Dealing with fight videos
A fight video is a recording of a child or young person physically assaulting another child or young person. For example by pushing, punching, hitting or kicking.
These videos are often shared online through social media posts or direct messages. The fighting can be violent and aggressive and filmed by those involved or people who are watching – often in the school playground.
Sharing these recordings can lead to more violence or retaliation and sometimes encourage ongoing fighting. It can be humiliating and re-traumatising for those filmed and may have a long-term negative impact on their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Sharing fight videos online may fall under the definition of cyberbullying – if the material is being reposted and targets a young person or child under the age of 18 years. A recording that shows any type of sexual assault is not classified as a fight video and should be reported immediately to the police.
Youth Law Australia offers some advice on the legal implications of posting fight videos, including self-incrimination.
On this page:
What educators and schools can do
Understand the issue and provide support
It’s important to help the student who is being targeted and put their wellbeing and rights first – especially if they are distressed and need support. Encourage them to talk to an adult they trust, such as a parent or carer or a service like Kids Helpline.
Check-in with the other young people involved, who may also feel targeted and need support too.
Identify who needs to be informed
This may include school leadership, other schools, support services, parents, carers or police. Refer to the quick reference guides for responding to online safety incidents to help you to manage and plan your response.
It's important to collect and save evidence. This can include screenshots or recordings of the content and web page addresses (URLs). It’s also good to record the usernames of people who shared or posted the material, times and dates of when the content was shared and any other relevant information.
Help to report
Encourage those involved to report the video to the social media platform where it appeared. Fight videos may breach the platform’s terms of service or community guidelines. The eSafety Guide explains how to report complaints to online platforms, including social media sites and other apps. If you are reporting on behalf of a child, you need the child’s consent (unless you are the parent or legal guardian of the child).
The social media platform should remove content that breaches their terms of service. If they have not done this after 48 hours, and the content is seriously harmful, you can make a cyberbullying report to eSafety.
Assessing the impact of an incident
eSafety’s online incident assessment tool explores the behavioural issues that may lead to a student’s involvement in a fight video. Each incident will have different factors to consider.
If you are unsure about the level of ‘seriousness’, use eSafety’s guide to responding to serious online safety incidents.
If a young person is distressed and needs support, their wellbeing, rights and best interests should guide your response – regardless of who is involved, when or where an incident has occurred or whether it meets the legal threshold for reporting to eSafety or police.
eSafety classroom video resources
Use these resources to start a conversation about making good choices online:
- Tagged – short drama (19 minutes): This film is about a group of high-school friends that post a rumour about a rival and then find themselves dealing with cyberbullying, sexting, a fight video and the police. It is also subtitled in Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Italian and Vietnamese.
- Tagged follow-up interviews with the main characters (4 x 3 minutes): The four main characters in the film ‘Tagged’ reflect on what happened during their difficult online experience and what they might have done differently.
- Be Deadly Online – Little Things (2 minutes): This resource highlights how the choice to share posts or pics online can impact others. The story illustrates how an online post can be misinterpreted and create a big problem with negative consequences.
Support for young people
When something negative happens at school or within a friend group, the drama can spill over into social media or private messenger apps. eSafety has advice for young people about what to do when someone is creating drama online.
Support for parents and carers
It can be distressing for a parent or carer to see their child involved or affected by a fight video and difficult for them to know how to help. eSafety has advice about whether to confront a child responsible for cyberbullying and guidance about what to do if your child is cyberbullied.
Schools can also provide parents and carers with eSafety’s Tips for parents and carers after an online safety incident to help to support them and maintain positive relationships.