Tips on how to stay safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic

Be an upstander — not a bystander

If you see bullying behaviour online don’t just let it slide.

Depending on your style and what you feel confident doing, helping your friend could be as easy as sending a direct message (DM) to make sure they’re OK. If it feels safe and right, you might even step up and call out the bad stuff online. There are a number of ways you can take action and go from being a bystander to an upstander.

What to do

DM your friend

Message your friend to make sure they’re ok and remind them how awesome they are. Even a simple message can go a long way and make your friend feel like they have support.

“Hey are you OK? Ignore those guys — they couldn’t be more wrong!”

Call it out

If you feel confident and safe, stand up to the person doing the bullying, and make it clear that what they’re doing is wrong. It can be tricky going about this without getting too involved, but sometimes just commenting *Thumbs down emoji*, or your negative emoji of choice, or NOT COOL on the mean post can get your point across.

Get extra help

If your friend seems like they’re really down — maybe they’re not turning up to school or they seem really withdrawn or less talkative — it might be time to get some extra help. You could talk to a trusted adult or teacher. You could also refer them to a counselling or support service to talk to a counsellor anonymously online. 

Help your friend to report cyberbullying 

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. First report the content to the social media site or app it was posted on (reporting is anonymous on most social media sites), and encourage your friend to report it as well, to help get it taken down faster. You can find links and tips in the eSafety Guide

If the content is serious and has not been removed after 48 hours and your friend is under 18, encourage them to make a cyberbullying report to eSafety. If they are 18 and over, show them this info on adult cyber abuse.

BONUS TIP: If you’re a legend of a friend, you could even sit with them and help fill out the report form