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Cyberstalking & Cyberbullying

With your help, Ryerson can minimize online threats.

Whether it happens in-person or online, our university is committed to addressing harassment, stalking and bullying in all forms in our community.

What is cyberstalking and cyberbullying?

While cyberstalking and cyberbullying are connected and similar, there are some distinctions including that fear is central to the experience of cyberstalking.

Examples of cyberstalking Examples of cyberbullying
  • Repeated and unwanted attention that causes you to fear for your safety or the safety of someone known to you.
  • Repeated and unwanted messages via text, email or social media, regardless of the nature of the content.
  • Posting private, identifying, inappropriate, unwanted or personal information or pictures of you online.
  • Tracking your real-life activities or location via your posts and/or posting such information for others to know.
  • Trolling to intentionally upset, provoke or offend you in any online forum.
  • Receiving intimidating, embarrassing, threatening, mean-spirited or aggressive texts, emails or messages via social media.
  • Being sent or having pictures posted that are humiliating or make you feel threatened.
  • Messages or posts that put you down, spread rumours or invite others to gang up on you.
  • Having your identity used to send or post embarrassing or threatening information.

Who does it affect?

While more common amongst younger populations, online stalking and bullying can happen at varying degrees to people of all ages, genders, education levels and socioeconomic characteristics.

Criminal harassment and its consequences

Each and every university community member plays a role in contributing to and fostering a welcoming and secure environment—on campus and online.

Resources for those affected by cyberstalking or cyberbullying

The effects of cyberstalking and cyberbullying can impact our self-concept, self-esteem and create mistrust between ourselves and our communities. 

If you or someone you know has been impacted by cyberstalking or cyberbullying, you are not alone and there are people at the university who will help when you are ready. The following resources provide guidance to those experiencing online exploitation and the people supporting them.

Wellness, mental health and counselling

How can they help the person being cyberstalked or cyberbullied?

For crisis or immediate support, Student Wellbeing makes available a recommendation for emergencies and a list of resources for local crisis lines.

Counselling and personalized care is also available to students along with ongoing health promotion options such as peer programs and workshops.

How can they help someone who’s offering support?

Resources are available to faculty and staff as well as parents who wish to communicate with or refer a student in distress for counselling or other support.

Physical safety

How can they help the person being cyberstalked or cyberbullied?

If the cyberstalking and cyberbullying you experience also extends to in-person criminal harassment and stalking, Community Safety and Security can help you develop a situation-specific safety plan.

Reporting an incident

How can they help the person being cyberstalked or cyberbullied?

If you would like to report a complaint about harassment or sexual violence, Human Rights Services at the university offers free and confidential complaint resolution services.

How can they help the person being cyberstalked or cyberbullied?

If you are concerned about a student’s behaviour, the Student Care office can help you consult with the Student Conduct Officer or file a complaint under the Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct.

How can they help someone who’s offering support?

Faculty and staff who are concerned about a student who may be distressed or disruptive can find help responding to challenging circumstances and making a referral to the Student Care office.

External resources

24/7 support from those who understand cyberbullying: Bullying Canada

Get help, external link via text, phone and email 24/7/365 from the Bullying Canada team that’s trained to support and counsel those being cyberbullied.

The Get help, external link page also includes information on recognizing side effects of bullying, what you can do about bullying and the dispelling of myths around bullying.

Being on the receiving end of cyberstalking is never your fault. If someone has chosen to exploit your online posts, there are ways to shut them out so you can continue living your life and sharing it online with those you trust.

The Kapersky Lab’s tips to protect yourself from cyberstalkers, external link includes sections on how to secure your computer and phone, and what to do if you’re cyberstalked.

It’s a good idea to tell someone you trust as well as someone at the university about your cyberstalking or cyberbullying experiences. The Toronto Police Service also encourages anonymous reporting of incidents to Crime Stoppers by calling 222-TIPS or  416-222-8477.

If you notice something, say something

Safer online communities are fostered by our collective efforts to uphold standards of respect and security. If you notice harmful behaviours or actions online, you can intervene in a way that feels safe for you to.

Options for intervening include:

  • Reporting a post or entire account to a social media platform as abusive, harassing or exploitative of others.
  • Asking someone who’s posting harmful information or comments to stop.
  • Checking in with someone who’s been harmed by another’s behaviour and letting them know what’s happening is neither okay nor their fault.

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