Cyber-bullying is the use of Information Technology to harm or harass other people in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. According to U.S. Legal Definitions, Cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them.
Cyber-bullying is defined in legal glossaries as actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm another or others.
Examples of what constitutes cyber-bullying include communications that seek to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down, falsely discredit, or humiliate the recipient. The actions are deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior intended to harm another. Cyber-bullying has been defined by The National Crime Prevention Council: “When the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.”
A cyber-bully may be a person whom the target knows or an online stranger. A cyber-bully may be anonymous and may solicit involvement of other people online who do not even know the target. This is known as a ‘digital pile-on.’
The practice of cyber bullying is not limited to children and, while the behavior is identified by the same definition when practiced by adults, the distinction in age groups sometimes refers to the abuse as cyber-stalking or cyber-harassment when perpetrated by adults toward adults. Behaviors may include encouraging others to harass the victim and trying to affect a victim’s online participation. Many cyber-stalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them.
Cyber-stalking may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, or gathering information in order to harass. A repeated pattern of such actions and harassment against a target by an adult constitutes cyber-stalking. Cyber-stalking often features linked patterns of online and offline behavior. There are consequences of law in offline stalking and online stalking, and cyber-stalkers can be put in jail. Cyber-stalking is a form of cyber bullying.