What can I do if I'm being bullied?
- Don’t reply and don’t attack the person back: especially to messages from phone numbers, profiles or people you don’t know. Avoid giving the bully the satisfaction of a reaction as it may encourage them to continue.
- Have a conversation online or offline: if you are comfortable, try talking to the person privately about what they’ve said or done. They might not realise what they’re doing is wrong or understand how much it upsets you.
- Talk to someone: talking to friends or whānau can make you feel better – or you can reach out to a counsellor or helpline.
- Save messages and images: take screenshots of the bullying in case you need evidence later. If you’re not sure how, Netsafe has a helpful guide here(external link).
- Cut off the person bullying you: report them and block their phone number or social media account. Use privacy settings to control who sees what you post.
For more information about how to deal with online bullying visit Netsafe(external link).
What actually is bullying?
Bullying is more than someone just being mean to you. It’s intentionally harmful behaviour that happens a lot over a period of time. When bullying happens online, you might not even know who the person is, or why it’s happening.
Whether bullying is physical, verbal, or social (relational), four widely-accepted factors can be used to identify it:
- It’s deliberate - harming another person intentionally
- It involves a misuse of power in a relationship
- It’s not a one-off – it is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time
- It involves behaviour that can cause harm – and it’s not a normal part of growing up.
Can happen on social media platforms, text, email or private messages. It may include:
- Upsetting or threatening messages
- Rumours about a person online
- Creating fake accounts/profiles designed to harm others
- Sharing embarrassing photo or videos
If you want to know more about check out bullying free(external link).
I need support
If you’re being bullied check out ICON(external link). They have heaps of advice about bullying based on specific situations and real stories from other young people about their experience. Netsafe also offer some great advice: online bullying help for young people(external link).
If you want to talk to someone about what you’re going through, there are lots of great organisations that can help. You can find more information about how to get support here.
Join Netsafe’s Youth Action Squad
If you’re interested in getting more involved in online safety issues facing young people, check out Netsafe’s Youth Action Squad (YAS)(external link). Netsafe’s YAS empowers young people to speak up, take action and support each other on the online safety issues that affect them.
If you’re between the ages of 14-20 and have an interest in digital tech and helping others, then you might be a perfect fit.