I was very much aware of bullying as a child, being bullied throughout my school years by kids that acted as if they were my friends. I was attacked viciously one summer by children on the estate that I lived on, calling me horrible names and writing them on the walls where everyone could see them. I was fortunate that social media was not about then, and neither were mobile phones. But, for many children these days, they are not so fortunate.
We mainly think of bullying as being in the school playground, but these days it has escalated to online. Cyberbullying/stalking is when hateful and malicious messages are sent either through text messages, emails, or even comments on social media posts. Cyberbullying is usually carried out by other children, most of them done anonymously. Of all the social networks that kids have access to, YouTube is the most likely medium to be cyberbullied on, at 79 percent, followed by Snapchat at 69 percent, TikTok at 64 percent, and Facebook at 49 percent.
What is cyberbullying and cyberstalking?
Dr Nuccitelli, licensed psychologist, cyberpsychology expert and internet safety educator, in an interview, shares the distinctions that he has made through his intense research. What he is sharing, is the different types of cyber crimes that can and do happen.
Cyberbullying — this is often child on child, in the form of:
- Sending hateful messages to their victims
- Posting incriminating photos of them online
- Making videos of them when they are unaware and sharing them around the school
- Where child cyberbullying can be quite malicious and vindictive, when it is carried out by adults, it can escalate into:
- Consistent harassment via emails, social media posts and text messages
- Ongoing daily posts on social media, written to incriminate the abused
Cyber Stalking (the most dangerous)
- Following all the victims’ posts, logging into their private accounts
Imitating them, setting up new accounts in the victim’s name and pretending to be them. This could result in identity theft.
- In this first part of this blog series we will show:
Unfortunately, most attacks go unnoticed because those who are being abused do not report them, often out of fear of shame or the threat of something worse happening. The consequences of this can be devastating, even to the point of a child committing suicide because they are unable to live with what is being said about them. They feel that they are alone and that there is no one that they can confide in to help them.
- Is your child acting differently?
- Are they isolating themselves more than usual?
- Do they flinch when messages come through on their phones?
There may be more happening that they are willing to talk about. These are the types of questions that we are asking at Lighthouse International, because Paul Waugh, head mentor at Lighthouse, knows far too well what happens when a child is being bullied and takes their own life, having supported parents who have lost their children.
Here is the full interview with Dr Nuccitelli.
Thank you Diane… children are precious and I experienced some difficulty as a child, but to be hunted day and night with no escape from demonic children and grown ups? That’s a prison they cannot escape. Teachers and parents need far more guidance, accountability and support! Starting inside our homes
Thank you Diane for this article and for sharing so personally about your experiences growing up and about the bullying you had to go through.
So many children go through online bullying every day without having the right support and without knowing how to stop it from happening.
Because of phones it’s so much harder to escape bullying and it’s not just happening in school but it can be constant even in our homes.
It’s so important to address this issue and having been attacked myself individually and collectively as an organisation by predatory trolls over the last years shows me how important it is to develop the courage to ask for help. 🙏
Highlighting the devastating consequences of bullying both online and offline hit me hard. Because I too had been bullied throughout my time at secondary school, not wanting to tell others it was happening out of the fear it may get worse. I thankfully stood up to my bully and it stopped but I can imagine how difficult it can be for others, especially given the internet being readily available.
Thank you for bearing your soul, for sharing your difficulty growing up with other children, bless you Diane.
Thank you for writing this article Diane and making us aware of the dangers of cyber bullying and the differences between that and cyber harassment and cyber stalking. It is really important for us to learn about this in this world that we’re living in now. Having experienced similar feelings myself, to know that “The consequences of this can be devastating, even to the point of a child committing suicide because they are unable to live with what is being said about them.” Is extremely damning and more must be done about this. Thank you for shining the light on this for us 🙏🏼❤️
Thank you Diane for writing about this incredibly important subject. It certainly is a subject that is close to my heart. I wrote about my own personal experience here: https://lighthouseinternationalgroup.com/young-people/why-online-trolling-is-killing-our-children-and-what-we-can-do-about-it/
We so need good-hearted, conscientious people to come together to protect our children from such vile behaviour both online and offline.
Thank you for sharing such crucial insights. I hope that this can be a powerful lesson in the vulnerability that so many have to online abuse. Whether it’s over an unwarranted refund request, the end of a toxic relationship or someone who has no connection with you at all, the internet brings the opportunity for anyone to go online and post malicious falsehoods online relentlessly. We need to be prepared for this and crucially we must protect and safeguard our young people from this destructive behaviour.
Diane thank you so much for sharing your own trauma … little girls can be particularly vicious, and I am so sorry that you had these experiences as a child. We carry the scars into our other relationships if we are not given the opportunities to heal, and Lighthouse has certainly been helping me to heal. As you said it is so much worse now due to social media and platforms such as YouTube… to the extent that increasing numbers of our children are tragically ending their lives as Paul Stephen Waugh experiences, when called in to support families. As the individuals within families become increasingly siloed behind their phones, children feel isolated and the ability to share with siblings and parents has declined markedly. This is a very informative article with really important questions and advice from Dr Nuccitelli. Parents Against Trolls and Trolling is an important Resource, and there is a huge demand for Business Against Trolls and Trolling from articles and posts seen on LinkedIn and Twitter. Thank you Diane and Lighthouse, for facing the abusers and coming through it stronger and shining the light increasingly on the dark malicious predatory trolling individuals and and groups that are so malignantly evil in their intentions to destroy another soul. God bless us all🙏🏻
Thank you Valerie
The more that we can share from personal experiences the more it helps us to heal and help others to see that they are not alone.
It has been a long time in coming, but the truth needs to be told and those who are attacking us and others need to know that we will not tolerate any form of bullying.
Thank you for this article This is a real problem in the level of viciousness of cyberbullying that really does destroy lives, the critical problem people believe they can get away with it. With anonymity, there’s a perception of being untouchable that leads to a feeling of there are no consequences and dangerous!!!
This is crucial information to understand. We live in a time where you can literally be attacked and abused through your phone, a communication that we are all so heavily reliant on to connect with others.
I never thought I would need to understand or even look at cyber abuse or harassment, yet, it has become something that is tragically becoming the ‘norm’ in this world. This makes this reality so much worse and so tragic, thinking that this is just part of being online. Even just looking at the reviews of products you can buy online the hate a vitriol that comes through.
This needs to desperately change. Thank you for putting this article together it is so needed.
We need to make people aware that anyone can be attacked at anytime. They can make one little comment about a product and then find themselves the target of predatory trolls. A small business can come under attack from one little mistake. There are people in this world that live to abuse and attack innocent people. They feed off it.
The more we can get this out there, the more we can make others aware, the more we will be able to put a stop to these anonymous troll demons
God Bless you Diane
Thank you for sharing so openly about what you went through and using your experiences to help others so they don’t go through what you did. I too am so glad that I didn’t grow up in an era of social media and seeing the damage it causes is both tragic but also absolutely disgusting from the perpetrators. People need to come together and stop this!
It’s so important to educate yourself on what is happening online now. It is frightening how easy it is to cause harm now through devices, from behind screens.
Thank you for sharing your own experience, there is such cruelty between people now, instead of love, understanding and care. We need to come together to support and nurture what community is meant to be, instead of is happening now, being destructive.
Thank you Diane. What you are doing here is shining the light of understanding and going deeper where so many people do not care to stop and look; and yet so many of us suffer at the hands of online predators. Bullies who attack relentlessly. The one thing that I most want to change in your article is “Unfortunately, most attacks go unnoticed because those who are being abused do not report them”. This I want to change.