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What to do if you experience negative behaviour online

If you’re the target of trolling, online hate, discrimination or poor behaviour, there are a number of steps you can take to manage the impacts and protect your online safety.


Welcome back to "#DeleteTheTrolls".

Our next question is...

"How should you respond to online trolls?"

Insult them right back?


Never feed the trolls.
They just get hungrier!

Can I phone a friend?

Well, you can... but not on this show.

Resist the urge to respond,

then mute, block, and
report them to the platform.

They are not worth my time!

That's all we've got time for!

Thanks for joining and
for all tonight's answers,

head to our website.

And remember don't be a


Play nice, stay safe! Whoo!

Delete the trolls

How should you respond to online trolls? Three contestants try their luck at the game #DeleteTheTrolls.


What is it? 

The term ‘trolling’ generally refers to when someone posts or comments online to deliberately provoke an argument or emotional reaction. 

Trolls may post anonymously or under a fake name, so they feel free to say things without being held responsible. They often try to downplay the impact of their behaviour, claiming anyone upset by it is over-reacting.

Never feed the trolls

Resist the urge to respond. As tempting as it is, by replying, you might be giving the troll what they want. Not responding is the best response.

Other issues


Check out our advice on cyberstalking if you think you are being stalked online or by someone you have met online.

Online hate and discrimination 

Check out our advice on online hate and discrimination. If you feel that you are being intentionally discriminated against due to your gender identity or sexual orientation the Human Rights Commission may be able to help you.

Adult cyber abuse

Check out our advice on adult cyber abuse for tips about what you can do if you experience serious online abuse that is menacing, harassing or offensive and intended to cause.

Sharing of intimate images without consent

Check out our advice on image-based abuse, which is the sharing of intimate images or videos without the consent of the person shown.

Fear of deportation/loss of visa status

Whether you have student, migrant, refugee, or asylum seeker status or are waiting for any change in your visa status, you are protected by Australian law. If you have experienced any form of online abuse, your visa status will not be affected or cancelled because you decided to report it to the online service, eSafety or police.


Person 1 texts: 'Hey, what is image-based abuse?'

Person 2 replies: 'It's when someone shares or threatens to share ur nudes or other intimate videos/pics.'

Person 1: 'Intimate...what does that include?'

- nude or partly naked pic

- pics using the toilet or shower

- pics without religious or cultural clothing

- fake or digitally altered nudes.

Person 2: 'Why, has it happened to you? If it has, it's not your fault. It's illegal and definitely not OK!'

Report image-based abuse to

We can help get it quickly removed.

WATCH: What is image-based abuse?

Tips for dealing with negative online experiences

Collect evidence

Screenshot the post or comment – if things turn nasty you might need it as evidence to report the behaviour to the online service, eSafety or police. Find out more about how to collect evidence.

Report harmful content

Report harmful posts or profiles to the online service or platform first. If the platform doesn't help, report the harmful content to eSafety. You can find reporting links for most apps in The eSafety Guide.

In cases of image-based abuse, when someone shares an intimate image or video of you without your consent, report to eSafety immediately.

Prevent further contact 

Once you have collected evidence, you can use in-app functions or the settings on the web browser to mute, unfollow or block the other person and change your privacy settings. The eSafety Guide has advice on key online safety functions for many online services, including dating apps.

For image-based abuse, stop all contact with the other person. You can use in-app functions to mute, unfollow or block them, but don't block them until you are advised to do so by eSafety or the police.

Get more help

Dealing with trolls or coping with a negative experience online is not easy. Reach out to friends and loved ones for support and let them know what you are going through.

You may find it helpful to use some strategies to manage the impacts and recover from adult cyber abuse, image-based abuse or cyberbullying of children or young people. You can also read tailored advice if you're part of a sport club or organisation in our Sports hub.

You can find counselling and support from an LGBTIQ+ support service that is right for you, or explore the ABC Queer and LGBTIQ+ support services page.

A note about online resilience: Navigating the online landscape can be both exciting and challenging. If you would like to read some tips and advice from the community on how to strengthen and maintain your resilience, check our advice on building online resilience.

eSafety also has advice for young LGBTIQ+ people if something has happened online to make them feel unsafe.

Do you feel unsafe right now?

If you are in Australia and in immediate danger or at risk of harm call Triple Zero (000).

Contact your local police on 131 444 if there are threats to your safety or threats to your friends or family members.

Get support


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


All ages. All issues. Phone counselling and online chat available all day, every day.

More support services

Last updated: 26/02/2024