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Digital Essentials: Cyber abuse

What is cyber abuse?

Cyber abuse is when technology is used to harass, threaten, intimidate or humiliate someone with the intention of hurting them psychologically, socially or even physically. 

It commonly happens on social media, online chat forums, texts, emails, and online discussion boards.  

  • Cyberstalking 

Stalking a person online and hacking into their online accounts 

  • Image-based abuse 

Sharing intimate or sexual photos or videos online without the consent of the other person for entertainment or to humiliate and shame them.  

  • Photoshop digital images 

Posting a digitally manipulated explicit image on social media or pornographic website. 

  • Online hate speech 

Insulting, ridiculing or humiliating a person based on their physical appearance, gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or political beliefs. 

  • Self-harm or suicide 

Encouraging someone to self-harm or commit suicide. 

  • Sending offensive material or messages 

Posting offensive comments or posting images to intentionally hurt a group or person. 

  • Sharing someone else’s personal information  

Posting someone else’s personal information on social media or somewhere else online. 

  • Threatening violence 

Posting death threats or threats of sexual assault or motivating others to do the same.

What can you do?

  1. Try not to respond of react - People who abuse others online want to get a reaction out of you, so try to decrease your exposure to cyber abuse if possible. 
  2. Save evidence - Make sure you always document and record what is happening before you block or delete anything. It is really important to collect evidence and keep it in case you need it to prove the abuse happened. 
  3. Block and report - Try to block or mute the abuse. Report them for being abusive to the platform or service provider the content was posted on. If the abuser tries again using a different name, block, mute and report them again.  
  4. Seek help - If the abuse continues please contact the police and seek legal help if necessary. 


eSafety Commissioner. (n.d.). What is cyber abuse?