School can get pretty stressful at times – assignments, exams…just getting there on time – there’s a lot going on that can make you feel uneasy. The same goes if you’re doing an apprenticeship or a traineeship.
Add bullies into the mix, and things can start feeling a bit too much. While it used to be that you could avoid bullies once the school day was over; nowadays any safe space can come under attack by people saying hurtful things online.
We all use phones, computers, tablets – you name it – to keep us connected, but in the hands of a bully, they can be the tools to pull people apart through cyberbullying.
Cyberbullies use digital technologies like mobile phones, email and social media to deliberately harass, humiliate, embarrass, impersonate, torment, threaten, pick on, or intimidate another person.
Cyberbullying is ugly, but it’s important to stare it in the face and know what it looks like so you can avoid it, stop it, and make sure you don’t accidentally become a cyberbully yourself (sometimes what you think is friendly teasing online might actually be hurting someone).
- Happen any time
- Involve a large audience
- Be hard to escape
- Be hard to remove
How to spot it:
- Posting mean or false content
- Posting private info
- Spreading nasty rumours
- Creating fake accounts to be unkind
- Excluding people from online activities
- Trolling someone
Before you decide to throw away your devices; just know that there are smart ways to protect yourself from cyberbullying without turning yourself into the same ugly monster in the process.
- Dodge cyberbullies by:
- Not posting private info
- Blocking their request to connect
- Disengaging with group chats involving bad behaviour
- Ignoring angry or mean messages
But what do I do when I’m already being bullied online?
If you’re already being cyberbullied, or you’re finding that our advice isn’t stopping them, remember, you’re never ever alone, help is always there.
- Talk to your parents
- Block or unfriend bullies
- Take a break from social media
- Collect evidence by taking screenshots of the bullying material and note the dates and times. However, if the bullying material involves sexualised images, be aware that possessing or sharing such images of people under 18 may be a crime, even if you have just taken a screenshot to use as evidence
- Report the material if you need to get it removed – if you’re under 18, talk to your parents or a guardian so they can send a cyberbullying report to eSafety on your behalf
- Talk to your school or access other support through Kids Helpline, eheadspace, the eSafety Commissioner, or Parentline.
To see ways you can overcome different examples of cyberbullying, take a look at these videos:
Gaming and cyberbullying
Sharing embarrassing videos
Creating anonymous accounts
Sharing intimate photos
In these examples, you’ll see that the most effective way to overcome cyberbullying is to block the content or person, report the cyberbullying and support one another if you or a friend experiences cyberbullying.
Just remember, you don’t have to stand for cyberbullying – stand up to it and know that you don’t have to fight it alone!
Take a look at more information about cyberbullying.