Bullying is repeatedly and deliberately upsetting someone through aggressive or threatening behaviour. Cyberbullying is bullying using digital technology, like the internet or a phone. It can include:
- abusive texts, emails or posts
- constant harassing messages
- sharing inappropriate images
- posting unkind message or images
- pretending to be someone else online
- excluding others online
- inappropriate image tagging
- inappropriate discussions.
All bullying is nasty, but cyber bullying is different because:
- it can reach a larger audience much faster
- it’s hard to escape
- messages posted publicly are hard to remove.
The good news is you can take control. You can plan your responses in private, with people you trust. Most bullies aren’t hackers, so it’s usually easy to identify them, track them down and block them.
If you're being bullied
If someone is deliberately and repeatedly upsetting you online, it's time to stand up, protect yourself and let them know it's not on.
- Don’t retaliate or reply - this only encourages more bullying.
- Block the person doing the bullying and change your privacy settings.
- Report it - find out what the reporting process is for abuse on the service you're using.
- Collect the evidence – keep mobile phone messages and print emails or social networking conversations.
- Don’t deal with it alone - talk to someone, like a family member or friend.
If you're getting threatening messages and feel like you're in danger, you should call 000 and report it to the police.
If someone you know is being bullied
If you think a friend is being cyberbullied, step up and help them out. You can make a huge difference with a few simple actions.
- Don't forward messages or pictures - even though you didn't start it, you will become part of the bullying cycle.
- Stand up and speak out - tell an adult you trust.
- Talk to your friend and let them know that you're there to support them.
There are lots of websites with advice on how to handle cyberbullying. Sitting down with your friend and checking out some of the sites listed below in our Links section can be a good place to start.
More information about bullying
For more about bullying and what you can do about it, visit these pages on Youth Central:
Confidential, free and secure service for young people 12 - 25 to chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional.
Free counselling and advice for people who need someone to talk to - call 13 11 14 24 hours a day.
Free online and phone counselling service for young people aged 5-25 years - call 1800 550 550 24 hours a day.
Office of the eSafety Commissioner
Information about how to report cyber bullying and be safer online.
Tips on how to stay in control on the web.