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Online Bullying

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Teen talking to police and school officials

Cyberbullying involves using any kind of technology to hurt or intimidate others, their reputation, or their relationships. The reports of teenage suicide due to online bullying are shocking and York Regional Police is committed to raising awareness and opening the lines of communication to ensure our citizens feel safe.

The Internet is a public space, so anything online is global within seconds. Since the Internet is anonymous, most victims of cyberbullying don't even know who their bully is. That's what makes cyberbullying hard to stop. What most people don't realize is that some forms of cyberbullying are punishable by law.There are many ways to bully someone online:

  • Sending cruel or threatening emails, texts, or instant messages to someone
  • Posting private or embarrassing photos
  • Creating a website or blog to make fun of someone
  • Making up fake accounts on social networking sites to ridicule others
  • Using someone's password to hack into their email
  • Rating people in online polls
  • Spreading secrets or rumours
  • Harassing other players in online video games (flaming)

What can you do?

  • STOP: Do not respond to the behaviour. 
  • SAVE: Don't delete the message. It's important to keep a record of what's happening. 
  • BLOCK: Block the sender's phone number or email address. If you don't know how, contact your cellphone company and/or Internet service provider. 
  • TELL: It's important you tell someone you trust about what's happening. If you are being threatened, you should call the police.

Here are some simple things you can do to reduce your chances of being bullied online:

  • Keep your passwords private, even from your friends
  • Don't share personal information with strangers including your name, the names of friends or family, your address, phone number, and your school
  • Be careful about who you share your photos with online
  • Remove tags on photos that make you feel uncomfortable
  • Secure your profile information by making sure only friends can see it
  • Trust your gut. Don't answer requests or open messages from strangers

If you or someone you know is being bullied, you can call York Regional Police at 1-866-876-5423 or Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 for help.

Additional information on bullying, cyberbullying and supporting friends in crisis, please visit NeedHelpNow.

Additional Internet safety can be found at Canadian government website GetCyberSafe.