Cyber-bullying – 11-15

What is cyber-bullying?

Cyber-bullying is any bullying that takes place anywhere online – on apps, social media, websites or message boards.
Online bullies can break in to your social media accounts or make fun of you on their own profile pages.

Cyber-bullying most often happens on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, and is often so hurtful as messages can be seen by all your friends. It can be difficult to get away from it as messages come through on your mobile, tablet and computer.

Examples of cyber-bullying could be:

  • hurtful, threatening or bullying messages;
  • spreading gossip and rumours;
  • racist, sexist or homophobic comments;
  • sexting;
  • pictures that make you feel upset, angry or embarrassed.

What should I do if I am being cyber-bullied?

  • Never respond or reply. Tell a trusted adult – this may be your mum, dad or teacher – who will help you and may be able to stop it; and
  • save all nasty messages and emails. You don’t have to read them, but save them so that you can show someone later.

Why am I being bullied online?

Anyone can be bullied online for any reason. These could be:

  • because the bully thinks you are different in some way;
  • you’re popular and friendly, and the bully is jealous;
  • you may be shy, and the bully doesn’t understand you;
  • because the bully is feeling unhappy themselves; or
  • the bully is just looking for someone to pick on.

How can I deal with cyber-bullying?

Firstly, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone – as many as one third of teenagers have been cyber-bullied at some time.

Being bullied is not your fault. No matter what a cyber-bully says or does, they are the ones in the wrong, not you.

If you’re being cyber-bullied, make sure you:

  • block the bully’s email address, phone number and delete them from social media;
  • report them to any websites, apps or social networks;
  • never respond or retaliate as this can just make things worse; and
  • think about changing your user ID, nickname or profile.

The best way to deal with being bullied is to spend time doing other things with your real friends and your family. Trying a new sport, or joining a new club are great things to do to make new friends and to feel less stressed.

Things not to do if you’re being bullied, are:

  • believe the bully – this is what they want, but what they say is never right;
  • sink to the bully’s level – you don’t want to become a bully yourself, or end up breaking the law; and
  • send the bullying messages on to someone else. If someone sends you a bullying message, forwarding it to a friend only expands the problem – you never know how far this can go.

Who can I talk to about cyber-bullying?

Voice is here to help you, no matter what has happened. We don’t have to tell anyone else that you’ve spoken to us, and it’s free. Talk to Voice.

If there is a teacher or an adult that you trust, talk to them and ask them to help you.

Also, your friends will always help you if things are upsetting you. Speak to your friends – they may be able to get an adult to help you too.


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