Online Harassment

Video credit:WHAT’S YOUR STORY? – featuring Tyler Joseph & posted by Amanda DeCardy on YouTube



The Amanda Todd case is a local example of cyberbullying with tragic consequences. On September 7, 2012, the 15 year old teen from Coquitlam, BC posted a YouTube video that features a series of handwritten cue cards depicting her “never ending story” as a victim of blackmail, cyberbullying, physical assault and self-harm. Tragically, Amanda Todd’s story ended in suicide.


Think before you ink

What behaviors constitute “cyberbullying”?

Unfortunately, the definition of cyberbullying is not as narrow as some would like; the scope and forms of cyberbullying are quite wide. These include (but are not limited to) stalking behaviours, threats, harassment, impersonation, outing, or ‘doxxing’ (publication of personal information, generally for witch-hunting purposes).

The Cyberbullying Research Centre offers a useful definition of cyberbullying as:
“the willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” They go on to highlight the important elements of this definition:

* Willful: The behavior has to be deliberate, not accidental.
* Repeated: Bullying reflects a pattern of behavior, not just one isolated incident.
* Harm: The target must perceive that harm was inflicted.
* Computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices: This, of course, is what differentiates cyberbullying from traditional bullying. (Excerpt from: Is Cyberbullying?)

What can I do about it?

If you think you are being harrassed online, here are the Cyberbullying Research Centre’s Top 10 Tips for Responding to Cyberbullying.

If you need to follow-up with an online service provider, here is a helpful list of contacts.
If you think you might be a cyberbully, take this quiz to find out where you are headed.

How does it impact on my digital identity?

Think about what it says about you if someone were to read a mean tweet that you sent in haste or a facebook post intended to be hurtful to a person or group of people. Queen’s University students make a powerful statement about diversity in their reading of mean tweets on Facebook.

Would you want to befriend that person? If you were hiring someone, would you want to hire that person? Would you want that person to care for your kids or date your best friend?

On the other side of the line, bullying victims who take back their power and use a public form to educate a bully, can have a lasting and positive impact. Consider our story about Balpreet Kaur, responding to a potentially nasty Reddit thread or a recent (Dec, 2015) story about an east coast student’s response to cyberbullying that went viral. Ask the same questions above about these women.

Your digital identity formed, in part, by the choices you make.


The Digital Tattoo Project encourages critical discussion on topics surrounding digital citizenship and online identity. There are no correct answers and every person will view these topics from a different perspective. Be sure to complete the previous sections before answering the questions.

  • In your opinion, is online harassment/cyberbullying a growing problem?
  • Have you ever directly witnessed online harassment? How did you react?


4 responses to “Online Harassment”

  1. 1985

    I think cyberbullying is a growing problem. I have never witnessed an act of cyberbullying but if I ever witness any I would try to tell and adult and get help from him.

  2. Anonymous

    Yes, I believe online harassment is a huge problem. Even though I have never been a victim or a cyberbully, I would always try to be an upstander in a situation like this.

  3. Talena

    Yes, I think cyber-bullying and online harassment has become a massive thing in this world. The amount of people doing self harm or killing themselves has been going up and up as the years progress.
    I have witnessed direct online harassment, a friend of mine were playing an online game when a person had been starting fights and saying rude and uncalled for things to my friend.
    I had kindly asked that he’d stop, I comforted my friend then we left the server.

  4. Tj

    i do believe inter-web bullying is a problem, though I’ve never been a victim or bully. i would definitely help any of my friends if this were a problem for them.

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