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Online hate

Online hate can be defined as any hateful posts about a person or group based on their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or gender.

The difference between online hate and bullying is that online hate usually targets someone of a certain group or uses aspects of their identity or background to criticise, abuse or belittle them.

Over 50% of young people have seen or heard hateful comments about a cultural or religious group online. 

Young people’s experience of online hate, bullying and violence

Online hate can also be ‘intersectional’ or experienced as several different forms of discrimination at once. For example, people might post abusive comments criticising a particular person for being a lesbian and a woman. Or they might personally attack someone because of their race or religion. This kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable, but sadly it happens every day.

What to do if you experience online hate

Report to social media and block

If offensive or hateful content is posted online about you, report it to the website, social media service, game or app it was posted on so that it can be removed. Learn more about how to report and block content in the eSafety Guide.

Report to eSafety

If the online hate is part of cyberbullying, and you are under 18, you can report it to eSafety. Our team of expert investigators are there to help and assist you.

Call it out

If you feel like it is safe to do so, call it out. Sometimes people don’t realise what they are saying is hateful or discriminatory, and a gentle comment can help to change the language they are using. But if they respond with more hate, it is best to not respond. Instead, report or block them. 

Get help and support

Experiencing online hate can be incredibly distressing. It might make you feel unsafe, angry or depressed. It is important to know that you are not alone. Get help and support from a professional counselling and support service that is right for you. 

What to do if you witness online hate

Report and block

If you see something on social media that is offensive or hateful targeting a group of people, or that uses aspects of someone’s identity or background to abuse them, report it. Don’t keep scrolling, if you see this kind of content make sure you bring it to the attention of the website, social media service, game or app it was posted on so that it can be removed. Learn more about how to report and block content in the eSafety Guide.

Stand up to it

When hate is met with more hate or fear, it can get worse. So if you feel like you’re safe to do so, step up and change the narrative.

Respond with something nice and compassionate. Even just having someone’s back online — or being prepared and willing to support and defend them — can have a huge impact on the person and those around them.