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What is online bullying?

Online bullying is when individuals use Internet-enabled devices to bully, hurt or embarrass someone online. While all young people can experience online bullying, some vulnerable communities such as rainbow youth experience higher rates(external link). According to Netsafe(external link), online bullying can take many forms like: 

  • name calling,
  • repeated unwanted messages,
  • spreading rumours or lies,
  • fake accounts used to harass people,
  • excluding people from social activities, and
  • embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

Protecting vulnerable youth

All young people can be exposed to online bullying. However, some groups are more vulnerable than others, for example, rainbow youth, young people with disabilities or youth with neurodevelopmental disorders. For these communities the Internet can be a vital resource to connect with likeminded individuals, explore their identities and reduce feelings of isolation, and it is important that educators are aware of the increased risks that young people and vulnerable communities may be exposed to online.

Classroom resources

Educators can use the below resources to help students understand the emotional impact of online bullying, provide guidance on where to go for help and support and implement strategies to prevent online bullying.


  • The Eggplant | Episode 2: Eat Like Mei(external link) is a drama-crime-comedy online web series to help young Kiwis safely navigate the Internet. This episode highlights the harm online bullying causes and encourages young people to stop and think about the impact their online actions have.

The Eggplant | Episode 2: Eat Like Mei


  • Rewrite Your Story(external link) are a series of short videos based on real-life examples of online bullying which help prompt discussions about young people’s experiences and how they can get help.