What is Cyber-bullying?

[Technology ★★★]


(P1) Cyber-bullying is a form of online harassment of a person.  This problem was almost unheard of only 15 years ago.  However, more and more people are now using the Internet.  This is creating new problems for society.   On the Internet, it is easier for people to hide their identity. This can encourage bullies to use the Internet to engage in this kind of harmful behavior.  There are many ways that cyber-bullies use the Internet to hurt their victim.

(P2) Cyber-bullies might use social media sites like Facebook or Twitter to make hurtful comments about another person.    They may spread rumors or lies about someone, which can damage the victim’s reputation.  Cyber-bullies often pose as another person in order to try and make their victim say something embarrassing.  They might also try to trick their victim into believing they are in a romantic relationship or friendship that is not real.  Another form of cyber-bullying is to post embarrassing photographs or videos of the victim without asking permission.  These can remain on the Internet for years so they are very distressing for victims.

(P3) This type of bullying is becoming more common, especially among young people.  A 2010 CBS News report showed that 42% of young Americans have been the victim of cyber-bullying.  Some victims of cyber-bullying have even committed suicide.  Many governments are trying to make online harassment illegal.  Forty-five states in America have passed laws to prevent online bullying.  Canada is currently considering passing a strict law against cyber-bullying.  It will take some time before society learns how to cope with the potential drawbacks of this new technology.

WORDS: 266

SOURCE: http://dreamreader.net/lesson/cyber-bullying/

VOCABULARY: harassment, bullies, rumors, reputation, pose, distressing, drawbacks


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Have you ever been a victim of cyber-bullying?
  3. Is it illegal in your country to cyber-bully? If no, should it be?
  4. Which social media sites do you use? Why?


  1. What is another name for online harassment?
  2. What can people hide to help them be a cyber-bully?
  3. Photos and videos don’t stay on the internet for a long time. (T or F)
  4. What percentage of young USA residents have been victims of cyber-bullying?
  5. Canada has already passed a cyber-bullying law to make it illegal. (T or F)


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • unheard of (P1)
  • trick their victim (P2)
  • currently considering (P3)
  • passing a strict law (P3)

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