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What is online bullying?

Online bullying (often referred to as cyberbullying) is any form of bullying that is carried out through the use of electronic media devices, such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, or gaming consoles

cartoon girl on computer


What makes online bullying different?

We know there is a strong link between online bullying and face to face bullying. Research has shown (please see Focus On briefing in the Tools and Research section below) that 80% of victims of online bullying were also bullied face to face.

Bullying is far more wide spread now it is online - it’s not just your time in school. It affects your social life. Your social life is online. How many people like your status or your picture. Social pressures are just made worse.

There are some things that make online bullying different to 'traditional' bullying:

  • 24-7 nature - the nature of online activity means you can be in contact at any time.
  • There is the potential for a wider audience and bullying incidents can stay online, for example: a photo that you can't remove
  • Evidence - a lot of online bullying incidents allow those experiencing it to keep evidence - for example, take a screen shot - to show to school staff or police if needed.
  • Potential to hide your identity - it is possible to hide your identity online which can make online bullying incidents very scary
  • Degree of separation - people who cyberbully often don't see the reaction of those experiencing it so it can sometimes be harder for them to see the impact of their actions

Prevalance of online bullying

There are many statistics relating to levels of online bullying. In the briefing in the Tools and Research section you will see our Focus On briefing which outlines current research on bullying including (please see briefing for references):

  • 24% of children and young people will experience some form of online bullying
  • 17% of children and young people will online bully others
  • Name calling is the most common type of online bullying

photo of phone


ABA is signed up to 5Rights. 5Rights provides a framework of five simple principles for how we should engage with children and young people (under 18s) in the digital world. Supported by a broad coalition of partners representing both adults and young people, 5Rights puts young people’s needs at the centre of how everyone can behave when they design, deliver and consume digital content and services.

The 5Rights framework contains five simple principles:

  1. The right to remove.
  2. The right to know.
  3. The right to safety and support.
  4. The right to make informed and conscious choices.
  5. The right to digital literacy
17 Apr 2017

ABA Tools and Research