Cyber bullying, like bullying in schools or anywhere else, is something that can cause great upset to those who are targeted by it.
Research suggests that one in five teenagers have been a victim of this form of harassment, which is committed through mobile phones and computers. West Yorkshire Police has recently been raising awareness of cyber bullying during a national week dedicated to highlighting online crime. Texting, posting or emailing anything to deliberately cause offence is considered cyber bullying and police will investigate all reports they receive about this kind of behaviour, which, if deemed serious enough, could result in a prison sentence for the bully.
Some examples of cyber bullying:
- Posting an embarrassing or humiliating video of someone on a video-hosting site such as YouTube.
- Harassing someone by repeatedly sending texts or instant messages in a chat room.
- Setting up profiles on social networking sites, such as Facebook, to make fun of someone.
- ‘Happy slapping’ – using mobiles to film and share videos of physical attacks.
- Posting or forwarding someone else’s personal or private information or images without their permission.
- Sending viruses that can damage another person’s computer.
- Making abusive comments about another user on a gaming site.
Victims are advised to take screen shots where possible and tell someone they trust. If it occurs on a social networking site or application, users are advised to report incidents to the site or application provider. Keep passwords private and, if you are unfortunate enough to become a victim of cyber bullying, use a blocking or delete function where possible to prevent further contact from this person. Even if you’re not the one who started it, you become part of it when you laugh at a message that could be hurtful or threatening to someone else, or forward it on. Don’t get dragged into cyberbullying. Think about what you say in text messages, chat rooms and emails. Could your words be used to hurt someone else, or could they be turned against you?
For more information about staying safe online, go to www.westyorkshire.police.uk/cse/onlineguides