Cyberbullying is the use of technology to bully a person with the intent to hurt or intimidate them. One in five young people have been bullied online.
Some examples of cyberbullying include:
- hurtful or abusive messages
- creating fake accounts in someone’s name to trick or humiliate people
- spreading nasty rumours or lies about someone
- sharing photos of someone to make fun of them or humiliate them
“Remember that bullying behaviour is way more a reflection of that person who is being mean, than it is a reflection of you”
What to do
If you are experiencing cyberbullying, here are some things you can do.
Resist the urge to respond
Resist the urge to respond to any hate targeted at you online, it usually just makes it worse. Often people will say hurtful things just to get a reaction and you don’t want to be associated with that or provide them with any reason to get you in trouble as well. Stick to treating people the way you want to be treated online and offline, and you will definitely feel better about yourself.
Before you block or delete, make sure you screenshot. If you’ve seen or been the target of mean or nasty stuff online, your immediate reaction might be to make it disappear, but it’s really important you keep evidence of it. This might help you out down the track if they continue to be nasty and you need to report it to eSafety. However, if the bullying material involves nudes, be aware that possessing or sharing such images of people under 18 may be a crime, even if the picture is of you or you have just taken a screenshot for evidence purposes. For information about relevant laws in Australia, visit Youth Law Australia You can also read our advice on what to do if your nudes have been shared.
Block and report
Most social media services, games and apps have a function that makes it easy to block and report online bullying. You can find reporting links for social media, apps, games and websites in the eSafety guide. If people continue to post mean stuff about you that you can’t see, but your friends tell you about, encourage your friends to report it too.
Talk to someone
Cyberbullying can make you feel isolated and like everyone is out to get you, but that’s not the case. Make sure you talk to people you trust and get support from mates or adults that have your back, and you’ll realise that you are not alone. There are also many online and phone counselling services with caring people ready to hear you out.
Report it to eSafety
If you have trouble getting the content removed and you are under 18, you can report it to the cyberbullying team at eSafety. We can work with you to get the hurtful content taken down and point you in the right direction to get help and support. If you are 18 and over, read our tips on how to deal with adult cyberabuse.