Cyberbullying was practically unknown to the general public only a few years ago but according to a study conducted by McAfee, 87% of teens have encountered cyberbullying and 34% of students claim to have been a victim of cyberbullying.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is harassment by means of electronic devices (computers, cell phones, etc.) via virtual communication tools such as texts, chat rooms, social media, etc. Examples of cyberbullying include:
- Mean, threatening, or harassing emails or text messages.
- Rumors spread online (via texts, emails, networking or social media sites, etc.)
- Embarrassing photographs or videos disseminated by virtual means.
- Phony online profiles.
Why Investigate Cyberbullying?
Statistics give us a good idea of the negative impact bullying is having – particularly on children:
- 83% of victims feel that bullying has hurt their self-esteem.
- Nearly one in three bullying victims has self-harmed.
- Nearly one in three bullying victims has had suicidal thoughts.
- 10% of bullying victims have actually attempted suicide.
Additionally, the federal government reports that children who are cyberbullied are more likely to receive poor grades, skip school, have more health problems, experience bullying in person, and use drugs and alcohol. Cyberbullying isn’t just a problem for teens. Increasing numbers of adults are becoming the subjects of personal harassment online. Business or other financial interests may also be the target of a cyberbullying attack.
If you have recently become the victim of internet cyberbullying, it may be time to consult with a private investigator – like a member of Trustify’s network of cyberbullying experts.
What Does a Cyberbullying Investigation Entail?
It’s important to act quickly when there is suspicion of cyberbullying to:
- Identify the cyberbully
- Gather evidence of the harassment
- Report any illegal activities to the proper authorities
- Put a halt to any further cyberbullying activities
- Remove all signs of the cyberbullying from internet and any other virtual locations, if and where possible
In some cases, evidence of cyberbullying collected as part of the investigation may be used in support of a civil lawsuit or damages demand.
Starting a Cyberbullying Investigation
Starting a cyberbullying investigation with Trustify is simple and stress-free. Here’s how it works:
1. Request a Consultation: Submit your case online or by phone to schedule your consultation. We'll ask for the details we need to get your case matched with an investigator and provide a cost estimate for your case.
2. Consult With Your Investigator: A licensed private investigator will contact you to talk to you about the purpose and goals of the investigation, and to collect any relevant information about your case. You can be expected to be asked questions like:
- What form (websites, texts, emails, social media entries, photos, videos, etc.) has the cyberbullying taken?
- Who is the target of the cyberbullying activities (you, your child, someone else)?
- When did the cyberbullying activities take place? When did you first become aware of them?
- What are your expectations and goals regarding the investigation?
- Will you be pursuing criminal charges and/or civil litigation regarding the cyberbullying? Will evidence gathered during the investigation be used in court proceedings?
3. Investigation in Progress: Methods typically employed by investigators in cyberbullying cases include:
- Email analysis of the client’s account
- Social Media investigations (if applicable)
- Working with any support and harassment staff of any relevant website in order to assess and potentially remove material that violates either the law or terms of service
4. Case Updates & Final Report: Your investigator will keep you apprised of all developments in real-time. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, a full report will be provided along with any court-admissible evidence. In addition, your private investigator may be available to testify in court, if necessary and agreed-upon before the start of the investigation.
What Investigators Will Not Do
Investigators will not step beyond the bounds of the law or any applicable professional standards at any time during the course of your cyberbullying investigation. It is also important to note that not all content can be removed from the internet, and that sometimes attempting to do so can exacerbate the situation. Investigators will not intimidate, threaten, or hack into websites or computers in order to remove or suppress content.