Cyberbullying (online bullying)

Cyberbullying is using the internet, email, online games or any digital technology to threaten, tease, upset or humiliate someone else. 

What to do if you're being bullied online

Sometimes it can seem like cyberbullying will never end. But there are some things you can do to make it stop.

Nobody has to go through online bullying alone. Telling someone you trust could help you report the cyber bullying and give you more confidence to deal with the situation. You could talk to a friend, an adult you trust or one of our trained counsellors.

Cyberbullying is not against the law, but harassment or threatening behaviour is. That means if someone keeps making you feel scared on purpose, what they’re doing could be illegal.

If someone’s bullying or threatening you, something can be done to stop them and you should report it to an adult you trust. If you can, keep a record of the bullying. Having a record of when and where the bullying happened can help to get it stopped. Find out more about staying safe online.

Things to remember:

  • Don’t keep it to yourself or try to deal with it alone. Tell an adult you trust. It can help to talk.
  • Don't reply to any nasty messages you receive. Keep the messages that you've been sent so you can show someone.
  • Don't share, comment, or like any bullying posts. Sharing or commenting could make the bullying worse.
  • Tell the police if something is serious. And remember, you can always call us about anything.
  • Things can change. And there are ways you can build your confidence.  

why do people bully online?

It’s never easy to say why someone starts being hurtful to other people. Sometimes we can all say or do things we don’t mean that upset someone else.

Sometimes people choose to embarrass, upset, pick on or intimidate other people using the internet or a mobile phone because it feels safer this way. Sending a nasty message or text can be done quickly and it means the person doing the bullying can’t see how much it hurts the other person. They might feel more distant from what they're doing. 

Sometimes when people tag posts with ‘self-harm’, ‘depression’ or even ‘suicide’ it can lead to other people sending them nasty messages. This could be on a site or community especially for young people going through a certain issue. They might say to the other person things like ''I hope you die.'' Bullying is always wrong and you can get support.

How cyberbullying can happen

How to stand up to online bullying

You may come across things that are upsetting or shocking online. This could include videos of people being hurt, upset, or bullied and this might make you feel worried or helpless. But there are things you can do.

3 things to try if someone's uploaded a video of you

  • report the video on the site it appears
  • don't comment on the video - it could make the bullying worse
  • talk to someone about it.

 

Build your confidence after online bullying

Online bullying: Amy Louise's story

WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE BULLYING SOMEONE

Some things you can try:

  • Think about what you're doing
    The first step is realising that you've been involved in bullying. We all make mistakes and it doesn’t make you a bad person. 
  • Ask for some advice
    Tell someone you trust, like a parent, carer or teacher. They may be able to offer you some advice about what to do. 
  • Delete the bullying
    Go back and delete any upsetting or nasty posts, tweets or comments you've written.
  • Be the one to make a stand
    Talk to others involved and encourage them to stop the bullying. It only takes one person to start making a big change.
  • Say sorry
    Apologise to the person who was bullied and offer them support. This can mean a lot to the other person. 
  • Learn from this
    Sometimes we do things without really thinking them through but the important thing is to learn from it and change the way you act in the future.

Think about what you're doing

If you use digital technology to upset, anger or embarrass someone on purpose, this means you're involved in online bullying. It might be as simple as ‘liking’ a mean post on Facebook or spreading a rumour on Twitter. The person being bullied could feel like you're part of the bullying.

Bullying can really hurt someone. It can make the person feel upset and hopeless. Sometimes it can make people self-harm or lead to them feeling suicidal. It’s important to think about how we might feel if someone said the same thing about us.

helping a friend

Being bullied can be difficult. So it could help to have a good friend to offer support.

Things you can try to help a friend:

  • Listen to them
    It can be really helpful for them to have someone to talk things through with. 
  • Support your friend
    Offering to go with them to report the bullying and help them think about what they want to say. 
  • Write supportive comments
    This may help them feel like they aren't so alone when other people are posting negative messages. 
  • Do things together
    This may help to take their mind off things for a short while. You could watch a DVD, play sports or go to the cinema.

Find out more about helping a friend.

Watch: how to help a friend who's being bullied

Getting support for yourself

Getting support for yourself 

If someone you know is being bullied, it can be tough for you to deal with too. You don’t need to try and solve the problem on your own. 

You could:

You can also get support from other sites like Bully BustersBullying UK and Respect Me