Social Media Cyberbullying: Everything You Need To Know

Cyberbullying has been around for some time, you wouldn’t know this because it wasn’t as common as it is now. The current rate of cyberbullying in today’s society is because of the high amount of users on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. We have identified these platforms to be the most common vehicles used by cyberbullies to bully their victims.

What is Cyberbullying?

We refer to bullying that takes place online as cyberbullying. It can happen on social media, messaging apps, gaming apps, and mobile phones. It is a pattern of behavior intended to scare, anger, or shame those who are being targeted.

Sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else is considered cyberbullying. It can include sharing embarrassing or humiliating personal or private information about another person. Some forms of cyberbullying are illegal or criminal.

Strangers and acquaintances frequently viewed individuals’ comments, photos, posts, and content shared on social media and digital forums. An individual’s online content, both personal and any negative, mean, or hurtful content, creates a kind of permanent public record of their beliefs, activities, and behavior.

We can think of this public record as an online reputation that schools, employers, colleges, clubs, and others who are currently or in the future conducting research on an individual can access. Cyberbullying can damage the online reputations of everyone involved, not just the person who is being bullied, but also those who are doing or taking part in the bullying.

Different Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can occur in different forms depending on the platform used. The most common platforms used for Social media cyberbullying are those that center on sharing photos of oneself like Instagram.

social media cyberbullying


The United States defines cyberstalking as the use of the internet and other technologies to harass or stalk another person online. This type of online harassment, which is a combination of cyberbullying and in-person stalking, can take the form of e-mails, text messages, social media posts, and other forms of communication, and is often methodical, deliberate, and persistent.


Trolling is the deliberate act of provoking a response on online forums and social networking sites by using insults, controversial statements, and off-topic messages.

The troll will attack and kill your child. Their main goal is to make them angry enough that they will act similarly. Trolls are always on the lookout for a good argument. They are usually looking for ways to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad.

Hate Speech

This entails the bully repeatedly sending offensive and malicious messages to an individual or group. The messages are malicious, and they will frequently harm the child. This can affect their self-esteem, confidence, and fear of going to school. Cyberstalking is a type of harassment that entails receiving threatening and rude messages regularly. In the real world, this can lead to physical harassment.


Masquerading occurs when a bully creates a false identity to harass someone secretly. The bully can impersonate someone else to send malicious messages to the victim besides creating a false identity. This can also be catfishing, in which people create profiles to entice strangers into relationships. Someone frequently does this for their amusement, profit, or to humiliate the person.


When a bully distributes personal information, this is known as an outing. This can be as pictures, videos, or text, and they share it without permission with the public. When a person’s information is widely disseminated on the internet, he is “outed.” “Sexting” and revenge porn are examples of this. As the number of social messaging apps that don’t require identification grows, image-based abuse is becoming more common. Children commit sexual offenses and break the law when they accept, create, or spread explicit images of their peers.


Exclusion is when someone is intentionally left out of an online group or conversation. This can be extremely distressing for the child, who will then feel rejected. Exclusion is a highly effective cyberbullying tactic that sends a provocative message to the target child with no actual verbal abuse. Determining who is a member of the peer group and who is not can devastate the target child because well-known children and teens are developmentally fixated on being recognized by their peers.

E-mail Threats

E-mail Threats and Dissemination is a cyberbullying tactic that involves instilling fear in the target child and then informing other peers of the alleged threat. The cyberbully sends a threatening e-mail to the target child, and then forwards or copies and pastes the threatening message to others who are potentially threatened.


Denigration is a term used to describe when cyberbullies send, post, or publish cruel rumors, gossip, and false statements about a target child to intentionally harm their reputation or friendships. This cyberbullying tactic, also known as “dissing,” is a common element and is later found in most of the cyberbullying tactics listed.

Images and Videos

Using images and video recording, as briefly described in Happy Slapping, has become a growing concern that many communities, law enforcement agencies, and schools are taking seriously. Photographs and videos of unsuspecting victims or the target child, taken in bathrooms, locker rooms, or other compromising situations, are being distributed electronically, thanks in part to the prevalence and accessibility of camera cell phones. We emailed some images and videos to colleagues, while we post others on video sharing sites.

Why people cyberbully

People who choose to bully others and those who are unlucky targets have always existed. But what drives someone to not only choose to bully another person online, but to do so in such a persistent and cruel manner?

One theory is that cyberbullies have trouble empathizing with others. Increased use of technology and less real-world social interaction have both been linked to low empathy. However, cyberbullying is a multifaceted problem.

Cyberbullying also gives bullies a sense of power. A cyberbully can easily and effortlessly unleash a torrent of torment, all from the safety and comfort of their own home, with little fear of repercussions. Another factor is a lack of parental supervision, as well as a desire to gain popularity through acts that they believe will appeal to their peers and associates.

Cyberbullies, for whatever reason, sometimes face their dark futures. Bullying kids are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, fight and commit crimes, drop out of school, and abuse their romantic partners and/or children, according to studies.

According to the report, cyberbullying is seven times more common among teens who have known each other than among those who have never met or dated. This is frequently the result of a simple argument that escalates. Maybe one person has a secret about the other that they want to share. It could also be a case of vengeance for a perceived transgression committed by the bully. Another factor is envy, as well as a desire to improve their social standing.

Girls are twice as likely as boys to be victims of cyberbullying in many of these cases. Because the bully and the victim were once friends, the effects of cyberbullying are often much more severe.

Effects of Social media Cyberbullying

Children can communicate and express their creativity, connect with peers, and share their feelings using digital media and apps. They can, however, be used as a vehicle for cyberbullying. There are a variety of free apps and websites that allow users to search for people and anonymously share or post information about them.

The effects of cyberbullying are devastating. The changes may not be obvious at first, but over time, you may notice one or more of the behavioral changes listed below, which can be strong indicators of cyberbullying.


A study conducted by the national institutes of health measured the level of depression among different bully-victims. It observed that adolescents who were bullies, bully victims, or victims scored higher on depression measures than students who were not involved with bullying. Students who were frequently involved in physical, verbal, and relational bullying, whether as victims or perpetrators, reported higher levels of depression than students who were only involved in these behaviors on rare occasions.

There were no differences in depression scores between bullies, victims, or bully victims with physical violence. Victims and bully victims of verbal and relational bullying reported higher levels of depression than bullies.

However, with cyberbullying, frequent victims reported significantly higher levels of depression than frequent bullies and marginally higher levels of depression than frequent bully victims. The finding that cyberbully victims had higher depression scores than traditional victims was unique among forms of bullying and warranted further investigation.

Sucide from cyberbullying


Many studies link suicide to cyberbullying. A review of multiple studies reveals that cyberbullying has a negative influence on the mental health of the victim and may prompt the individual to have suicidal thoughts. The meta-analysis of twenty-one studies having 116, 616 participants in total made some bone-chilling discoveries. The studies examined the impact of cyber victimization and suicidal behaviors in 32 articles. Only five of the papers showed no correlation between cyberbullying and suicidal behaviors. It concluded that people who had been victims of cyberbullying are at least 2.36 times more likely to show suicidal behaviors.

Another meta-analysis was done on 12 studies with 85, 541 participants to establish a link between cyberbullying and suicide attempts. People who are victims are also more likely to attempt suicide. Another important revelation made by the study is that – compared to traditional bullying, cyberbullying was easier to carry out. Of course, unlike in a traditional setting perpetrators would have to take a risk of getting a harsh backlash from the victim and society, whilst on social media, the cyberbully would be anonymous.

Low self-esteem

Cyberbullying hurts victims’ self-esteem. People who have been abused online may develop self-consciousness and low self-esteem. This is true when the harassment is directed at their physical appearance.

Teenagers and young adults who have been “trolled” for their looks may develop a dislike for their bodies. As a result, these people will perceive themselves as less appealing to others. They may become embarrassed to appear in public or socialize with others.

Both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying have significantly lower self-esteem than the average person. This shows that cyberbullying has both positive and negative consequences. Because the feel-good factor is fleeting, cyberbullying benefits no one in the long run.

School phobia

Cyberbullying’s effects can often be seen in all aspects of a person’s life. We can see this in the grades of students. Cyberbullies and their victims frequently struggle academically.

We attribute this to a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities. People who are being cyberbullied may stop reading. Others may put little effort into their studies, putting themselves at risk for academic failure.

Social anxiety

These behaviors can have long-term consequences, affecting how people see themselves and interact with others long after cyberbullying has stopped. Because of our increased emotional vulnerability during adolescence, these formative experiences have the potential to create the blueprint that will shape your understanding of yourself and the world for years to come. Cyberbullying can rob you of your self-worth and security, making you fearful of others and hesitant to engage in social situations both online and in person.

Cyberbullying on social media platforms

social media cyberbullying

We can find cyberbullying on almost every social media platform. With 2.8 billion active users, Facebook was unsurprisingly the most popular social media platform used by bullies in the past (though many teens are gravitating toward other platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, these days).

These social media platforms’ age restrictions are rarely enforced. Many argue that young children are not socially or emotionally mature enough to understand the implications of what they post online or send to others via private messenger, but many parents disagree.


TikTok, a popular video-sharing platform that has exploded in popularity in recent years, is no exception to cyberbullying. Many people have positive TikTok experiences, and they use the platform to express themselves, provide social support, and engage in other positive behaviors like discussing current political issues or connecting with physically distant friends and family. They frequently fill TikTok videos with offensive and hostile comments.

The duet feature on TikTok, which allows users to make video responses that are displayed alongside another user’s video, can harass people. Creators have reported receiving “hate duets” in response to violent or sexual harassment videos. Because of the limited reporting criteria available, this type of harassment can be difficult to report. Although video creators have the option to disable the duet feature, many do so because it reduces opportunities for positive interactions, which are necessary for videos to gain popularity on the site.


social media cyberbullying

We define bullying that occurs on the social networking site Facebook as Facebook bullying or social media bullying. Physical, verbal, and relational bullying are the three types of bullying. Bullying on Facebook can take the form of verbal (written) bullying, relational bullying, or a combination of the two.

Did you know that 87 percent of reported cases of cyberbullying took place on Facebook? As a result, most cyberbullying occurs on Facebook. Unfortunately, only 37% of cyberbullying victims ever reported the incident to the social network where it occurred.


In comparison, only 20% of teenagers say they’ve been bullied on Twitter (a well-known microblogging and social networking website). 19-year-old males were the group most likely to be bullied on Facebook. As a result, for many young people, bullying does not end when they finish high school.


In most demographics, video-sharing sites like YouTube beat out the competition, but Instagram is the most popular social media site for teenagers. Preteens and teenagers, unfortunately, are the most common victims of cyberbullying. This turns keeping in touch with friends and fellow students, as well as meeting new people who share common interests, into a minefield of potentially serious issues. Because fewer parents are using the same platform, they are less likely to notice inappropriate behavior. This makes it more difficult for them to detect signs of cyberbullying and provide solutions and guidance.

Instagram is the most popular social media app among teenagers. While Millennials used Facebook to navigate high school and college, connect with friends, and express themselves online, Gen Z uses Instagram almost only. According to a Pew Research Center study, 72 percent of teenagers use the platform, which now has over 1 billion monthly users. Instagram allows teenagers to chat with friends, meet new people, keep in touch with camp or sports friends, and bond by sharing photos and having discussions.

Historically, teenagers have been cruel to one another. However, Instagram offers a unique set of tools. Because of the speed and scale of the distribution mechanism, offensive comments or harassing images can go viral in hours. Instagram, like Twitter, makes it simple to create new, anonymous profiles that can be used solely for trolling. Many of the app’s interactions are hidden from the prying eyes of parents and teachers, many of whom are unfamiliar with the platform’s complexities.

Is Cyberbullying a cybercrime?

Cyberbully Is A Crime

Although technology has revolutionized how we do things, some things will never change. The internet has proven to be a fantastic communication tool for people looking to connect with others who share their interests. Users who previously felt alone or unheard find solace in an online community they would never have met in their communities.

Bullying laws differ from one state to the next. Most counties require schools to adopt anti-bullying policies that include cyberbullying at the very least.

However, the distance a school must travel varies by state. In some districts, schools have the authority to intervene to stop bullying, whether it occurs online or in the schoolyard. Other districts may only intervene if the problem is “on-campus.”

What to do when experiencing cyberbullying?

You may feel helpless if you are cyberbullied, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and seek help. The most important thing to do as soon as you realize there is a problem is to talk to an adult you trust.

Stop Bulling

If you can ignore

Keep a written record of any bullying messages you receive. It may be easier to verify what happened and who the bully was if you can show an adult either the messages themselves or a diary of when you received them.

Get evidence

Keep a written record of any bullying messages you receive. It may be easier to verify what happened and who the bully was if you can show an adult either the messages themselves or a diary of when you received them.

Seek help

Our parents, favorite teachers, school administrators, counselors, and even police officers can address cyberbullying. These trusted adults can enlist the help of your state laws or school policies to help you avoid cyberbullying. When you’re upset by hurtful comments, it can also be beneficial to talk to friends or a counselor for support. When you are the victim of bullying, there is no reason to suffer alone.

Block or cut off the bully

When possible, victims should stop communicating with the bully, according to the National Crime Prevention Council. You might block their phone number so that you don’t get calls or texts from them. If that isn’t possible, change your phone number. You can block other users on Facebook and instant messenger services so they can’t interact with you. If you can’t block a cyberbully, you can always screen their calls and delete their messages without opening them.

Report the Bully’s account

If you’re being bullied on a website, the bully is probably breaking the website’s terms of service. Bullies who are reported to the website administrator may be banned from the site.

Don’t believe the bully

Don’t allow bullies to destroy your self-esteem. Nobody deserves to be harassed. Cyberbullies’ cowardly and destructive behavior is frequently more about them than it is about you. When bullying brings you down, talk to someone you can trust who can help you get back on your feet.

Bottom Line

Social media cyberbullying is another form of cyberbullying that has become more rampant than ever. Teenagers use social media platforms the most, hence, they are more likely to experience cyberbullying. Social media platforms have a higher rate of social media bullying victims than others like traditional bullying. Because it is easier to be verbally abusive online, people exploit the anonymity that social media provides.