My Child Is Being Cyberbullied

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A child who is being cyberbullied is often struggling with persistent exposure to their abuser, wherever they go. In this article we reflect upon different ways online bullying can present itself, and any indications of whether your child might be experiencing it.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is any bullying behaviour that takes place virtually. It can be harassment or humiliation over text, social media or any type of technology from one person to another.

Is Cyberbullying Different from Offline Bullying

Cyberbullying is often linked to traditional bullying (e.g. bullying at school). In fact, studies have reported that it is relatively rare that a child experiences cyberbullying only. Some experts suggest that cyberbullying is an extension of offline bullying.

This indicates that children who are being cyberbullied might be in a particularly tough situation. They are likely to be targeted anywhere and anytime – at school and at home. It becomes very hard for them to escape the attacks.

Other factors that distinguish cyberbullying from offline bullying are:

  • Potential for a wider audience
  • Traces might stay online for a long time
  • Perpetrators can hide their identity

A Vicious Cycle: Another important characteristic of cyberbullying is that it is not uncommon for victims to become cyberbullies themselves.

Check Out This Video

Learn more about cyberbullying and its complex dynamics in today's digital world.

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Common Techniques


Posting provoking and insulting comments on social media posts, in discussion forums or on gaming platforms. Trolls can be complete strangers to their victims. Their goal is to trigger responses from other users to stir up arguments.


Continuously sending hurtful, threatening and abusive messages to a victim - can be classed as a criminal offence.


Distributing someone else’s personal details without their consent.


Making persistent effort to gain contact to a victim, often on the basis of intense feelings.


Spreading false information about someone with the intention to damage their reputation.

Revenge Porn

Publishing sexually explicit content of the victim on the internet. This kind of revenge might be pursued by an ex-partner after a breakup.


Creating a false profile on the internet to lure someone into a relationship.


Signs that my Child Could Be a Victim

As mentioned, cyberbullying can be an extension of traditional bullying. If you are worried that your child might be a cyberbullying victim, it can be helpful to observe both their online and offline behaviours.

Please note, the list below is only for guidance purposes, each child reacts to bullying in a different way. Some signs might also point at other mental health problems.


  • Doesn’t want to go to school
  • Unwilling to share information
  • Feeling sick of faking illness
  • Distressed on the nights before a school day
  • Becomes sad or angry
  • Appetite or sleeping problems
  • Poor grades at school


  • Becomes obsessed with being online
  • Suddenly stops using their device
  • Seems nervous when using their device
  • Jumpy when receiving notifications
  • Never leaves their device unattended
  • Unwilling to talk about their online life

Steps You Can Take

Talk About It

Find a good moment to tell your child that you are worried. Explain to them what bullying is and ask if anything like this is happening to them. They might be reluctant to talk to you at first, so let them know that they can talk to you if anything happens.

Share Help Contacts

If your child doesn’t want to talk to you, let them know that they can have a chat with another trusted adult, a teacher or that they can reach out to a Childline counsellor anytime.

Reassure Them

Tell your child that they can come to you if anything happens. Let them know that you won’t take away their phone, even if they admit that they are being bullied. They might refuse to tell you about what’s going on if they think that you might stop them from going online.

Child Disclosed Being Bullied

The cyberbullying is likely to be connected to someone from the child’s offline world. If that is the case, it is important to take action both in their online and offline worlds.

  1. Keep Calm – Don’t Retaliate
  2. It’s understandable if you feel angry or upset yourself. You might experience an urge to respond to the bullies or to reach out to their parents. But it’s important not to retaliate. Your child will also feel an array of emotions, so it’s important for you to keep calm.

  3. Allow Them To Stay Online
  4. Taking away a child’s phone can make them feel more isolated and nervous about what’s happening online.

  5. Give Them a Choice
  6. Tell your child what you are planning to do to tackle the bullying. Give them options and identify skills they may have to help solve the problems – such as collecting evidence, blocking bullies or talking to a teacher. This will help them feel they are regaining control.

  7. Collect Evidence
  8. Most importantly, help your child take screenshots of the cyberbullying. Note down what happened, names, dates, etc. Ask your child what they have already tried to do to stop it.

  9. Report & Block
  10. Help your child report the bullying content and block the predators on the respective websites/apps or gaming platforms.

  11. Get Help
  12. If the bully is another student from your child’s school, you should get in touch with the class teacher. Schools are required to take appropriate measures to tackle bullying. You can ask for a copy of their anti-bullying policy.

While cyberbullying in itself is not considered a crime in the UK, in particularly severe cases (harassment, threats or abuse of sexual nature) the police might be also contacted for help. A GP or child counsellor can help if you are concerned about your child’s mental wellbeing.

Check Out This Video

Consider a few tips on what to avoid when protecting your child against bullying.

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Here are links that provide useful information on spotting the signs of bullying:

Relevant Contacts

If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, contact the NSPCC helpline to speak to one of their counsellors. Call 0808 800 5000, email or fill in their online form.