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Cyberbullying Definition: What is Cyber Bullying?

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Cyber Bullying

A new type of bullying, dubbed cyberbullying, is one of the latest internet-specific threats to receive media attention. I wish I could say it was no more than a fad – overblown beyond all proportion by the press. But the statistics suggest this problem is very real. A survey carried out by on a random sample of US teenagers showed that 21% of 12-18 year olds had experienced some form of cyber abuse in their lifetime, with 7.5% saying they had suffered internet harassment in the last 30 days, and that 7.2% had been threatened with violence.
So, what is CyberBullying? What makes electronic bullying different to other types of bullying, and what cyber bullying prevention advice is available that can help victims of electronic harassment?

What is cyberbullying? – the definition

With cyber bullying / electronic bullying / internet bullying being such a new phenomenon, the definition varies depending on who you ask. Largely, however, and for the purposes of this article, cyberbullying is when one or a group of adolescents deliberately use internet or mobile communication with the intent of inflicting harm on another.

Doesn't the definition of cyber-bullying extend to adults? Well, in legal terms, and in some journalism, the definition of electronic bullying is not age-specific and therefore does include adults. In general, though, when internet bullying is carried out by adults the more popular term is electronic harassment or cyber stalking.

The reason for distinguishing by age group is straightforward: in offering advice on how to prevent cyber bullying or internet stalking, it is instructive to deal separately with attacks committed by adolescents and attacks committed by adults. The psychology, objective and motivation of an adult cyber harasser are usually quite distinct from that of an adolescent internet bully: sexuality and pathology in particular,play a much greater role in adults victimization of others.

If you are seeking advice on protection from adult cyberstalkers, you might find this article more relevant: Cyberstalking: Internet harassment protection measures.

Part II: Cyberbullying Protection strategies: What is cyberbullying to you the victim

Part III: Cyber bullying prevention: So, where should you turn? What should you do?

Written by: 
Robin Welles; expats team, internet security team