Online abuse can include 'cyberbullying', 'cyberstalking' and 'trolling'.
CYBERBULLYING can occur online only, or as part of more general bullying. Cyberbullies may be people who are known to you or anonymous. Like all bullies, they frequency try to persuade others to join in. You could be bullied for your religious or political beliefs, race or skin colour, body image, if you have a mental or physical disability or for no apparent reason whatsoever.
Cyberbullying generally comprises sending threatening or otherwise nasty messages or other communications to people via social media, gaming sites, text or email, posting embarrassing or humiliating video on hosting sites such as YouTube or Vimeo, or harassing through repeated texts, instant messages or chats. Increasingly, it is perpetrated by posting or forwarding images, video or private details obtained via sexting, without the victim’s permission. Some cyberbullies set up Facebook pages and other social media accounts purely to bully others.
CYBERSTALKING is persistent unwanted contact from another person – either someone you know or a stranger. We often read about celebrities becoming victims of obsessed cyberstalkers, anybody can be a target.
Cyberstalkers have many different motives, including those who feel wronged by their target, ex-partners, those with misplaced sexual motives, or those who just derive pleasure from scaring other, often random people. They can exploit your digital footprint by snooping on your social media channels/apps to find out your every movement, who you are in contact with and your plans. As cyberstalkers become more determined, they intrude on more aspects of your online presence, sometimes including hacking or taking over your social media accounts.
Cyberstalking may occur online only, or as part more general stalking or harassment activity.
TROLLING means intentionally upsetting, shocking or winding up selected individuals, groups of people or a more general audience who are usually people not known to the troll. It generally causes offence as a result of expressing extreme views, or purely for its own sake. Racist, religious, homophobic, political or social abuse are commonplace forms of trolling, but you could also be victimised for something as basic as the football team you support. It may also be directed against people – famous or otherwise – known for their philanthropy, charity, altruism and other good qualities … by trolls who disagree with their motives.
One of the most upsetting forms of trolling takes place when obscenities or insults are posted against deceased people, which they cannot defend. This can result in considerable trauma for surviving relatives and friends.
Trolling can be carried out by individuals, or groups of trolls with a common aim – to upset innocent victims.
SEXTORTION Sextortion is a type of cyber extortion. It involves the threat of having sexual information, images or clips shared. This is done to get money from you. It doesn't always matter if the images actually exist or not. The extortion often takes place when a victim is asked to take off their clothes in front of a webcam. They can also be asked to perform sexual acts. The victim believes this to be a private act but it is not. The victim doesn't know that they are being recorded.
The offender will then threaten the victim. They may demand money. They may threaten to share the images or videos on social media or share publicly.
For more information you may find the following websites/resources helpful:
Get safe online HERE
Bullying UK (part of family lives) HERE
National Bullying Helpline HERE
National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) HERE
Queen Margaret University 'Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy' can be accessed by clicking HERE