By: Miles Hector

Bullying is a common occurrence that almost everyone has experienced at one point in their lives. While most people can relate to this experience, the ways in which generations over time have dealt with bullying have proved to be ever-changing. 

Atomic wedgies and locker-stuffing are familiar bullying tactics to anyone who’s lived through it (or those who love watching 80s movies!). But bullying as of late goes far beyond in-person interactions and has expanded into technology and social media. 

For those tech-savvy parents who grew up using the internet, you may feel like you know all there is to know about online bullying. But with how quickly technology changes, is your knowledge up-to-date? Read on to see if you’re familiar with the three relatively new types of cyberbullying and their impact on children today.


Catfishing is when someone pretends to be someone else online, often using real photos taken from social media. Just like catfish are in no way related to cats, online catfish are completely separate from the image they portray. The term comes from a 2010 documentary which was later adapted into MTV’s popular reality series Catfish: The TV Show

There can be many reasons behind why someone would want to mislead another person online with a fake identity; not everyone who has catfished has done so with the intent to bully. The most common reason for catfishing is personal insecurity. For example, people coming to terms with their sexuality might use catfishing as a way to discreetly explore their curiosities. Others may catfish on dating profiles because they think they’re “ugly” or undeserving of love. 

Catfishing is a bigger issue when the intent is to harm, humiliate or exact revenge. As the MTV show proved, many jilted lovers use catfishing as a way to get back at someone they feel deserves it. 

Effects of Catfishing

The impact of being catfished can take a heavy toll on the mental health of its victims. 

  • Loss of trust: Inability to trust others after being catfished is extremely common, especially if there were romantic feelings involved. Victims may find it hard to establish trust in their next relationship and may be wary of social media. 
  • Shame: Telling friends and family about someone new and exciting you met online only to find out they weren’t real can result in severe embarrassment and shame.
  • Anxiety and depression: The emotional damage of “getting played” or fooled can develop into chronic mental health disorders if not addressed.  
  • Financial loss: It’s not uncommon for catfishing victims to send money to someone online they think they can trust, or to travel great distances to meet someone who doesn’t exist. 


With the advent of social media, more and more of our personal information is being put online. When someone is “doxxed”, it means that their private identifying information has been published to the internet without their consent. The intent is often malicious, and this information could include your home and work addresses, medical, financial and other personal documents. The term is thought to come from 90s hacker culture when hackers were digging up and “dropping dox” (i.e documents). 

Just like catfishing, not everyone who participates in doxxing does it to cyberbully someone else. There are countless youtube videos of community vigilantes doxxing alleged criminals to aid law enforcement. You may have heard about people doxxing individuals involved with the Capitol riot in the United States on January 6, 2021. But when it comes to cyberbullying, doxxing is done with the intent to shame, coerce or incite violence. 

Effects of Doxxing 

The most significant fear people have after being doxxed is their safety being jeopardized. Living with that fear can have dire consequences. 

  • Anxiety: Feeling like the whole world has access to your private information can be maddening. Many victims of doxxing are unable to continue to feel safe at home or work because they feel like they’re being watched. 
  • Stalking: With social media, it’s common for people to join in on a doxxer harassing an individual albeit in person. This is especially true if the dox victim is famous or generally disliked by the public. Celebrities regularly deal with fans showing up at their residence after they’ve been doxxed. 
  • Financial loss: If your address has been leaked, moving may be the only way to feel safe again. Some victims of doxxing are even fired if management feels that the leaked personal information reflects negatively on the business.


Fraping is a serious offence wherein someone logs into your social media account and impersonates you while posting offensive, inappropriate content. The term combines “Facebook” and “rape” but it can happen on other social media sites as well. 

The nature of fraping means that anyone who performs this kind of cyberbullying could face criminal charges. Under Canada’s Criminal Code, a person who commits fraping could be charged with identity theft, defamatory libel, criminal harassment or other offences. 

Is fraping always malicious? Not quite. It’s not unusual for young children to post inappropriate messages or images on friends’ pages if they leave their account open. For the most part, this is harmless and is just meant to cause mild embarrassment. However, when this isn’t done by friends as a harmless joke, the consequences can be disastrous. 

Effects of Fraping 

Accounts have sometimes been taken over a while by the time some people notice they’re being fraped. Whether they do find out, the damage to their life could already be extensive. 

  • Damaged reputation: After getting their account back, victims of fraping have to rebuild relationships as well as restore their reputation.
  • Loss of opportunity: Remember that things posted to the internet are never really deleted. Obscene images or messages that were once on your social media page may be found by employers in the future. 
  • Cyberstalking: When fraping is done maliciously and the victim recovers their account, they usually change their password, update security or make new accounts. All good measures, but motivated frapists often stalk new profiles or hack old ones to cause further harm.  

With more information on these three types of cyberbullying, we can better understand the ways modern bullying has changed and the long-term effects it has. Seeing how fast modern technology and online trends grow, it’s important to continue educating ourselves on the new face of bullying. The only way to combat bullying is by developing a greater understanding of it, and having honest communication with both the bullies and the victims.