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8 Common Forms of Cyber Bullying

Even within the safe premises of your home, your child can be cyber bullied by someone else.
Cyber bullying can have severe – even deadly – consequences. While some victims may be able to successfully recover from his or her sufferings, there are also others who suffer in silence and choose to take their own lives to end the pain. Hence, it is important to educate your child about cyber bullying.

Here are some common forms of cyber bullying:

  1. Harrassment

    Harassment occurs when the bully sends offensive and threatening messages via electronic forms of communication to his or her target. Multiple people may even gang up to send thousands of messages to the victim at once.
  2. Impersonation

    Impersonation is when someone creates a fake profile in another person’s name or hacks into another person’s account. The cyber bully pretends to be his or her victim online, and tarnishes the victim’s reputation.
  3. Flaming

    Flame wars involve the repeated exchanges of “angry, rude, or obscene [electronic] messages” between individuals.(3).
  4. Denigration

    Denigration is an attempt to damage the victim’s reputation or ruin the friendships he or she has, by spreading unfounded gossip or rumours online.
  5. Exclusion

    Exclusion occurs when someone has been intentionally excluded or singled out from online group activities such as group conversations and multiplayer games.
  6. Outing

    Outing occurs when the cyber bully uses technological means to publicly “[share] private information without permission with the intent to hurt” the victim (4).
  7. Trickery
    The cyber bully may employ methods to trick his or her victim into believing “they are speaking in confidence with a close friend so that they share sensitive information”, such as secrets or humiliating information (5).Once the cyber bully has obtained the information, he or she will use it against the victim by publicly disseminating it to others, “in an attempt to shame the victim” (5). The two forms of cyber bullying – outing and trickery – often go hand-in-hand.
  8. Cyber stalking

    Cyber stalking is a form of harassment. Victims usually receive threatening and intimidating electronic messages from cyber bullies. Victims may often start to believe “the intimidator can move offline and harm them physically,” causing them to be overly suspicious of their surroundings as well (6).

Tips for parents

  • Be aware of the different forms of cyber bullying and educate your child about them. Use the list above to detect potential cases of cyber bullying effectively when your child shares his or her online activities with you.
  • If your child shows visible signs of distress, ask him or her to look through the list to identify a possible source of tension.


  1. 1 in 4 secondary school students ‘admit to cyber bullying’ – The Straits Times, 14 July 2014
  2. Values as a predictor of cyber bullying among secondary school students
  3. Cyber bullying Glossary
  4. Cyber bullying laws
  5. Forms of Cyber bullying
  6. Cyber stalking