Here at The Student Room we are committed to tackling bullying and annually support Anti-Bullying Week. If you have encountered bullying this article offers guidance on what is defined as bullying and where to seek help if you are being bullied.

Online or cyber-bullying

So what is cyber-bullying? Unlike other forms of bullying, this can happen anywhere, anytime and it can be anonymous. As technology advances, so do the ways that people can abuse others. You can be in a safe space in your own home and still be targeted or affected by cyber-bullying. It can also reach a large number of people as messages and images are so easy to send and share.

It’s just a joke right? No….cyber-bullying can have serious consequences both for the victim and the bully/abuser. Something that starts as a joke could actually be very offensive or upsetting for the recipient.

Cyberbullying includes:

• sending threatening or abusive text messages
• homophobia, racism or sexism
• making silent, hoax or abusive calls
• creating and sharing embarrassing images or videos
• 'trolling' - the sending of menacing or upsetting messages on social networks, chat rooms or online games
• excluding someone from online games, activities or groups
• setting up hate sites or groups about a particular person
• encouraging young people to self-harm
• voting for or against someone in an abusive poll
• creating fake accounts, hijacking or stealing online identities to embarrass someone or cause trouble using their name

The Student Room's Student in a Million 2014 nominees and their guests

Cyber-bullying and the Law

There is not a specific ‘cyber-bullying- offense but there are some UK laws that apply in terms of harassing or threatening behaviour. So bullying or abusing someone on line can be criminal offences under a range of different laws including the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, Malicious Communications Act 1988, section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 and the Public Order Act 1986.

If you are a victim of cyber-bullying, although you may want to delete any messages, it is actually best to keep them as they can be used as evidence. Messages and emails have information that can help to locate where they came from so it’s important to save things and hand them over when you report it. You can also take screen shots of abuse that happens online to use as evidence.

What should I do? Top Tips!

• Think before you send or say anything online. Remember that once it’s out there, it can go public really quickly and could be out there forever. Would you want anyone else to see it? How you would feel if someone sent this image/message to you?

• Check your privacy settings online, only give out your contact details to people you know and trust. Never share your passwords.

If you are being bullied on TSR you can report this in Ask a moderator (AAM) or Ask a section leader (AASL). A member of the Community team, a section leader or a moderator will then investigate the reporting case of bullying. If found to be bullying, members will be issued warnings or banned.

If you're being bullied

Remember, you are not alone and you will get through this. The most important thing is to tell someone – it doesn't have to continue. Tell a friend, your family, a teacher or a tutor. If you are 18 or under you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111. You can also find more useful contacts and resources on the Anti-Bullying Alliance website. If you would like to talk about your situation anonymously, you might also find it helpful to start a discussion in the relationships forum, our relationship abuse forum or maybe our friends, family and work forum.

If you are being bullied on social media there are lots of ways to protect yourself and to report it – check out this link to find out how:

If you are being bullied via a mobile phone, there are also things you can do:

If you know someone who is being bullied

First tell someone who will be able to do something about it, whether it's someone on The Student Room, a teacher or someone else you can trust. Try speaking to the person being bullied too to let them know they are not alone.
Check out our Anti-Bullying Week 2015 hub page for more information on bullying: