How to look after yourself if you are cyberbullied

It can be hurtful when people are mean or spread lies about you online – but there are things you can do to feel better. 

Cyberbullying can have a big impact on your mental health and wellbeing. You might feel upset, overwhelmed, scared or even angry – like everyone is picking on you. 

The most important thing to remember is that it is not your fault. You are not alone and there is help available. 

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is when someone uses the internet to be mean to a child or young person, so they feel bad or upset. It can happen on a social media site, game, app, or any other online or electronic service or platform.

Cyberbullying behaviour includes spreading nasty gossip, sharing embarrassing photos or videos of someone, or creating a fake account in another person’s name. 

Sometimes, it can be hard to know what to do. Start by following these simple tips and find out how to get the support you need. 

On this page:

Dealing with cyberbullying

No one should have to deal with cyberbullying but knowing the most effective ways to stop it will help.

Before you do anything else  

You don’t have to cope with cyberbullying on your own. 

Before you do anything, you should tell a trusted adult, teacher or a reliable friend who is not involved. Even though it can be hard, talking about it can make a big difference to the outcome. You can get a fresh point of view and work out what to do together. 

Try to stay connected with them while you get more information and deal with the situation. It’s important to have their ongoing support during the reporting process.


  1. Collect evidence

    You probably want to delete the harmful content as soon as you can, but don’t do it yet. It’s important to get some proof of what has happened. If it hurts too much to look at the content again, ask a trusted adult to collect it for you. 

    Take screenshots or photos of the messages, photos or videos. Write down how long the bullying has been going on, and whether you know the person responsible. Note the service or platform used to send or share the content and the web page address (URL) where it appeared.

    Find out more about how to collect evidence.


  2. Report it

    It’s important to report cyberbullying - and don’t worry, you won’t get into trouble.

    Start by reporting to the social media site, gaming site or app that was used to share the material. This is often the fastest way to have it removed and you can find common reporting links in The eSafety Guide

    If the material has not been taken down within 48 hours and the type of cyberbullying you are experiencing is against the law, report it to eSafety and we can help to remove it. Even if we can’t get it taken down, we will check you are safe and give you tips to protect yourself. We will also help you to find support if you need it.

    You can also report the abuse to the police. This is very important if someone is seriously threatening you, your family or friends. Find out more about getting police and legal help.


  3. Prevent further contact

    Avoid getting even or hitting back at the person who is responsible for the online abuse. Even though it can be hard to hold back, responding can make the situation worse instead of stopping it.

    Use your in-app functions to ignore, mute or block them or their account. This will take away their power to upset you further, while the issue is being resolved. If they reappear under a different name, mute or block them again. 

    It’s a good idea to review your privacy settings to limit who can contact you and see what you’re doing, or where you’re going. The eSafety Guide tells you how.


  4. Get more help

    If, like lots of people, you feel you do not have anyone close you can talk to about cyberbullying – or you want expert help – a counselling service can provide support and advice.

    Services like Kids Helpline and Headspace provide expert, non-judgemental advice for free. Find out what other services are available. 

    eSafety has more practical advice about how to cope with cyberbullying. Check out the topics relevant to your age group or situation. 

    Advice for kids 

    Advice for young people 

Taking care of your wellbeing 

Dealing with cyberbullying may feel overwhelming, but you can take care of your mental wellbeing. 

  • Acknowledge your feelings – it’s ok to feel upset and hurt.
  • Use the safety and wellbeing resources on social networks, like Tik Tok and Snapchat.
  • Check how much time you spend looking at negative news or 'doomscrolling'. Instead of looking at posts that make you feel bad about the world or yourself, find other stories that are positive or fun.   
  • Remember your strengths and remind yourself of the things you are good at, or your best qualities.

Take a break

Spending lots of time online can affect your mood or make you feel like you’re missing out on other things. You might even find it stressful being available all the time – especially when you’re part of a group chat.

That’s why it’s good to log off for a while, even for a few hours each day. Take a break from the conversation by muting notifications on services like WhatsApp or choosing one of the privacy settings on Snapchat. 

Take back control and do something offline with your friends instead – like playing sport outside or going to the movies.

Use your Apple or Android device to measure the amount of time you spend online or spend using certain apps. This will help you decide when it’s time to switch off.

Stay positive

It can be hard to stay positive when you’re feeling hurt and upset, but the way you handle a tough situation can make a big difference to the outcome.

Always think about how your posts or messages might affect other people before sharing them - and try to be respectful. If it’s safe to do so, don’t be afraid to respond to negative comments with positive ones. If you’re unsure, show a trusted person who is not involved before you send it and see what they think. 

You can set the standard for online behaviour by showing you care about other people. This will help you to build a positive digital reputation and establish a good online image for yourself.

Advice for family and educators 

Online life can be a big part of a child or young person’s identity and cyberbullying can be distressing - causing a range of emotions like fear, anxiety or anger.

Try to listen without judging when they talk and reassure them that you want to help. Read our advice for parents and carers and educators or speak to a counselling service to get more information.

You can also read our advice for friends and family to help you support someone who is experiencing adult cyber abuse. 

Report cyberbullying to eSafety

If the cyberbullying is serious, and the service or platform does not help you within 48 hours, you can report the harmful content to eSafety using our online form.

REPORT NOW

Counselling and support

If you don’t have anyone to talk to about cyberbullying, there are professional counselling services that can provide immediate help and support.

Reachout

14 to 25 year olds – All issues. Online resources and 24 hour online peer support.

Parents – Resources and peer support plus phone and online counselling.

Kids Helpline

5 to 25 year olds. All issues. Confidential phone counselling available all day, every day. Online chat available 24/7, 365 days a year.

QLife

All ages. Counselling and referral for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and/or intersex. Phone counselling available from 3pm to 12am, every day. Online chat available 3pm to 12am, every day.

Reachout

14 to 25 year olds – All issues. Online resources and 24 hour online peer support.

Parents – Resources and peer support plus phone and online counselling.

View all counselling services