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

Someone is creating drama online

Lies and rumours can spread like wildfire online, and it’s not always easy to know the best way to respond.

Often when something happens at school or within your friend group, the drama can spill out onto social media or private messenger apps. Whether you’re directly involved or not, it’s always best to have a cool head and help diffuse the situation if you can.

What to do

Resist the urge to retaliate

Resist the urge to retaliate. Rather than continuing the cycle of negativity, try intervening with some positive comments or changing the subject. If you feel like you might be tempted to retaliate, turn off your notifications and leave your phone somewhere for a while, so you can concentrate on other things. 

Offer a new perspective 

If you see a one-sided mean post about someone you know, rather than scrolling by, you could shake it up and offer a new perspective. It could be as simple as offering a different side to the story or saying something really nice about the person they’re targeting. Even offering something completely off topic can help to interrupt the stream of abuse.

‘One time a girl in our year posted a photo of some text messages from another girl and tried to paint the situation in a certain way and a lot of other people in the year group were commenting on it saying

“wow —can’t believe she would say that”.

I knew the full story and she had only posted her side of it. I commented on the photo saying, “guys there is way more to this, stop posting mean comments”. When people realised that the post wasn’t the full story, they were sorry, and my friend that I stuck up for was really grateful.’

DM the person being targeted 

Reach out to the person being targeted and let them know you’ve got their back. Even if they’re not your best mate, sending them a message to make sure they’re OK can have a huge impact on another person.

Report the post

If the post, messages or photos are on a social media service, you should report it. Reporting is anonymous on most social media services and can be an effective way to put a stop to the drama. For more info, check out the eSafety Guide.

Get outside help

If the drama is getting serious, it might be time to reach out for more help. Speak to a trusted adult, or someone with a bit more authority who would be able to help you out with the situation. Encourage whoever it is targeted at to seek help too. If they are feeling really down, let them know that they can reach out to a counselling or support service that is right for them.