4.2.2 Assessing the Incident

The cyberbullying incident may take many forms and need different approaches. The first step is to think about the incident. Some of the key questions are:

  • Impact: how extensive is the problem? How serious are the possible consequences?
  • Location: where and when is the bullying happening? Cyberbullying is especially difficult to deal with because unlike “traditional” bullying it can happen anywhere and anytime.
  • Duration: how long has the unacceptable behaviour been going on?
  • Identity: does the person being bullied know who the bully or bullies might be? Cyberbullying can be especially challenging because the bully can be anonymous or the bullying can go viral and include many bullies and onlookers.
  • Motivation: is there a motivation, a purpose behind the bullying? Is it possible the bully does not realize that his or her actions are cyberbullying? Does he or she come clean at an early stage and try to amend the damage that was caused?
  • Evidence: what evidence is there of what happened?
  • School context: how is the school involved? What can and cannot the school do? What is the school’s policy for dealing with such incidents?