A glossary of Cyberbullying Terms every parent should know about


Cyberbullying is an ever-evolving phenomenon. It's vital to stay abreast of what is happening online to ensure you can understand and engage with the young people in your care about what they are experiencing.

Here is a list of cyberbullying terms that ever adult should know:


“Bullying is in-person and online behaviour between children and young people within a social network that causes physical, emotional, or social harm to targeted young people. It is characterized by an imbalance of power that is enabled or inhibited by the social and institutional norms and context of schools/organisations and the education system.” UNESCO 2020

Cancel Culture

An online movement to publicly shame and remove celebrity status or value from a person, place or thing based on an unacceptable, offensive act or transgression. People can even be ‘cancelled’ for past transgressions that come to light years later, often causing significant damage to their reputation.


An internet slang abbreviation for Code 9, which young people send to others to alert them that a parent, teacher or other adult is present or nearby.


Consistently harassing someone by electronic means with threatening or intimidating messages that invade that person’s privacy and affect their mental health. 


Derived from the term ‘dropping dox’ or ‘documents’, doxing involves searching for and revealing private or identifying information about someone (ie. their address or bank account details) for everyone to see – usually with malicious intent.


Social exclusion can be a subtle and indirect form of bullying when a person is deliberately left out or excluded from an event, activity or online group chat with their friends or classmates.


Sending angry or obscene message to an individual or group online, either privately or in a public setting. If this escalates, it becomes known as a ‘flamewar’ with ‘flames’ being sent back and forth.


Most commonly used to end romantic relationships, ghosting can also occur between friend groups when one or more of them completely ignores a once-close friend, breaking off all contact and disappearing from all interactions.


This occurs when someone manages to circumvent your security settings to gain access to your personal accounts and use the information – often for illegal or malicious activity.

Happy Slapping

Predominantly seen in the UK, this is an extreme form of bullying where physical assaults are recorded and shared online for public consumption.


Repeatedly sending unsolicited, rude, offensive or abusive messages to someone, either via public or private channels.

Revenge Porn

This is the practice of posting or distributing sexual videos or images of a previous partner without their consent – often after a painful or non-mutual breakup.


This occurs when someone threatens to expose a sexual or compromising image of another person in order to make them do something or for other reasons, such as revenge or humiliation.


Deliberately posting inflammatory comments or information to entice genuine  people or their followers to respond (often emotionally). Often done simply to provoke outrage or inspire a backlash.

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