Here - Every Mind Matters
FOR NETIZENS OUT THERE
“In another moment down went Alice after it,
never once considering how in the world
she was to get out again”
-LEWIS CAROLL, ALICE IN WONDERLAND
“Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”
“Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.”
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Stand a little taller.
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone.
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter.
Footsteps even lighter."
A lot of people are afraid to tell the truth, to say no.
That’s where toughness comes into play.
Toughness is not being a bully. It’s having backbone.
INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................................................... 4
TYPES OF CYBERBULLYING & DIFFERENT
ACTORS INVOLVED ....................................................................................................................................5
REACTIONS TO CYBERBULLYING................................................................10
PREVENTION & SOLUTIONS..........................................................................................13
BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................................................................................................... 21
Bullying is an ancient and universal problem. It consists of an aggressive behaviour repeated over
time, usually conducted at school. The recent advances in technology have shifted face-to-face
bullying to technological interactions: the Internet has offered new tools that expand and amplify the
impact of bullying beyond anything that traditional school bullies could ever say or do offline. Bullying
is no longer limited to school hallways, but now enters the private sphere: the world can and is now
More than 1.5 billion people use the Internet every day and in consequence, abuse and bullying on
social media platforms such as Ask.fm, Facebook, Kik, Omegle and Instagram have become routine
nowadays Although billions of dollars are being spent worldwide to stop the negative online behaviour
this phenomena is provoking many cases of anxiety, depression, school and work problems, substance
abuse and, in worst cases, suicide.
Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to cyberbullying as they are not fully equipped
to deal with emotional and social impacts of a negative experience online. Adolescence is a crucial
time for the development of key areas of the brain, such as the parts which control decision making,
understanding others and self-awareness: before this development, children are usually less equipped
to deal with a difficult experience. That is the reason why our guide will focus on children and teens,
in England and America.
According to Pew Research Centre & American Life Project, two-thirds of teens who use social media
have witnessed online cruelty. Almost one in five teens who use social media admit they have
contributed to cyber abuse, and 95% of teens who use social media have witnessed others ignoring
We believe that the key to rescuing the Internet from negativity and reducing cyber abuse lies in
knowing what we, citizens of the Internet, are up against. People
need to understand the who, the why and the how. So you might
ask what does cyberbullying consist of and how can we stop this
widespread phenomenon? Well, my dear Netizen, continue
reading and it will all make sense…
TYPES OF CYBERBULLYING
DIFFERENT ACTORS INVOLVED
While researchers have worked for a couple of decades to define cyberbullying, we still have
difficulty in giving you one simple definition. We believe that there are 7 main types of cyberbullying
that have to be distinguished and defined in order to fully understand what this phenomenon is. Each
type of cyberbullying refers to a different practice though they all originate on social media platforms
such as Facebook, Twitter, Ask.fr, or Omegle. This classification was first issued by Nancy Willard,
American writer and researcher, in 2007.
● FLAMING is a violent and brief communication between several protagonists, the messages often
being insulting and vulgar. Instant Messaging and social media websites are the most popular
platforms for this type of cyberbullying.
● HARASSMENT is the repeated sending of offensive and violent messages. The difference
between flaming and harassment is the very repetitive character.
● DENIGRATION refers to all the rumours and gossip put online, as well as all the means used to
harm one’s reputation by denigrating or by messing up his or her relationships with his or her
● IMPERSONATION is usurping somebody’s identity in order to send or post mean or fake
messages under their name.
● OUTING or TRICKERY is when personal, intimate, or confidential information is made public.
It can be the disclosure of a secret or the communication of embarrassing documents. The most
common form of outing is when SEXTING -sending denuded or sexual pictures to another personis made public.
● EXCLUSION is a form of ostracism, when a person is intentionally excluded from a group on
social media, for example, or online games.
● CYBERSTALKING is when a cyberbully multiplies abusive messages or the broadcasting of
embarrassing picture, using all types of social media. They never give the victim a moment of rest.
Mostly, cyberstalking occurs following the end of a relationship. This classification will allow you to
know and understand the main menaces you could or may be confronted with.
We believe that it is also important to divide the bullies into different categories as it will allow us to
understand the reasons behind cyber abuse.
BECAUSE I CAN
The “Because I Can” bullies are the ones that you most probably have already met on the Internet.
They are decent people during the day but once they are alone in front of their computers, they change
radically: they do what they would never allow themselves to do in “real life”. The fact that they are
anonymous makes it possible for them to change their behaviour. Just like the Vengeful Angels, they
always act alone and anonymously. In most cases they do not know their victims, they are acting in
this way to relieve their emotions. For example, in the book Extreme Mean by Paula Todd, the author
mentions the story of a 52 year old named Jack, who felt angry about having been made redundant at
work, and who wrote hateful comments on the Internet as a way of “blowing off steam” and in order
to feel powerful.
In school, these individuals are already involved in school bullying. The advancement in technology
and communication have given them a way to extend their aggressions, started in school, to the private
sphere of the victim. In most cases, they do not act anonymously; their attacks are direct and brutal;
they rarely act alone. Nothing seems to distinguish them from classic school bullies except that they
use social media.
This type of cyberbullying is, in the majority, carried out by a group of girls. Gathered around a
technological device, the mean girls send cruel or mocking messages to their victim(s) or exchange
humiliating pictures of them. They can also spread rumours or confidential information about their
victim. Mean girls use cyberbullying as a way of entertaining themselves, or in order to gain
recognition from their audience. Today’s society has encouraged this type of cyberbullying as it puts
a certain pressure on us, especially girls, to compete with each other and to gain social status.
REVENGE OF NERDS
These individuals, at school, are themselves victims of bullying by their schoolmates. Once they are
in the comfort of their own home, they use their technological skills in order to avenge themselves.
They act anonymously or under a fake identity. Unlike the Power Hungries who act directly and
brutally, the Revenge of Nerds is done in an indirect way: they hack social media accounts, such as
Facebook, or steal passwords. Ask.fm provides an ideal platform for the revenge of nerds as it allows
one to be anonymous and to send messages or ask questions to a person more or less publicly. These
people are bullied at school and are themselves bullies in the virtual world. In 2004, Michele Ybarra
and Kimberly Mitchell, two American researchers, confirmed this hypothesis. According to their
research, 49% of cyberbullies have been victims of school bullying.
As well as having solid technological skills, just like the nerds, they are also motivated by a vengeful
spirit. However, Vengeful Angels consider themselves as the Robin Hood, or the Batman of the
Internet, as they think it is their duty to rectify wrongdoings by taking the law into their own hands.
They don’t hesitate to rescue others being bullied and in need of help by using their computer skills.
If they attack, it is only for a good cause. These individuals are, in most cases, boys who act alone and
in an anonymous manner. They don’t understand that you can’t fight cyberbullying with cyberbullying,
and are convinced of the legitimacy of their actions. In short, we are confronted with witnesses
becoming bullies of bullies in order to help the victims.
These individuals are bullies by inadvertence: they do not intend to harm and their action is not
repeated, they do not realise that what they do is hurtful. They accidentally send a message to a person
that should not have been the receiver.
Power Hungry and Mean Girls can appear like extensions of school bullying, whereas the other types
of cyberbullying cannot exist and develop without the cyberspace. The development of these types of
cyberbullying has been encouraged by the absence of confrontation, the immediacy of messages, the
possibility to act indirectly and anonymously, as well as the capability to act without consequences on
There are four types of witnesses.
Witnesses can either be at the side of the bully when they send a harmful message; or they can be with
the victim when the message is received; they can also be with neither one nor the other but observers
from a distance.
These witnesses are at the side of the bullies at the time of the incident, and they participate in the
bullying by supporting the intimidator and, often, by encouraging them.
They are at the side of the victim at the moment when the bullying happens, and they give them support
and reassurance. However, in most cyberbullying cases, victims are alone during the aggression.
Hurtful messages pop up when the victim is in vulnerable situations, often in the middle of the night.
These are the witnesses who are not with any of the protagonists during the cyberbullying but who
observe from a distance, without interfering. This category of individuals doesn’t necessarily directly
know the protagonists.
For example Facebook is composed of a multitude of people that don’t necessarily meet physically but
who, nevertheless, call each other friends. Every Facebook user- or even every Internet user-, by their
online connection, learns an enormous amount of information which can sometimes be confidential
and concerning people that they do not know. Social media platforms makes everyone of us into an
observer. For the victim, the sole presence of thousands of unknown observers constitutes a threat.
An adolescent photographed or filmed in an embarrassing, humiliating or indecent situation, and
whose picture or video is uploaded to Facebook, or any other social media platform, will feel shame
due to the amount of people who will have access to the post. An illustration of the shame felt by the
victim is the famous analysis by Jean-Paul Sartre in his book “Being and Nothingness”:
“I’ve just made an awkward or vulgar gesture: this gesture sticks to me, I neither judge nor blame
it, I simply live it [...]. But suddenly I look up: someone was here and saw me. I realise, suddenly,
the vulgarity of my gesture and I feel ashamed.”
Certain individuals won’t be able to cope with other people’s judgement.. Indeed, we know that most
of the cases which led to suicide occurred following the circulation of hurtful images or videos. Once
content is online and made public, it becomes very hard to have control over it and to remove it from
These individuals are not directly involved in the aggression, however, they participate in magnifying
and amplifying the phenomenon by helping in the diffusion of information or hurtful images. On
Facebook, they would contribute to the cyberbullying by “liking” a harmful status or picture posted
Jennifer Lawrence, famous actress from the movie Hunger Games, said, after hackers stole and posted
personal pictures of her online: “Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual
offense. You should cower with shame. Even people who I know and love say, ‘Oh, yeah, I looked at
the pictures.’ I don’t want to get mad, but at the same time I’m thinking, I didn’t tell you that you could
look at my naked body.”
REACTIONS TO CYBERBULLYING
Even though cyberbullying is done through the Internet, it has real life consequences. Cyberbullying
can make anyone who has been the victim feel unsafe, insecure, hopeless, defenceless, and lower their
self-esteem. The hurtful, spiteful messages or posts that bullies send can ruin a reputation and
relationships. Bullies may enjoy the attention they get from their friends when they bully. According
to Marlene Snyder, Development Director for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in Clemson,
South Carolina, “bullies have average or above average self-esteem”. However, people often bully in
order to increase their self-esteem, as they start to feel interesting and powerful when they hurt others.
Cyberbullying, as it has been noticed, is much more dangerous than the “classic” bullying. From
outsiders’ point of view, it is impossible to tell who is being cyberbullied because they won’t
necessarily tell anyone or show it, afraid of the consequences, such as shame, embarrassment,
mockery, or that it could worsen their situation. It is even harder to tell who the bully is, as, most of
the time, they act anonymously. That is the reason why cyber abuse is more dangerous than classic
The reactions vary, according to the bullied, they may go from hard feelings toward the bully to
devastating stories such as the one of Amanda Todd, who joined the tragic list of young people whose
suicide are blamed in part on cyberbullying, as she ended her life in October 2012, after having been
bullied because of a picture of sexual nature she sent that went viral. Sometimes the cyberbullying gets
so bad that the victims self-harm - when a person chooses to inflict pain on themselves by cutting or
burning themselves for example - in order to deal with their difficult emotions, or to release anger or
tension. It can also be used as a form of self-punishment for something that a person feels bad about
Occasionally, when a person is receiving an enormous amount of hateful comments, they start
believing what others are saying and self-harming is a way for a victim to internalize the insults that
they are receiving. Victims might also experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. However,
victims affected by cyberbullying rarely share their experiences. According to a survey done by the
NSPCC, only 20% spoke to someone face to face, 7% shared their concerns to someone online and
the others tried to deal with their problems alone. Victims can also be afraid of telling their parents
because they resent the consequences, such as their parents taking away their computers, mobile
phones or other electronic equipment, or even deleting their accounts. The teenagers believe that this
could in fact make the situation worse because the bullies would see this as them trying to escape the
problem and could be encouraged to pursue the bullying but in school, for example.
Did you know?
Amanda Todd told her heart-breaking
story on YouTube in a video entitle “My
Story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, selfharm” a few days before she committed
suicide, as a cry for help.
“Scary, frightening, intimidating.
I wished I was dead.” Girl, 12
“When it happens to you, it can
be hurtful – especially when you
like the person very much – I
have spoken to the person since
and he said he was only joking
and in a bad mood that day.”
❖ THE BULLY
Some may feel that cyberbullying other individuals will help them gain popularity or control over
others and therefore do it for power. Bullies also tend to hold a negative view of themselves, suggesting
they pick on others to feel better about themselves. They usually feel great satisfaction as they start to
bully. They receive great attention from those around them, who have participated or who know of
their actions. The screen behind which they cyberbully offers them a wider range of possibilities of
what they can do. However, after a while, bullies can start to feel regret at what they have done. They
may realize the consequences of their actions but it is often too late, the victim is usually already
belittled and feeling insecure.
Whether you are a parent concerned about your child, an educator
or just looking for ideas on how to prevent or deal with bullying,
the tips below will provide you with guidance.
How do you know if someone is being cyberbullied if they don’t
Here are a few of the common signs:
● they begin spending a significant less amount of time on their mobile device or computer, or, on
the contrary if they begin to spend much more time on the Internet than before.
● they appear upset or angry after receiving a message.
● they begin failing in their school work.
● they begin to avoid social situations they used to enjoy, or seem anxious about going to school.
Even though there are different types of cyberbullying, the solutions you will read about can be applied
to the different situations.
The best thing to do if your child comes to you and tells you they are being cyberbullied is to let them
talk about it. Hear them out, listen in a non-judgmental way. Parents need to be the one trusted person
kids can go to when things go wrong online, and offline.
Don’t try to solve the problem. Instead just ask your child questions such as
- how did it happen?
- how did that make you feel?
- how long has this been going on for?
As a parent, you should be careful, the questions mustn’t sound like an attack, you need to encourage
your child to talk, to open up.
Once you’ve got the whole story out, depending upon what’s happened, you can take your next step.
Encourage your child to block the bully from their social network, and to take a break from Internet
by, for example, going outdoors. However we believe that switching off and taking away the computer,
the phone, or the account is not going to solve the problem, it will probably aggravate it: when you
turn the device back on, the bullying is, in most cases, even worse. Moreover, many children will find
alternate ways to get back online. Durham University psychologist, Vicky Beeching, said during a
BBC interview on August 6th 2013, that “parents shouldn’t just tell their children to switch it off, if a
parent actually wants to fix this whole situation for their child, I think, get online, learn how to use
these [networks], learn the language, figure out how these networks actually work and then you can
actually converse with your child meaningfully.” Learn how various social networking websites work.
Become familiar with Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Ask your children if they will show you their
profile pages. Discuss the rules of online safety and build trust with them so that they know you are
here if they need to talk. You could also try to find out who the bully is, if it’s possible, and talk to
their parents, just like you would if your child was being bullied in the “real” world.
If the bullying persists after you have followed the previous tips, a solution could be to let your child’s
school know, so that the teachers can keep an eye out for any in-school bullying: if bullying is
happening online, it might be happening offline, too.
If you find out there has been threats or that the cyberbullying has escalated, you should immediately
report this to the police.
We believe that even if your child is not being cyberbullied, they should be aware of the dangers of
the Internet. Maybe talk to them, make them understand the power of words, to prevent from them
being cyberbullied or even the bully.
For more information you can visit: www.nspcc.org.uk (Heading “Preventing abuse”, “Online
❖ THE SCHOOLS
While most cyber abuse incidents occur at home, the problems sometime spills over to the classroom,
making cyberbullying an issue responsible adults can't ignore. Most schools in the United States of
America and the United Kingdom have recently started to implement anti-bullying policies, due to the
recent increase in the number of cases. However, schools these days are confronted with complex
questions on whether and how to deal with cyberbullying. If you are an educator, a teacher or a
principal, we recommend that in order to deal with cyberbullying you educate yourself, and be on the
lookout for signs that cyberbullying is taking place, because you may be the trusted adult a student
turns to for help. Online harassment may take place during the night and at home, but the consequences
are often seen at school and can interfere with the educational environment. In the worst case, students
are so worried about cyberbullying that they can't focus on their studies or are afraid to come to school.
It has become an education and safety issue.
In order to prevent or reduce cyberbullying, teachers should educate their students on how to use
Internet correctly, and on the impact their words can have on others. Letting kids know that you care
and are here to help, and not to judge, is also very important.
If you are a victim, or someone you know is a victim of cyberbullying, there are many websites and
associations that you can contact. The NSPCC, National Society for the Prevention of Child Cruelty,
developed a ChildLine that is open 24/7, that you can call. When you call, you get through to a trained
counsellor, this person is able to deal with any concern you may have regarding the Internet, bullying,
and online bullying, as well as any type of abuse: it is a line opened to any child who has any type of
question or problem. According to the NSPCC, the counsellor you will talk to will help you think up
a solution or find an adult in your proximity that you can talk to. You mustn't worry about getting into
trouble, your counsellor can also help you overcome any fear you may have regarding this aspect.
Everything you say stays confidential.
ChildLine also has a website, which you can go onto to share your experience, offer or get advice, and
give or receive words of encouragement. Children address messages on a forum and receive answers.
Talking to people who have had the same experience as you really helps. On this same website, you
can find a page on how to keep safe from cyber bullies and what to do when you are cyberbullied.
You can visit: www.childline.org.uk for more information and advice.
For those of you in America, ChildHelp is a similar organisation which you can contact if
The “To Write Love On Her Arms”, TWLOHA, website is also a website than can help teenagers
through difficult times in their lives. It is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to presenting hope
and finding help for people struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide. TWLOHA acts
to encourage, inspire, inform as well as invest in treatments and recoveries of people that suffer on a
daily basis. We believe that they can help with people being cyberbullied because, often, the victims
will distance themselves from people, school, and even their family. TWLOHA can help you regain
confidence and as they say “your best days are ahead”.
“You were created to love and be loved.
You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known.
You need to know your story is important, and you’re part of a bigger story.
You need to know your life matters.”
“To Write Love On Her Arms” – Jamie Tworkowski, TWLOHA founder
Whether you are the bully, the bullied, or an onlooker there are actions you can take to prevent this
Being the bully, the most important thing is to think before you act, take a minute to read the message
or post you’ve written before you actually send it or make it public. Trisha Prabhu, a 14 year-old
finalist of Google’s 15 Global Science Fair, suggested that if teens are forced to take a moment or
reflection before they post, tweet, or send an insulting or mean message, they won’t do it. After having
done some research, she noticed that the front part of our brain, where the decisions are made, isn’t
fully developed until the age of 25 years old. She then said that it is where the decision to post a
message that can have consequences or not, is made. This is why she created a system called Rethink
Before You Type.
Rethink is a pop-up window that comes up on your screen, when you type on social media, with the
following message: “This message may be hurtful to others. Are you sure you want to post this
message?” Prabhu wanted to give them the opportunity to “rethink” before the “damage is done”. After
having gotten 1 500 valid trials of data, she noticed that 93% of the time, when adolescents receive an
alert which warns them of the offensive message they’re about to post, they change their mind.
She is now working to get Rethink out for mobile and non-mobile platforms, she is fighting to reduce
cyberbullying around the world. She is currently working with Google to make Rethink accessible to
all in order to reduce cyberbullying in the world.
“Think before you type.
Rethink before you post.
Rethink before the damage is done.”
- Trisha Prabhu
As a victim there is not much you can do to prevent from cyberbullying, as bullies often choose their
victims and stick to that choice. However, you can inform yourself, be aware of who you are accepting
as a friend on Facebook, who you are allowing to see your posts, who you are sending messages to.
The most important is to not let yourself be exposed to situations that could lead to cyberbullying. Try
to have a private sphere and a public sphere, know what you should limit your posts and messages to.
Remember that once you share something on the Internet, there is no taking it back, someone will have
seen it, maybe saved it or taken a screenshot of it, and you want to avoid this happening.
“It made me feel angry when I was getting
these pictures and inboxes, but my mum and
dad helped me to block and report, and they
contacted the police. It has now been dealt
with.” Boy, 14
If it’s too late and you have or are being cyberbullying, don’t despair! There are a number of solutions
which will help you to fight it and to boost up your confidence.
As the victim, you often feel as if there is nothing you can do to stop the torment, especially when the
bullies are hidden behind a screen and possibly in groups. You may feel vulnerable since there is no
way to defend yourself when it comes to faceless, voiceless attackers.
You feel hopeless and frustrated as well as hurt and even unwanted and often avoid friends and
activities as you raise a barrier to the world around you. Revenge seeking and cyberbullying back your
attacker are also likely to come to mind. However, we believe that you should be the better person and
block the bully from your social network, don’t read their messages and delete them.
You should also talk to someone, or even report the problem on the Internet to a service provider or
website moderator, as it could help you to get things off your chest or even see your situation from a
different perspective. If talking is not your thing, then you could also try writing, drawing or painting
your emotions. Anything that lets you get the feelings down and away. Try and focus on the good stuff.
Notice when someone gives you a compliment, Do things you enjoy doing. Go out. Listen to music
you like. Try setting yourselves small goals, like to spend a little less time on the Internet and to do
something you like doing instead.
We know it’s hard, but we believe in you.
You now know everything there is to know about cyberbullying in order for you to take action against
it. We believe that if everyone tries to make a difference or an effort, cyberbullying can be reduced.
The Internet is a dangerous world if you’re not careful, bad events occur quickly and can escalate.
Note that no two bullies are the same and that all victims react differently. The quickest and safest way
to act is to talk to someone you trust: they can help you overcome this difficult, hurtful, embarrassing
event and find a solution.
Just remember “think before the damage is done”, and if anyone ever makes you feel bad about being
different, remember the things that make you different are the things that make you, you.
So, my dear Netizen, rise up! Take action! It’s up to you, and to all of us, to make a difference.
Juliette & Zoé.
Extreme Mean, Paula Todd, published in the United States of America,
2014, McClelland & Stewart, 329 pages
Harcèlement et cyber harcèlement à l’école, une souffrance scolaire
2.0, Jean-Pierre Bellon et Bertrand Gardette, published in France, 2014,
ESF Editeur, 160 pages
Cybercrime and Society, Majid Yar, published in the United Kingdom,
2006, SAGE Publications LTD, 200 pages
“STOP cyberbullying: cyberbullying – what it is, how it works”,
www.businessinsider.org: “A 13-Year-Old Google Science Fair
Finalist Has A Simple Idea To Stop Cyberbullying” by Jillian
D’Onfro, August 8th 2014
www.telegraph.co.uk: “Cyberbullying is a new threat for children” by
Angela Pertusini, June 23rd 2011
“No Bullying Expert Advice on Cyber Bullying School Bullying”, http://nobullying.com: “Six
Unforgettable Cyberbullying Cases”, November 30th 2014
“No Bullying Expert Advice on Cyber Bullying School Bullying”, http://nobullying.com: “The
Story of Rebecca Ann Sedwick”, September 29th 2014
“No Bullying Expert Advice on Cyber Bullying School Bullying”, http://nobullying.com: “Anti
Bullying Information”, September 29th 2014
“No Bullying Expert Advice on Cyber Bullying School Bullying”, http://nobullying.com:
“Conducting Bullying Charities”, September 29th 2014
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org: “Clinical Report—The Impact of Social Media on Children,
Adolescents, and Families”, March 28th2011
Further help and information: Dearbhla McGrath, Fundraiser – Major Giving, National Society
For the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Northern Ireland
For all the quotes and testimonies:
http://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/research-reports/experiences-11-16-year-oldssocial-networking-sites-report.pdf ; “The experience of 11 – 16 year olds on social networking