It is no surprise that cyberbullying has become increasingly common as we spend more and more of our lives online. Indeed, what was once something that occurred on a playground or a place of employment is now online. In broad terms, it involves using the internet or mobile technology to intimidate, harass or cause harm to someone. Some laws clearly address traditional bullying, but definitions may not be so straightforward for this emerging issue.
Common unique qualities of cyberbullying
It causes trauma in the victim, but specific instances of cyberbullying will include one or more of these unique factors:
- It can occur at any hour of the day or night.
- The communication mediums include texts, messaging platforms, gaming, groups, Facebook, Snapchat, or TikTok.
- The messaging remains online, perhaps sent around again and again.
- Unlike a bruise, it may not seem obvious to others who do not use the platform or technology format.
It often involves the young
Bullying is most prevalent among school-age minors, where peers are deeply attuned to peer pressure. There are various reasons for this, including such common issues as low self-esteem among victims or the bully looking to overcompensate for their own insecurities. Unfortunately, it can involve particularly severe psychological trauma, prompting some victims to hurt themselves or commit suicide.
It takes many forms. These include:
- Posting mean or unflattering images
- Posting true or untrue rumors online
- Outing someone’s sexual orientation
- Using threatening language
- Pretending to be someone else
- Inducing people to share personal information
The courts may not be involved, but lawyers still should be
Parents of the victim or the perpetrators may find themselves going to court or dealing with school administrations or other governing bodies that oversee minors or young adults. Even when the courts are not involved, it is still smart to speak with an attorney to discuss the best possible options for successfully addressing the matter. These are serious matters with life-changing consequences, so it is best to get guidance before proceeding.