Cyberbullying (Sexual) (& Cyber Flashing & Online Flashing)

Sexual Cyberbullying is one term for a form of online sexual harassment. Other terms may include Cyber Flashing or “online flashing.”

Sexual cyberbullying is when “various forms of technology including cell phone messaging, social media, and other online tools are used to harass another individual in a sexually explicit fashion, or to coerce an individual into providing private sexual information or engage in activities which are sexual in nature.”1

Other terms may include: cyber harassment, cyber abuse, cybersexism, cybermisogyny, to name a few. Importantly, no physical contact is needed to shame and sexually harass someone online or on their smartphone.

Cyber Flashing, or “online flashing,” are other examples of cyberbullying in which unsolicited “dick pics” or other sexually explicit images are sent to smartphones enabled with certain technologies that make it easy to send images to people nearby.

The sourced articles below should provide you more information on how people are sexually harassed online and on their smartphones.

(Also, see the Revenge Porn Topic and the Sextortion Topic on

Footnote: 1. “Sexual cyberbullying: Review, critique, & future directions,”, 1/2019

  1. Online Abuse 101

    “The online harassment of women, sometimes called Cybersexism or cybermisogyny, is specifically gendered abuse targeted at women and girls online. It incorporates sexism, racism, religious prejudice, homophobia and transphobia.”

    WMC Speech Project,, accessed on 4/28/2019

  2. Bipartisan Task Force To End Sexual Violence Holds Roundtable On Cyber Harassment And Abuse

    “Today, [4/3/2019] Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), David Joyce (R-OH), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and John Katko (R-NY), the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, held a Task Force roundtable on cyber harassment and abuse. The Bipartisan Task Force is raising awareness about the prevalence of cyber harassment and abuse. According to the Pew Research Center, 20% of adult internet users have been affected by cyberstalking, persistent harassing emails, or other unwanted online contact. Additionally, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative reports that 1 out of every 8 social media users have been targets of nonconsensual pornography. Online abuse like ‘sextortion,’ ‘swatting,’ and ‘doxing’ are also common and have long-term ramifications on those who experience it.”

    Press Release,, 4/3/2019

  3. Women Who’ve Been Cyberflashed On Why Dick Pics Are No Laughing Matter

    “‘Cyberflashing’, as the phenomenon has become known, is when someone sends an intimate, sexual image of themselves to someone without the recipient’s consent. It can be done through features like AirDrop or Bluetooth in a public place, or on dating apps, via DMs, email and other modes of communication. The practice is often done by anonymous men to women in order to intimidate or provoke reaction.”

    Natalie Gil,, 2/8/2019

  4. What Makes Men Send Dick Pics?

    “A 2018 YouGov poll found that, shockingly, four in 10 women aged between 18 and 36 have been sent a photograph of a penis without having asked for one – colloquially known as an unsolicited ‘dick pic’. (Only 5% of men in this age group admitted to having sent one.)”

    Moya Sarner,, 1/8/2019

  5. Mind The Gap: The Problem Of Cyber-Flashing And Tech-Enabled Harassment

    “Sexual harassment, however, is now being delivered digitally and anonymously. And all you know is that the offender is nearby. AirDrop is a handy feature on iPhones. It uses Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to send images from handset to handset. If you are at a party and want to share photos of the event, AirDrop is a convenient way to do it. But if you leave your accessibility settings open – and it is easily done – your phone remains vulnerable to receive any file, from any person, long after the party has ended. The name of your phone is visible. Anything like ‘Joanna’s iPhone’ is likely to reveal your gender. Anyone within 30 feet can then send you an image. Even if you do not accept it, the automatic ‘preview’ box reveals all.”

    Joanna Hardy,, 1/2/2019

  6. Sexual Cyberbullying: Review, Critique, & Future Directions

    “Sexual cyberbullying is a relatively novel issue wherein various forms of technology including cell phone messaging, social media, and other online tools are used to harass another individual in a sexually explicit fashion, or to coerce an individual into providing private sexual information or engage in activities which are sexual in nature.”

    Anandi C. Ehman and Alan M.Gross,, 1/2019

  7. How Apple Could Easily Fix The Iphone’s “Cyber Flashing” Problem

    “iPhone users can only get cyber flashed by a stranger if they have actively switched their AirDrop settings from ‘Contacts Only’ to ‘Everyone.'”

    Mark Sullivan,, 11/30/2018

  8. Lawmakers Want ‘Cyber Flashing’ Outlawed, Call For Jail Time For Anyone Doing It

    “Imagine a lewd image popping up on your phone from a complete stranger. It’s called ‘Cyber Flashing.’ More New Yorkers say it’s happening to them. Now two [New York] councilmen want jail time for anyone caught doing it.”

    Lisa Rozner,, 11/30/2018

  9. From Non-Consensual Pornography To Image-Based Sexual Abuse: Charting The Course Of A Problem With Many Names

    Abstract: “Every day, people’s most intimate moments are recorded, uploaded and circulated online without their consent. This gross invasion of privacy – commonly known as ‘revenge pornography’ – has become part of the scenery in cyberspace. But the name ‘revenge pornography’ fails to communicate the scope and severity of this harm. It is a victim blaming term that risks misdirecting government policy and misinforming the public. So, in order to mobilise against ‘revenge porn’, activists have begun renaming it. ‘Non-consensual pornography’, ‘image-based sexual abuse’, and ‘digital rape’ are just a few of their new coinages. This research seeks to understand how ‘revenge pornography’ is being renamed and reframed in different contexts. To do so, it draws on interviews with thirty activists, experts, and scholars from twelve countries and seven professions. The article begins by comparing their alternative terminologies, bringing to light points of similarity and difference. It then looks forward, identifying new developments in activists’ thought and action. Despite their different vocabularies, this research finds among respondents a shared understanding upon which they could build an enduring coalition.”

    Sophie Maddocks, Journal Australian Feminist Studies, Taylor & Francis Ltd,, 11/1/2018

  10. People Are Using Apple’s Airdrop Feature To Send Gross, Explicit Pictures To Strangers — But There’s A Simple Fix To Protect Yourself

    “To avoid receiving unsolicited photos, it’s worth checking your AirDrop settings now to safeguard your iOS device. Here’s how to do it: Under the ‘General’ tab in your iPhone’s Settings app, ‘AirDrop’ is near the top. From there, you can choose between making your Apple device discoverable to ‘Everyone’ or to ‘Contacts only,’ or even turn receiving off completely.”

    Paige Leskin,, 10/6/2018

  11. A Survival Guide To Dick Pics (Both Solicited And Unsolicited)

    “Dick pics weren’t even a possibility before widespread internet and cellphone access. Sure, really committed folks could snail mail penis photos. But the distinct experience of suddenly receiving digital schlong in the palm of your hand is pretty much exclusive to the smartphone age.”

    Jess Joho,, 8/22/2018

  12. Gross Guys Keep Airdropping Dick Pics To Strangers In The Subway

    “The first reported case of this type of cyberflashing occurred in 2015, when Lorraine Crighton-Smith received multiple photos of an anonymous man’s genitals via AirDrop. After she declined the first image of the man’s genitals, another similar image quickly appeared. She reported it to the authorities but they said since she never accepted the photos, there was no evidence for them to go off of.”

    Carina Hsieh,, 8/14/2017

  13. Why Men Send Pics Of Their Junk

    “It’s probable that at least some of these men receive a sexual thrill at the idea of an unknown woman seeing their genitalia. It may be an aspect of exhibitionism, and some of these men probably masturbate as a part of the act, imagining that woman seeing the picture they sent. The fact that a woman rejects them for it is not salient, because for many such men, it is the woman’s disgust and rejection which is actually part of the turn-on. These are likely the same men that used to be in trenchcoats on street corners.”

    David J. Ley, PhD,, 2/18/2016