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Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that uses the internet, texting or social media. Learn about what cyberbullying looks like and what you can do if your child is being cyberbullied.

Key points

  • Cyberbullying uses the internet, texting, or social media to bully others.
  • Cyberbullying can include sending threatening messages, sharing personal information or images without permission, and posting rumours or mean messages online.
  • Keep your child safe online by teaching them not to share passwords, personal information or nude or sensitive photos.
  • If your child has been threatened or a crime has been committed, call the police.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of the internet, texting, or social media to intimidate, spread rumours, put down or make fun of someone. Cyberbullying can include:

  • Sending someone threatening messages
  • Posting or sharing personal information without permission
  • Taking a photo of someone or sharing photos of a person without their permission
  • Posting gossip or mean messages on social media
  • Hacking into someone’s email or social media and sending messages as that person
  • Creating a website or social media account to make fun of someone
  • Creating a fake social media account pretending to be someone else and making fun of them
  • Leaving people out of instant messaging or email contact lists on purpose

Cyberbullying does not stop at school; it can reach children and teenagers 24 hours a day, at home, on the weekends, and on vacation.

Because it is easy to create anonymous or fake accounts online, your child may not even know who’s cyberbullying them.


How can I keep my child safe online?

It is important to teach your child about online safety and treating people respectfully, even online. Consider talking to your child about the following points to keep them safe online:

  • Treat people online the way you would treat them in person. If you would not say something directly to someone’s face, do not leave it as a comment on their social media or text it to them. Always think about whether the content is hurtful or damaging before sending an email, message or photo.
  • Don’t share passwords with anyone other than a trusted adult (e.g., parents or a caregiver).
  • Don’t share your own personal information or anyone else’s online.
  • Never send nude photos of yourself or anyone else to anyone. If your child or the person in the photos are under the age of 18, your child could be charged with distributing child pornography.
  • If your child is being cyberbullied, have them make a copy of the message before they delete it (e.g., take a screenshot). Harassment or inappropriate messages can be reported on most social media sites and apps. Most social media sites, internet providers and cell phone service providers have policies against cyberbullying and may be able to do something about it if you report the abuse.
  • Block any users on social media or phone numbers on their phone who are sending bullying or harassing messages.
  • Call the police if your child has been threatened or if a crime has been committed.

For information on how to help your child if they are being bullied, or what to do if your child is a bully, please see the article "Bullying".

Last updated: May 3rd 2023