On my Facebook account I saw dozens of messages saying 'good luck'. I didn’t understand why. Then I found out that someone had hacked my profile. Pretending to me, someone posted that I had cancer. Nobody believed that my profile had been hacked. Everyone thought I was lying about it. A stream of hate messages followed. It went on for weeks. I was devastated.
The internet is part of our lives. Violence and abuse also happen online. On a mobile phone, a smartphone, a tablet, a game console or a computer.
Online violence is as old as the internet itself. In the past, violence happened via MSN, today it’s via Snapchat and TikTok.
Cyberbullying is online violence. People post or type things they don't dare to say out loud. In an online message or in response to a post.
You can also damage someone's stuff online. By sending a virus, for example. Or by hacking into someone's social media account and changing their password.
You can insult someone online or make fun of him/her. Or threaten someone. "Tomorrow before work, we’ll beat you up." You can post messages such as this anonymously.
People on social media sometimes see hate messages. People are frustrated or angry and spout hate on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Hate messages can be racist or homophobic.
My girlfriend asked for a sexy photo. I sent the photo via snapchat. I saw that she had taken a screenshot, but she promised to delete the photo. A few weeks later, we broke up during the holidays. Back at school everyone was staring at me. My friends said the photo was circulating. Since then I am often called a slut. I hate school.
Sexual violence can also happen online. For example, 'revenge porn' when someone spreads sexual images without the consent of the person in those images.
Sextortion is another example of online sexual violence. In the case of sextortion the victim is persuaded via the internet to send sexual images. The recipients of the images then threaten to distribute the images if the victim doesn’t pay.
Have you experienced online bullying or hate mail? Are you worried about a child experiencing this? Do you sometimes cross the line on the internet yourself?
Contact helpline 1712 free of charge and anonymously. Professional counsellors will listen to your story and give you information and advice.