What about cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is a growing problem in many workplaces, but it is a particular problem for those who work in certain sectors such as education and media.

In 2009, teaching union NASUWT worked with the government to produce specialist guidance: Cyberbullying: Supporting Staff . The guidance defines cyberbullying as “the use of information and communications technology, particularly mobile phones and the internet, deliberately to upset someone else."

Cyberbullying can take place 24/7anonymously and anywhere.

A 2012 survey by the NASUWT revealed teachers being issued with death threats, accused of crimes including paedophilia and rape, suffering sexist and racist abuse and having their pictures distributed across the net.

If you are a victim of cyberbullying, ask for help immediately. Like any form of bullying, you must not suffer alone.

Keep copies and screen-prints of all online or digital bullying, for example emails, texts or Facebook entries.

This factsheet updated in 2014 by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (now part of the National Education Union) contains practical guidance about how best to respond to cyberbullying.

The NUJ journalists’ union has reported that cyberbullying is a growing problem for journalists and is surveying its members to find out the extent to which they are at the receiving end of unacceptable and harassing behaviour because of their work.  A 2015 study by the union and the University of Strathclyde found a number of “serious and concerning cases”. Several reporters said that they had received death threats and some said they had to take additional security precautions at work and at home as a result of online abuse. Some had experienced cyberbullying more than 50 times in the last year, and more than 80% said the abuse extended beyond working hours. The main source was social networking site Twitter.


Conciliation service Acas has a page dedicated to social media and bullying.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.