Cyber violence

Technology is a useful tool for learning and work, but in the wrong hands, it can become a sharp tool for causing psychological, physical, sexual and economic harm. Punches with a keyboard are part of the dark side of the internet and can hurt more than punches with a fist, just as a mean word can hurt more than a slap.

What does violence look like in cyber daily life?

We usually divide cyber violence into two categories: VERBAL (threats, blackmail, insults, hate speech….) and GRAPHIC (unauthorized photographing and recording, unauthorized publishing of photos and videos, edited photos and videos…).


– inappropriate comments on social networks
– unauthorized use of our devices (mobile phones, laptops, tablets) or our accounts on the internet (social network accounts, e-mail accounts…),
– sharing private communication, photos or videos with others without consent

At this link you will find 12 types of cyber abusers, as defined by our colleagues from the European Women’s Lobby.

Each of these types of cyber violence can cause different consequences, so we can have PSYCHOLOGICAL CYBER VIOLENCE (harm to our psychological wellbeing in the form of insults, threats, imposing control…), SEXUAL CYBER VIOLENCE (harm to our wellbeing in the field of sexuality, through e.g., inappropriate comments about how we look, sharing intimate photographs or videos…), ECONOMIC CYBER VIOLENCE (using our password for making unauthorized purchases…).

Cyber Violence is every form of violence perpetrated through abuse of technology. This can be violence on social networks, chat apps, gaming platforms and generally anywhere on the internet where communication occurs. Cyber violence can be perpetrated by persons who know you, persons you are in a partner relationship with or complete strangers.

Who is affected?

Though cyber violence affects both women and men, girls and boys, data show that WOMEN AND GIRLS ARE MOST THE FREQUENT VICTIMS of this form of violence and that they are exposed to especially violent forms of aggression, such as stalking and sexual harassment. Estimates are that in Europe 9 MILLION GIRLS HAVE EXPERIENCED SOME KIND OF CYBER VIOLENCE BY THE TIME THEY ARE 15 YEARS OLD. This means that cyber violence is also gender based. Online violence is always connected to violence in the physical environment. It can start online and continue in the “real” world or it can be the continuation of violence that started in the physical world.

The CONSEQUENCES of cyber violence can be just as dangerous as if the violence had occurred offline. They can vary – from fear, anxiety and lack of focus to insomnia, depression, isolation and even suicide.


Is this violence?

See if you can recognize what is and what isn’t cyber violence.


“My partner controls my accounts daily and reads my messages because he is jealous and is afraid that I will text with someone else.”


“If I don’t like someone’s photo on Insta, I have the right to insult this person. It’s not ‘for real’ anyway, it’s just a comment.”


“My friend posted a screenshot of our private chat, even though I told her not to do it! Now I’m receiving offensive messages. :(“


“If I want to post someone else’s private photos, even if the person in the photos doesn’t want to – I have the right to do this because they are on MY phone.”


“So what if I send girls dick picks, though they said they don’t want them. Everyone is doing it, so why shouldn’t I?”