Internet Safety for Kids: Cyberbullying and Cyberharassment

Lesson 3: Cyberbullying and Cyberharassment


Cyberbullying and cyberharassment

intro illustration of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs online, often through instant messaging, text messages, emails, and social networks. Cyberbullies may be the same age as the victims, or they may be older. If the perpetrator is an adult, it is generally called cyber-stalking or cyberharassment.

Cyberbullying can be just as hurtful as other types of bullying, and in some ways it can actually be worse. Cyberbullying is not limited to the playground; it can occur anytime children are online, even if they're at home. Also, the bully can sometimes remain anonymous, which can make the bullying more difficult to stop.

Examples of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can take many forms. Below are some examples of things that can be considered cyberbullying:

  • Writing hurtful things through instant messaging, text messaging, or online games
  • Posting derogatory messages on social networking sites
  • Posting or sharing embarrassing photos or videos
  • Creating a fake profile in order to humiliate someone has general information on Internet safety. To learn more about cyberbullying, watch the video.

Responding to cyberbullying

It's important to teach your kids how to respond to cyberbullying. You can tell your kids to use the following guidelines if they're being bullied.

  • Don't reply to the bully. Bullies often want to get a reaction from their victims. If you ignore them, they may lose interest.
  • If possible, block messages from the bully. If the bullying is happening in chat, email, or on a social networking site, you can usually block all messages from the bully.
  • Keep all emails and other messages that the bully sends. You may need to use these as evidence at some point.
  • Report the bullying to a parent or trusted adult. If the bullying continues, tell a parent or trusted adult (such as a teacher) so they can help you deal with the problem.

Is your child a cyberbully?

illustration of a child being cyberbullied

Kids can be mean sometimes. Unfortunately, the Internet often makes it easier for people to say hurtful things because it's more impersonal and anonymous than real life. As a result, many kids participate in cyberbullying even though they don't consider themselves bullies.

It's important for your children to understand that the comments they make online can hurt just as much as those made face to face. Make sure they know not to say anything online that they wouldn't say in person.

It's also possible for kids to face serious consequences for cyberbullying. Many schools now have zero-tolerance policies for bullying, which may include cyberbullying that occurs outside of school. In some cases, students have even been suspended from school for cyberbullying.

For more information, read the article Could Your Child Be a Cyber-Bully?.


The following resources have great information on cyberbullying, including helpful activities for kids and teens:

  • This site was created by the people at and has information geared toward children ages 7 to 17.
  • Cyberbullying - How to UnMake a Bully, Part 1 and Part 2: Created by middle and high school students, this video series uses a spy movie theme to show how to fight cyberbullying.
  • This site has resources for kids and teens, including strategies for talking to parents about cyberbullying.
  • Common Sense Media: This site offers detailed advice for working with kids ages 2 to 17.
  • KidsHealth: This site has an article that gives a good overview of cyberbullying.