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Dr. Kishor Adhikari

Written By Sonika Parajuli, Bachelor of Arts in Social work, 4th year  ( Major – Psychology ) Xavier International College

Sabina Maharjan

Reviewed by Sabina Maharjan, Clinical Psychologist(M.Phil, IOM TUTH), Bsc Nurse


Cyberbullying, a new form of bullying has been defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through aggressive actions through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” (Hutson, 2016, p. 13). It is important to know that cyberbullying can happen to anyone. Relatively little can be said about a typical cyber target or a typical cyberbully: they can be rich kids or poor kids, left-out kids or popular ones, A-students or struggling students, majority or minority students, someone who has been bullied before of someone who rarely uses technology, it can be someone who uses technology to pass their free time by browsing and chatting, but also someone who mostly uses it for online learning, research, time management or school.

Some of the World wide data:

According to a report by National Information Technology, Centre, more than 1,000 cases of cybercrime were reported in Nepal in 2020. The most common forms of online harassment and cyberbullying include cyberstalking, revenge porn, online scheming, online shaming and trolling. Cyberbullying behaviours are not limited to name-calling; they can include other forms of teasing, defamation, intimidation, rumour spreading, displaying unflattering or compromising photos without consent, hacking into individual’s computer, spreading virus. (Aricak et al., 2008).

There are several forms of cyberbullying including:

  • Flaming- It involves sending angry or vulgar messages to an individual or group.
  • Harassment- The act of sending insulting messages, making threats, stalking, or engaging in other forms of unwelcome communication or conduct to an individual.
  • Denigration- This means sending untrue or unkind statements about someone to other people.
  • Cyberstalking- Threatening to harm someone or using intimidation tactics is known as cyberstalking.
  • Masquerading- The process of impersonating someone and sending information that puts that person in danger or casts them in a negative light is called masquerading.
  • Outing and trickery- accessing embarrassing information about an individual and releasing it to the public.
  • Exclusion- It involves purposefully excluding an individual from an online platform.
  • Catfishing- an individual creates a fabricated identity on the internet with the aim of manipulating and harming a victim through various means, often by exploiting the victim’s emotions.
  • Cyberflashing- When an individual receives sexually explicit image without their consent, they have experienced cyber flashing. This can happen through peer-tp-peer Wi-Fi networks or Bluetooth Airdrop, both within and outside of school settings.
  • Ghosting- When individuals stop talking to someone online without explanation, it is called ghosting. Frequently, instead if directly addressing the matter, individuals opt to simply ignore the person they are targeting.
  • Griefing- The repetitive behaviour of intentionally bothering or annoying others by deliberately eliminating your character, steal your game possessions, or harass you through chat is called griefing.
  • Hate pages- On social media platforms like Instagram, teens make fake accounts to bully others. They post embarrassing photos, share secrets, or spreads mean messages. This is called hate pages.
  • Outing- This happens when someone shares another person’s gender identity or sexual orientation without their permission. It is especially harmful for teens who already struggle with mental health and may be more likely to harm themselves.

According to Stop Bullying (2020), the following are the most common places where cyberbullying occurs:

  • Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok
  • Text messaging and messaging apps on mobile or tablet devices.
  • Instant messaging, direct messaging, online chatting over the internet.
  • Online forums, chat rooms, and message boards, such as Reddit.
  • Online gaming communities.

Cyberbullying can take many forms. It can include harassment (insults or threats), spreading rumours, impersonation, outing and trickery (gaining an individual’s trust and then using online media to distribute their secrets) or exclusion (excluding an individual from activities). These activities can be performed via e-mail, instant messaging, text message, social networking sites such as Facebook or Tumblr, and other websites (Peebles E.,2014).

Short Message Service (SMS), which is more commonly known as text messaging, is also a vehicle for cyberbullying. Text messaging appears to be the most widely used platform for cyberbullying among middle and high school students, followed by online gaming (Smith et al., 2008). DePaolis and Williford (2015), found that 11% of elementary school children under the age of ten reported weekly victimization through online gaming. The social media sites used for 8 cyber victimization included Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The least utilized platforms for cyberbullying included instant messaging, email, and chat rooms.

Some References of Case Studies of Nepal

One of the disturbing cases was of Goma Karki, a 16-year-old girl from Nepal, who committed suicide after discovering someone had created a fake Facebook account in her name and posted offensive content. Goma’s family filed a complaint with the Cyber Crime Bureau, which tracked the cell phone number used to create the account and arrested Yubaraj Karki, who confessed to creating the fake profile.

  • Rita Khadka’s Facebook account was compromised in August 2019. She didn’t learn about it until her friends alerted her to the pornographic photographs being shared from her account. She quickly reported the posts to Nepal Police’s cybercrime division and deleted them from her account.
  • According to a study by the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, 26% of students in Kathmandu reported experiencing cyber bullying.

How does Cyberbullying occur?

The exact reason of why people do cyberbullying is unknown.

  • Lack of empathy.
  • A desire for power and control.
  • To take revenge
  • Peer pressure
  • Deficient digital communication skills
  • Escapism, which according to Cambridge dictionary mean a way of avoiding an unpleasant or boring life, especially by thinking, reading, etc. about more exciting but impossible activities.
  • Seeking entertainment
  • Inadequate regulation
  • Lack of parental supervision over children’s Internet use or their computer activities.
  • To boost their egos.
  • To entertain themselves and their friends.
  • To get attention.
  • Some do it because people around them are doing it as well.

Effects of Cyber bullying

Psychological Impacts

  • Victims of cyberbullying are likely to experience Anxiety, Depression, and the feeling of low self esteem
  • Low confidence
  • More susceptible to developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Developing thoughts about suicide and harming oneself.
  • Constant feeling of fear and stress
  • Feeling ashamed, nervousness, anxious and insecurity regarding what people say or think about you.

Physical Impacts

  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches and sleeping problems

Social Impacts

  • Victims of Cyberbullying are at higher risk of being marginalised and stigmatised by society.
  • They might feel ashamed or embarrassed about the harassment, leading them to avoid social activities and relationships.
  • Social isolation.
  • Their peers might not accept them.
  • They do not easily trust other people and are always suspicious of others.
  • For adult: could able to go for work and could not do the routine work

Academic Impacts

  • They struggle to fit in at school and perform poorly academically.
  • Drop in grades
  • Skips school.
  • Gets into trouble at school
  • Loses interest in School
  • Avoid going to school.

(Pradhan, 2023)

Possible signs of cyber bullying

  • Mentally – Feeling upset after messaging or being on the internet, embarrassed, stupid, even afraid or angry most of the time, low self-esteem, reluctant to talk or secretive about their online activities and mobile phone use.
  • Emotionally – feeling ashamed or losing interest in the things you love, feeling upset after using the internet or their mobile phone, anger and irritable.
  • Physically – tired (loss of sleep), or experiencing symptoms like stomach aches and headaches.

Socially- Avoiding formerly enjoyable social situations, not wanting to go to school and/or avoiding meeting friends and school mates, significant increase or decrease in time spent in texting, gaming or using social media.

Internet safety for children

  • Be careful what pictures or videos you upload.
  • Only add people you know and trust to friends/followers lists online.
  • When talking to strangers, keep your personal information safe and location hidden.
  • Keep your password to yourself and change it regularly.
  • Block or report someone who is behaving badly.
  • Do not reply to offending e-mails, text messages or online conversations.
  • Always keep a copy of offending e-mails, text messages or a screen grab of online conversation
  • Make sure you tell an adult you trust, for example, a parent, a carer, a teacher, or the anti-bullying co-ordinator or call a helpline.
  • Do not share your last name, home address, school name or telephone number. You don’t know how the person will use your information.
  • While creating screen name, do not include personal information like your last name or date of birth.
  • Do not share your passwords with anyone and when you use a public computer, make sure your logout of the accounts you have accessed before leaving the terminal.
  • Do not agree to meet an online friend, until you have your parents’ permissions sometimes people pretend to be someone and turb out to be someone else and they recognize the people better.
  • Do not buy anything online without talking to your parents first. Some ads may try to trick you by offering free things as a way of collecting your personal information.
  • Talk to your parents before you open an email attachment or download software as the attachments sometimes might contain virus and make sure not to open an attachment from someone you don’t know.
  • Make sure that you have control over who can access your information online by activating and improving privacy setting on all your social media accounts.
  • Keep in mind that when you use a public internet connection, you cannot know how secure it is. It is best to avoid doing any online banking, sharing sensitive information while using public Wi-Fi.

How can the parents keep their children internet safe?

  • Monitor child’s social media use.
  • Being involved and talking to children. Once a picture is shared online it cannot be taken back.
  • Remind your children that they never know who they really are. They might seem friendly, but because you can’t see them in real life, it is best to be careful.
  • Advise them to never share their email or social media password with anyone, even their best friend.
  • Help them determine what is and is not appropriate to share online.
  • Set hours and limit access to using technology online.
  • Create a code of conduct for your children, such as they will not use social media to humiliate or embarrass other people, even if they are being targeted by cyberbullying.
  • Establish that if your child experiences cyberbullying and shares that with you, their use and access to technology won’t be restricted. However, if your child demonstrates cyberbullying behavior and you find out, identify consequences for your child.
  • If your child is being bullied online, be supportive of your child. Let them know that you will work together to take steps to stop bullying.

How can the Teachers keep the children internet safe?

  • Promote a positive and safe classroom culture. Provide resources in the classroom to help students identify, respond to, and avoid cyberbullying.
  • Step up when you encounter a teachable moment related to cyberbullying or respectful online communication,
  • Encourage students to pay attention to “red flag moments”—when something happens on digital media that makes them feel uncomfortable, worried, sad, or anxious.
  • Explain to students the three ways they can and should respond if they witness cyberbullying: support the target of the bullying (be an ally); try to stop the cyberbullying (be an upstander); and/or tell a trusted adult (report it). It may not be part of your lesson plan, and it may set you off track for a bit, but every time you reinforce anti-cyberbullying messages, you’re doing the critical work of cyberbullying prevention.
  • Incorporate lessons on cyberbullying into your existing curriculum.
  • Talk to parents if encountered any inappropriate cyberbullying.

How can the Adult keep themselves internet safe and reduce the cyberbullying?

  • Make sure you are up to date with the privacy settings. Social media regularly update their privacy options. Stay informed about these changes.
  • Limit access of your contact details. Avoid sharing your email or phone number with unfamiliar individuals.
  • Avoid sharing inappropriate images or videos. Keep in mind that a current romantic partner could be and ex in the future. So it is essential to prevent the possibility of someone possessing and potentially posting compromising material of you online.
  • Refuse friend or follower requests from unknown individuals. If you are unfamiliar with the person sending the request, simply ignore it.
  • Avoid immediate responses to cyberbullying. Cyber bullies often aim to provoke emotional reactions from their targets. When faced with negative online comments, unappealing photos or tags, or any form of unkind behaviour, consider stepping away from your device for at least an hour. Utilize this time to create emotional distance and carefully contemplate your response.
  • Capture screenshots to document instances of cyberbullying. This method ensures you have a record of any harmful comments or photos.
  • Use reporting and blocking features available on social media platforms to address cyberbullying effectively.

Who helps in Nepal?

  • Child Safe Net

Child safe net has been established with the vision of enhancing the safety of digital technology for children and young individuals. They raise awareness about using the internet and devices safest to protect young people from issues like Internet Addiction, Online sexual abuse, and exploitation, cyberbullying, and gaming addiction, while also promoting digital literacy, since 2018.

  • Nepal Police Cyber Bureau

Toll free Emergency Child Helpline- 1098

Toll free Nepal Police Hotline- 100

Nepal Police Cyber Bureau- 9851286770