Use parental control apps on your scholar’s devices, set up filters, and block inappropriate web content.

 Insist on knowing your scholar’s passwords and keep updated on what is popular with kids online, in social media, and text messages.

 Know who your scholar communicates with online. Go over their contact lists and ask how they know each person.

Encourage your scholar to share when they feel threatened or targeted by cyberbullies, assure them that they will not lose privileges, but how serious the situation can become.

Learn about your scholar’s life. Talk to your scholar about what they are going through. The more you understand their experiences, the easier it is to detect a problem before it gets out of hand.

Educate your scholar about bullying. Share with your scholar the repercussions and harm that bullying causes and how one mean comment can alter a life.

Manage stress. Monitor your scholar’s environment and what is going on that could be causing them stress or harm. Share ways to manage their stress through meditation, exercise, discussing it, and more.

 Cyberbullying and bullying, in general, are severally detrimental to our culture as a whole. Our responsibility as parents, teachers, and counselors is to change the direction of this behavior and teach our scholars what a difference their words and actions make in shaping the world. 

 Below are some valuable resources to help deal with cyberbullying.


Guide to deal with bullying
Community Standards
Help Center

Parent’s Guide and the central hub where you can learn about our safety tools
Community Guidelines
Help Center
Moderate comments on your posts

Help Center
Bystander reporting – To report on behalf of another person.
Enforcement actions 
Mute – Removing an account’s Tweets from your timeline without unfollowing or blocking that account.
Block – Restricting specific accounts from contacting you, seeing your Tweets, and following you.
Report – Filing a report about abusive behavior.

Dealing with Bullying – Help for dealing with bullies and bullying. (TeensHealth)
It Gets Better – Videos for LGBT kids and teens. (It Gets Better Project)
Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers – Building resilience in children. (APA)

Bullying helplines:
Child Helpline International
Help for gay and lesbian youths being bullied:
1-866-488-7386 – The Trevor Project
If bullying or cyberbullying leads to you, or someone you know, feeling suicidal, please call 1-800-273-8255, or visit IASP or

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