Cyberbullying "involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others. -Bill Belsey" 
The National Crime Prevention Council's definition of cyber-bullying is "when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person." StopCyberbullying.org, an expert organization dedicated to internet safety, security and privacy, defines cyberbullying as: "a situation when a child, tween or teen is repeatedly 'tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted' by another child or teenager using text messaging, email, instant messaging or any other type of digital technology." Other researchers use similar language to describe the phenomenon.
Cyber-bullying can be as simple as continuing to send e-mail to someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender, but it may also include threats, sexual remarks, pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech), ganging up on victims by making them the subject of ridicule in forums, and posting false statements as fact aimed at humiliation.
Cyber-bullies may disclose victims' personal data (e.g. real name, address, or workplace/schools) at websites or forums or may pose as the identity of a victim for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames or ridicules them. Some cyberbullies may also send threatening and harassing emails and instant messages to the victims, while other post rumors or gossip and instigate others to dislike and gang up on the target.
Though the use of sexual remarks and threats are sometimes present in cyber-bullying, it is not the same as sexual harassment and does not necessarily involve sexual predators.
The practice of cyberbullying is not limited to children and, while the behavior is identified by the same definition in adults, the distinction in age groups is referred to as cyberstalking or cyberharassment when perpetrated by adults toward adults, sometimes directed on the basis of sex. Common tactics used by cyberstalkers are to vandalize a search engine or encyclopedia, to threaten a victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. A repeated pattern of such actions against a target by an adult constitutes cyberstalking.
In the summer of 2008, researchers Sameer Hinduja (Florida Atlantic University) and Justin Patchin (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) published a book on cyber-bullying that summarized the current state of cyber-bullying research. (Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying). Their research documents that cyber-bullying instances have been increasing over the last several years. They also report findings from the most recent study of cyber-bullying among middle-school students. Using a random sample of approximately 2000 middle-school students from a large school district in southern United States, about 10% of respondents had been cyber-bullied in the previous 30 days while over 17% reported being cyber-bullied at least once in their lifetime. While these rates are a bit lower than some of the findings from their previous research, Hinduja and Patchin point out that the earlier studies were predominantly conducted among older adolescents and Internet samples. That is, older youth use the Internet more frequently and are more likely to experience cyber-bullying than younger children.
The National Crime Prevention Council reports cyber-bullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens.
In 2007, Debbie Heimowitz a Stanford University Master's student created Adina's Deck, a film based on Stanford accredited research. She worked in focus groups for ten weeks in three different schools to learn about the problem of cyber-bullying in Northern CA. The findings determined that over 60% of students had been cyber-bullied and were victims of cyber-bullying. The film is now being used in classrooms nationwide as it was designed around learning goals pertaining to problems students had understanding the topic. The middle school of Megan Meier is reportedly using the film as a solution to the crisis in their town.
A 2006 survey by Harris Interactive reported:
Similarly, a Canadian study found:
The Youth Internet Safety Survey-2, conducted by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in 2005, found that 9% of the young people in the survey had experienced some form of harassment. The survey was a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,500 youth 10–17 years old. One third reported feeling distressed by the incident, with distress being more likely for younger respondants and those who were the victims of aggressive harassment (including being telephoned, sent gifts, or visited at home by the harasser). Compared to youth not harassed online, victims are more likely to have social problems. On the other hand, youth who harass others are more likely to have problems with rule breaking and aggression. Significant overlap is seen — youth who are harassed are significantly more likely to also harass others.
Hinduja and Patchin completed a study in the summer of 2005 of approximately 1,500 Internet-using adolescents and found that over one-third of youth reported being victimized online, and over 16% of respondents admitted to cyber-bullying others. While most of the instances of cyber-bullying involved relatively minor behavior (41% were disrespected, 19% were called names), over 12% were physically threatened and about 5% were scared for their safety.
Notably, less than 15% of victims told an adult about the incident.
Additional research by Hinduja and Patchin found that youth who report being victims of cyber-bullying also experience stress or strain that is related to offline problem behaviors such as running away from home, cheating on a school test, skipping school, or using alcohol or marijuana. The authors acknowledge that both of these studies provide only preliminary information about the nature and consequences of online bullying, due to the methodological challenges associated with an online survey.
According to a 2005 survey by the National Children's Home charity and Tesco Mobile of 770 youth between the ages of 11 and 19, 20% of respondents revealed that they had been bullied via electronic means. Almost three-quarters (73%) stated that they knew the bully, while 26% stated that the offender was a stranger. 10% of responders indicated that another person has taken a picture and/or video of them via a cellular phone camera, consequently making them feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or threatened. Many youths are not comfortable telling an authority figure about their cyber-bullying victimization for fear their access to technology will be taken from them; while 24% and 14% told a parent or teacher respectively, 28% did not tell anyone while 41% told a friend.
A survey by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in 2000 found that 6% of the young people in the survey had experienced some form of harassment including threats and negative rumours and 2% had suffered distressing harassment.
Reporting on the results from a meta analysis from European Union countries, Hasebrink et al (2009) estimated (via median results) that approximately 18% of European young people had been "bullied/harassed/stalked" via the internet and mobile phones. Cyber-harassment rates for young people across the EU member states ranged from 10% to 52%.
The nation-wide Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Survey (Cross et al, 2009) assessed cyberbullying experiences among 7,418 students. Rates of cyberbullying increased with age, with 4.9% of students in Year 4 reporting cyberbullying compared to 7.9% in year nine. Cross et al., (2009) reported that rates of bullying and harrassing others were lower, but also increased with age. Only 1.2% of Year 4 students reported cyberbullying others compared to 5.6% of Year 9 students.
Certain characteristics inherent in online technologies increase the likelihood that they will be exploited for deviant purposes. Unlike physical bullying, electronic bullies can remain virtually anonymous using temporary email accounts, pseudonyms in chat rooms, instant messaging programs, cell-phone text messaging, and other Internet venues to mask their identity; this perhaps frees them from normative and social constraints on their behavior.
Furthermore, cyber-bullies might be emboldened when using electronic means to carry out their antagonistic agenda because it takes less energy and courage to express hurtful comments using a keypad or a keyboard than with one’s voice.
Additionally, electronic forums often lack supervision. While chat hosts regularly observe the dialog in some chat rooms in an effort to police conversations and evict offensive individuals, personal messages sent between users (such as electronic mail or text messages) are viewable only by the sender and the recipient, thereby outside the regulatory reach of such authorities. In addition, when teenagers know more about computers and cellular phones than their parents or guardians, they are therefore able to operate the technologies without concern that a parent will discover their experience with bullying (whether as a victim or offender).
Another factor is the inseparability of a cellular phone from its owner, making that person a perpetual target for victimization. Users often need to keep their phone turned on for legitimate purposes, which provides the opportunity for those with malicious intentions to engage in persistent unwelcome behavior such as harassing telephone calls or threatening and insulting statements via the cellular phone’s text messaging capabilities. Cyber-bullying thus penetrates the walls of a home, traditionally a place where victims could seek refuge from other forms of bullying.
One possible advantage for victims of cyber-bullying over traditional bullying is that they may sometimes be able to avoid it simply by avoiding the site/chat room in question. Email addresses and phone numbers can be changed; in addition, most e-mail accounts now offer services that will automatically filter out messages from certain senders before they even reach the inbox, and phones offer similar caller ID functions.
Unfortunately, this obviously does not protect against all forms of cyber bullying; publishing of defamatory material about a person on the internet is extremely difficult to prevent and once it is posted, millions of people can potentially download it before it is removed. Some perpetrators may post victims' photos, or victims' edited photos like defaming captions or pasting victims' faces on nude bodies. Examples of famous forums for disclosing personal data or photos to "punish" the "enemies" include the Hong Kong Golden Forum, Live Journal, and more recently JuicyCampus. Despite policies that describe cyber-bullying as a violation of the terms of service, many social networking Web sites have been used to that end.
Legislation geared at penalizing cyber-bullying has been introduced in a number of U.S. states including New York, Missouri, Rhode Island and Maryland. At least seven states passed laws against digital harassment in 2007. Dardenne Prairie of Springfieled, Missouri passed a city ordinance making online harassment a misdemeanor. The city of St. Charles, Missouri has passed a similar ordinance. Missouri is among other states where lawmakers are pursuing state legislation, with a task forces expected to have “cyberbullying” laws drafted and implemented. In June, 2008, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) proposed a federal law that would criminalize acts of cyberbullying.
Lawmakers are seeking to address cyberbullying with new legislation because there's currently no specific law on the books that deals with it. A fairly new federal cyberstalking law might address such acts, according to Aftab, but no one has been prosecuted under it yet. The proposed federal law would make it illegal to use electronic means to "coerce, intimidate, harass or cause other substantial emotional distress."
In August 2008, the California state legislature passed one of the first laws in the country to deal directly with cyberbullying. The legislation, Assembly Bill 86 2008, gives school administrators the authority to discipline students for bullying others offline or online. This law took effect, January 1, 2009. 
A recent ruling first seen in the UK determined that it is possible for an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to be liable for the content of sites which it hosts, setting a precedent that any ISP should treat a notice of complaint seriously and investigate it immediately.
criminalizes the making of threats via Internet.
Research had demonstrated a number of serious consequences of cyber-bullying victimization. For example, victims have lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of emotional responses, cyberbullying back, being scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed.
One of the most damaging effects is that a victim begins to avoid friends and activities, often the very intention of the cyber-bully.
Cyber-bullying campaigns are sometimes so damaging that victims have committed suicide. There are at least four examples in the United States where cyber-bullying has been linked to the suicide of a teenager. The suicide of Megan Meier is a recent example that led to the conviction of the adult perpetrator of the attacks.
The reluctance youth have in telling an authority figure about instances of cyber-bullying has led to fatal outcomes. At least three children between the ages of 12 and 13 have committed suicide due depression brought on by cyber-bullying, according to reports by USA Today and the Baltimore Examiner. These would include the suicide of Ryan Halligan and the suicide of Megan Meier, the latter of which resulted in United States v. Lori Drew.</ref>
Studies are being conducted by large companies to gauge loss of revenue through malicious false postings. Cyberstalkers seek to damage their victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. A 2008 High Court ruling determined that, generally speaking, slander is when a defamatory statement has been made orally without justification. Libelous statements are those that are recorded with some degree of permanence. This would include statements made by email or on online bulletin boards.
Cyber-bullying is not limited to personal attacks or children. Cyberharassment, referred to as cyberstalking when involving adults, takes place in the workplace or on company web sites, blogs or product reviews.
A survey of 1,072 workers by the Dignity and Work Partnership found that one in five had been bullied at work by e-mail and research has revealed 1 in 10 UK employees believes cyber-bullying is a problem in their workplace.
Cyber-bullying also is rampant on Wikipedia entries, Amazon.com and iTunes, where product reviews along with other consumer-generated data are being more closely monitored and flagged for content that is deemed malicious and biased as these sites have become tools to cyberbully by way of malicious requests for deletion of articles, vandalism, abuse of administrative positions, and ganging up on products to post "false" reviews and vote products down.
Cyberstalkers use posts, forums, journals and other online means to present a victim in a false and unflattering light. The question of liability for harassment and character assassination is particularly salient to legislative protection since the original authors of the offending material are, more often than not, not only anonymous, but untraceable. Nevertheless, abuse should be consistently brought to company staffers' attention.
Common tactics used by cyberstalkers is to vandalize a search engine or encyclopedia, to threaten a victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. Various companies provide cases of cyber-stalking (involving adults) follow the pattern of repeated actions against a target. While motives vary, whether romantic, a business conflict of interest, or personal dislike, the target is commonly someone whose life the stalker sees or senses elements lacking in his or her own life. Web-based products or services leveraged against cyberstalkers in the harassment or defamation of their victims.
The source of the defamation seems to come from four types of online information purveyors: Weblogs, industry forums or boards, and commercial Web sites. Studies reveal that while some motives are personal dislike, there is often direct economic motivation by the cyberstalker, including conflict of interest, and investigations reveal the responsible party is an affiliate or supplier of a competitor, or the competitor itself.
In March 2007, the Advertising Council in the United States, in partnership with the National Crime Prevention Council, U.S. Department of Justice, and Crime Prevention Coalition of America, joined to announce the launch of a new public service advertising campaign designed to educate preteens and teens about how they can play a role in ending cyber-bullying.
Cyber-bullying was the subject of a forum at the British House of Commons chaired by Tim Loughton and Louise Burfitt-Dons of Act Against Bullying. A Pew Internet and American Life survey found that 33% of teens were subject to some sort of cyber-bullying.
20 January 2008 — the Boy Scouts of America's 2008 edition of The Boy Scout Handbook addresses how to deal with online bullying. A new First Class rank requirements adds: "Describe the three things you should avoid doing related to use of the Internet. Describe a cyberbully and how you should respond to one."  
31 January 2008 — KTTV Fox 11 News based in Los Angeles, California put out a report about organized cyber-bullying on sites like Stickam by people who call themselves "/b/rothas". The site had put out report on July 26, 2007, about a subject that partly featured cyberbullying titled "hackers on steroids".
2 June 2008 — Parents, teens, teachers, and Internet executives came together at Wired Safety's International Stop Cyberbullying Conference, a two-day gathering in White Plains, New York and New York City. Executives from Facebook, Verizon, MySpace, Microsoft, and many others talked with hundreds about how to better protect themselves, personal reputations, kids and businesses online from harassment. Sponsors of the conference included McAfee, AOL, Disney, Procter & Gamble, Girl Scouts of the USA, WiredTrust, Children’s Safety Research and Innovation Centre, KidZui.com and others. This conference was being delivered in conjunction and with the support of Pace University. Topics addressed included cyberbullying and the law, with discussions about laws governing cyberbullying and how to distinguish between rudeness and criminal harassment. Additional forums addressed parents’ legal responsibilities, the need for more laws, how to handle violent postings of videos be handled, as well as the differentiation between free speech and hate speech. Cyberharassment vs. cyberbullying was a forefront topic, where age makes a difference and abusive internet behavior by adults with repeated clear intent to harm, ridicule or damage a person or business was classified as stalking harassment vs. bullying by teens and young adults.
A number of businesses and organizations are in coalition to provide awareness, protection and recourse for the escalating problem. Some aim to inform and provide measures to avoid as well as effectively terminate cyber-bullying and cyber-harassment. Anti-bullying charity Act Against Bullying launched the CyberKind campaign in August 2009 to promote positive internet usage.
Firms have developed tools to help parents combat cyberbullying. In 2008, the company Vanden unveiled a tool that allows children to instantly notify selected adults when they are bullied or harassed online. CyberBully Alert also documents the threatening message by saving a screen shot of the child's computer when the child triggers an alert. CyberPatrol and LookBothWays are two firms that keep up with internet trends.
In 2007, YouTube introduced the first Anti-Bullying Channel for youth, (BeatBullying) engaging the assistance of celebrities to tackle the problem.
Mossley Hollins High School in Manchester has recently taken the national lead in developing resources and material in the UK for schools and services to use. Will Aitken, coordinator of ICT, recently organized the countries first cyber-bullying awareness day for students and parents.
Kathy Sierra is a Java expert and tech blogger who was bullied and endured hate-speech and threats online. This online misogyny was not only directed at tech-bloggers but occurred in the FLOSS community too   .