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Bullying on social networks

Cyber bullying (online bullying) on social networks can happen to anyone at any time. Social networks should be a place where you can connect with friends, so it can be really upsetting to experience bullying on social networking sites.

Bullying on social networksHow do I stop bullying on
social networks?

There are lots of ways to stop cyber bullying and some of the best first steps include:

  • Reporting the person who is bullying you
  • Blocking the person who is bullying you
  • Taking a screenshot of the bullying
  • Talking to an adult you trust

Each social network is different and it’s not always easy to know how to deal with online bullying on different sites. Some of these sites are also aimed at those aged 13 and above to help protect young people. Find out how to deal with bullying on different social networks by clicking on the links below. 

  • I am being bullied on a social networkng site, who can I talk to?

    If you’re experiencing bullying on social networks, you can always talk to ChildLine.
    We can help you work out the best way to deal with cyber bullying or just be there so you can talk things through with someone. Call free on 0800 1111 or chat to us online.

  • Bullying on Facebook

    Facebook is one of the most popular social networks and lots of people around the world use it to connect with their friends. There are lots of different ways someone could be bullied on Facebook.

    Someone could use Facebook to:
    - Tag someone in an abusive or embarrassing photo
    - Post messages on your timeline
    - Send threatening private messages
    - Make pages/groups about you in public
    - Post nasty comments on your photos or updates

    How do I stop bullying on Facebook?
    There are different ways to stop bullying on Facebook, depending on the type of bullying. You can remove tags or block people who are sending you nasty messages. You can also report abusive posts or groups so Facebook can take them down. Reports are anonymous so the person doing the bullying won’t know who reported it.

    The way to report abuse changes depending on what you are reporting.
    Find out how to report all the different types of abuse on the Facebook help page. 

    It’s a really good idea to set your profile to ‘friends only’ so that you can’t be on the end of bullying from people you don’t know.

  • Bullying on Twitter

    Lots of people use Twitter to follow their favourite celebrities and to connect with a group of friends.

    Twitter is sometimes used to threaten or spread rumours about a person. Tweets can be ‘re-tweeted’ by other people – even if they aren’t following you. This means if you post a tweet, it can be very difficult to control who sees it. On Twitter, people who you don’t follow can still send you abusive tweets.

    How do I stop bullying on Twitter?
    If you are being bullied by someone you follow, the first step is to unfollow them. Go to their profile page and click on the ‘following’ button.

    It’s okay to block someone if they are bullying you. Blocking someone stops them from contacting you. You can always unblock them if you want to in the future.

    Sometimes if someone involved in bullying is blocked, they might create a new account to bully someone with. This can be really frustrating, but if you report it to Twitter they can help block all the abusive accounts.

    People can send you direct messages on Twitter, even if you are not following each other. If this is happening, you can make it stop by:

    - going to ‘settings’
    - going to ‘privacy’
    - making sure ‘receive direct messages from anyone’ is NOT ticked.

    If you do get sent a nasty direct message, remember to take a screenshot so you can report it.

    Twitter has a set of rules and you can report anyone breaking these rules. To report a tweet you’ll need to know the URL (web address) of that specific tweet. The URL of a Tweet isn’t always obvious, so Twitter have a helpful guide on how to get the address of a Tweet. Once you’re ready you can use Twitter’s reporting tool.

  • Bullying on YouTube

    YouTube can be a great online video community – but it’s important to follow their safety guidelines. Bullying on YouTube could happen through videos themselves or through the comments that people post on videos. Sometimes other users will give a ‘thumbs down’ to a particular comment. This means that if someone makes a nasty comment and other people don’t like it, then that comment will eventually become hidden.

    This can work the other way as well and a group of people can make a bullying comment appear at the top if that comment gets enough votes or ‘likes’. This can be really upsetting as it might feel like lots of people are ganging up on you.

    How do I stop bullying on YouTube?
    YouTube has a very strict policy on what’s allowed in videos, comments and general behaviour. If the bullying is in a video you can report it by clicking the ‘flag’ button underneath the video. If you want to report cyber bullying or abuse through comments or private messages then you can use YouTube’s reporting tool.

  • Bullying on

    Sometimes bullying happens on question and answer sites like and Formspring. Bullying on these sites can be really upsetting because people can stay anonymous, which means you might not know who is posting abusive comments. This can make it easier for the person doing the bullying and much more difficult for the person being bullied.

    How do I stop bullying on
    If you get an abusive message or question on, it’s always better not to reply. If you reply, the question and your answer will show up on your profile page. If you‘ve connected your Facebook account, the question and your answer can be seen on your Facebook profile too. Switching off anonymous questions and comments on sites like can really help stop bullying.

    On every profile, there is a ‘report’ and ‘block’ button at the bottom of the page. You can also block and report any question and answer. Blocking means you can stop someone from asking you nasty questions.

  • Bullying on instant messaging (IM)

    Instant messaging (IM) is a great way to chat with your mates online or on your phone - either 1-2-1 or in a group. Lots of people use instant messaging services like Whatsapp, Kik and iMessage - and there’s always new ones coming out.

    Sometimes IM or chat rooms might be used to send abusive messages to people. People who get involved with bullying might also use someone else’s account to send you nasty messages without that person’s permission.

    It can be really upsetting to find out someone you’ve be chatting to on instant messaging isn’t who you thought they were - especially if they have been abusive to you.

    How do I stop bullying on instant messaging?
    The best way to stop bullying on IM is to block the person and report them on the IM service you’re using. If you know who the person doing the bullying is, it’s also a good idea to report them to an adult you can trust. They can help put a stop to the bullying. It can also be really useful to have someone to talk things over with.

    Blocking someone on IM means they won’t be able to send you nasty messages. Usually the other person won’t know that you’ve blocked them. You will just appear offline when they look at their contacts. If you are experiencing bullying on IM, saving the conversations will be really helpful when you report the bullying.

  • Bullying on Instagram

    Instagram can be a great way to share photos with your friends, but some people try to use it for cyber bullying instead. Sometimes people might write nasty comments on an image or upload embarrassing photos of someone. Fake accounts could be set up to do this and it can be really tough if you don’t know who is doing the bullying.

    How do I stop bullying on Instagram?
    Instagram is automatically set to public so that anyone can see your images - even if you don’t know them. It’s much easier to stop bullying if your profile is private. When your profile is private, anyone who wants to follow you and see your photos has to send you a request - which you can ‘approve’ or ‘deny’. This way you can control who sees your photos and can make sure only your friends can talk to you on Instagram.

    If someone is sending you messages or comments that make you feel uncomfortable, angry or upset, a really good first step is blocking the user. The other person won’t know that you’ve blocked them - but they won’t be able to view your photos, send you comments or find you in search results. You should also report anyone who is being abusive to you.

    It’s worth knowing that if you block someone, they can still mention your username by using the ‘@’ sign. If you are still getting abusive messages, you can block the person sending the messages and change your username - this will mean they can’t mention your username.

  • Bullying on Snapchat

    Snapchat can be a really fun way to share images. It’s different from other photo sharing apps because when you send an image, it will only last between 1 and 10 seconds before being deleted.

    Snapchat can sometimes be used for bullying as well though. This can be really frustrating and upsetting because you might get a nasty image which is automatically deleted. This can make it hard to report bullying on Snapchat.

    How do I stop bullying on Snapchat?
    You can’t save images you get through Snapchat, but if you get an abusive message you can take a screenshot. This way you will have something to report.

    If you take a screenshot, Snapchat will try to send a notification to the person who sent you the original message. So it’s important to think about how the other person might react if they know you have taken a screenshot of their message.

    If someone is bullying you on Snapchat, blocking them will stop them from sending abusive messages. You can also report bullying to Snapchat - they may be able to help stop it.

    Sometimes you might be added by a username that you don't recognise. This can make it hard to tell whether you know the person or not and it may lead to bullying. It can be upsetting if you’re not sure who the person is. A good idea might be to set up Snapchat so that you only receive messages from people on your friends list. You can do this by going to your settings then going to ‘Who can send me snaps’. From here, change to ‘my friends’ instead of ‘everyone’.

  • Bullying on Tumblr

    Tumblr is a great blogging and social network site which lets you post and share your interests with others.

    People on Tumblr can ask you questions anonymously, which means you don’t know the identity of the person asking the question. Sometimes people decide to send abusive or hurtful messages to other people on Tumblr.

    How do I stop bullying on Tumblr?
    If someone sends you an abusive question or comment on Tumblr, you can block the user on the Tumblr ‘ignore’ page.

    If you answer an anonymous question, your answer will always be published so that everyone can see it on your blog. It’s always better to delete anonymous questions, especially if they are abusive.

    When you create a Tumblr account, anonymous messages should be automatically turned off. But if you are receiving anonymous messages, you can stop this from happening by following these steps:

    - Click on ‘settings’ (the gear icon) at the top of your Dashboard
    - Select your blog on the left side of the page
    - Scroll down to the ‘Ask’ section
    - Under the ‘Let people ask questions’ option, un-tick ‘Allow anonymous questions’

    Turning off anonymous messages is a really good way to stop bullying, because it means you will always know the Tumblr name of anyone asking you a question.

    You can block anyone sending abusive messages by pasting their username into the Tumblr ‘ignore’ page. You can stop anonymous messages by clicking the ‘ignore’ button (the ‘x’ icon).  This will block their account and stop their computer or device from sending messages to your account.

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Bullying on social networks 


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