Cyberbullying is a term we’ve heard a lot lately, but it might not exactly speak to you. With technology and trends changing daily, the way people use the internet to target or isolate someone, changes too. Back in the day, a person might have bumped you down in their MySpace top friends or made a fake MSN account to trick you into saying you like someone. Fast-forward to 2018: someone uploads two photos of kids in their class to their Instagram story, creates a poll and asks people to vote between the two looks, or someone is getting roasted in a group chat. We’ve all seen stuff online that we wish wasn’t there, whether it’s a mean comment, drama, or photos uploaded to embarrass someone. Usually these people, often called “keyboard warriors”, will say mean things online that they wouldn’t say IRL because they can hide behind a screen.
So, what can I do?
Great question! Depending on your style and what you feel confident doing, helping your friend could be as easy as sending a DM to make sure they’re all good, or maybe it feels right to step up and call out the bad stuff online. There are many ways that you can help out and it can make a HUGE difference to someone being bullied. Here are some other ideas:
STEP ONE: CHALLENGE THE HATERS
If you feel confident, stand up to them and make it clear that what they’re doing is wrong. There are a few ways you can do this online, depending on where the drama is going down:
- You could drop a self-explanatory GIF in the group chat, or in a comment on a post. Here are a few GIFs that we prepared earlier:
- Just post a *shhh emoji* or *thumbs down emoji* to let them know it’s better to be silent then to say something intended to make someone feel bad
- Then exit the group chat or comment thread like you just executed a perfect virtual *mic drop*
[mic drop gif]
STEP TWO: DM YOUR FRIEND
If you’re not the kind of person who feels like they could easily step into the line of fire, there are other ways you can show your support. Some ideas include:
- DM your friend a *virtual hug* or something along the lines of “hey dw about them—you’re so much better than that!” or “hey are you okay? Ignore those guys—they couldn’t be more wrong!”
- Send your friend a hilarious video or tag them in a funny meme, there’s nothing better than a fire meme or funny video to get their mind off of things
STEP THREE: HELP YOUR FRIEND REPORT
Those reporting tools are there for a reason! Do your bit to make the internet a more positive place and report posts online that are intentionally trying to hurt someone. Here are the ways you can help your friend report:
- Report the content to the social media site or app it was posted on (reporting is anonymous on all social media sites), and encourage your friend to report it as well, to help get it taken down faster
- If the content has not been removed after 48 hours, encourage your friend to report it—and we may be able to help get it taken down
BONUS TIP: If you’re a legend of a friend, you could even sit with them after school, and help fill out the reporting form! *flex arm emoji*
STEP FOUR: GET OUTSIDE HELP
Make sure you check in with your friend if you feel like they’re really down. For example, maybe they don’t turn up to school for a few days, or seem to be more withdrawn and less talkative—it’s probably a good idea to get some extra help. You and your friend are not alone! Here are some good places to go:
- Talk to an adult you trust; whether it’s a teacher or counsellor at your school or a family member, they can often give you a different perspective and good advice about what to do next.
- Refer them to Headspace or Kids Helpline where they can talk to a pro counsellor online or on the phone anonymously, or alternatively, send them here, where they can choose between many different online counselling services, depending on what they prefer.
Don’t know where to start? The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on Friday 16th March, is a great opportunity to encourage your mates to be inclusive, online and offline!
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