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The terrifying craze of ‘baiting’ where cyber-bullies lie about teenage girls having sex online… and even name and shame them

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SO SICK

The horrifying craze can have a hugely damaging effect on victims

A TERRIFYING new social media craze sees people cyber-bullying teenage girls by lying about them having sex online.

Known as “baiting”, the horrific phenomenon is becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK.

 'Baiting' involves false claims about a girl having sex being made online, usually in a caption of a photo which links to her social media pages (picture posed by models)

Getty – Contributor

‘Baiting’ involves false claims about a girl having sex being made online, usually in a caption of a photo which links to her social media pages (picture posed by models)

Bullies post photos or videos of their victims – which can also include boys – to Twitter, YouTube or Instagram, often calling them “sluts” and accusing them of being promiscuous.

They name the teenagers too, often going into lurid detail about what the girl has done – but it’s all made up. Often, the point seems to be to humiliate someone the poster doesn’t like.

Sometimes pictures of the victims in their underwear will be used, with the shots usually stolen from their personal social media pages.

As well as naming and shaming them, the bullies link to the person’s social sites too.

This makes it even easier for others to target them or comment on the rumours.

The whole point of the sick phenomenon is to humiliate the victim by posting lies about their sex life.

 The phenomenon can be hugely damaging to victims, as the gossip spreads around their school and causes them to be victimised even more

Getty – Contributor

The phenomenon can be hugely damaging to victims, as the gossip spreads around their school and causes them to be victimised even more

The sites tend to be locally focused to, meaning those who are targeted have to contend with friends, family and people at their schools seeing the posts.

“Baiting” seems to be the 2017 version of playgound bullying.

It’s unknown exactly how many people have been victims, but Lauren Seager-Smith, chief executive of the children’s anti-bullying charity Kidscape, believes almost all young people know someone it’s happened to.

She told The Sunday Times: “When I was in school in the 1980s and 1990s you’d get gossip about people having done something at a party but it would fizzle out.

Most parents think bullying is more intense now than it was when they were kids

“The difference now is this constant 24-hour churn of comment, information and the potential to reach a very large group very quickly.

“And there’s the ability to share images and videos.”

The impact of “baiting” is far-reaching.

As well as the shame of the accusations, victims will often be incessantly bullied at school because of them.

The may be shouted at in the street, targeted in lessons and feel depressed or anxious.

Extreme cases might lead to self harm as kids don’t have the tools to cope with the shame.

What is cyber-bullying?

Cyber-bullying includes:

  • sending threatening or abusive text messages
  • creating and sharing embarrassing images or videos
  • ‘trolling’ – the sending of menacing or upsetting messages on social networks, chat rooms or online games
  • excluding children from online games, activities or friendship groups
  • setting up hate sites or groups about a particular child
  • encouraging young people to self-harm
  • voting for or against someone in an abusive poll
  • creating fake accounts, hijacking or stealing online identities to embarrass a young person or cause trouble using their name
  • sending explicit messages, also known as sexting
  • pressuring children into sending sexual images or engaging in sexual conversations.

Source: NSPCC

Cyber-bullying is known to be on the rise, with 34 per cent of students saying they’d experienced it when questioned in 2015.

Last year a survey of teachers found 40% had seen a huge rise in this type of victimisation.

One dad previously spoke of the devastating impact “baiting” had on his teenage daughter.

She was named in a YouTube video which saw the presenter ask young people in a shopping centre to identify anyone they thought was sexually promiscuous.

The accusation was baseless, but caused her to be brutally bullied.

In 2016, Childline ran 12,000 counselling sessions with young people who wanted to discuss online issues.

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