Online bullying (often referred to as cyberbullying) is intentional harmful or aggressive behaviour carried out by a group or individuals using digital technology.
It is repeated behaviour and can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones.
Examples can include:
Experiencing bullying type behaviour can be really difficult and you might start to feel nervous, anxious and insecure about what people say or think about you. This can lead to withdrawing from friends and family, negative thoughts and self-talk, feeling guilty about things you did or did not do, or feeling that you are being judged negatively. It can feel lonely and overwhelming, which can affect negatively on your mental health and wellbeing.
No matter how alone you might feel, there is always someone you can talk to and someone who can help. Talking to a friend, family member or school counsellor you trust can be a first step to getting help. If your situation becomes more difficult or unmanageable contact your GP. If you don’t want to speak to someone you know then you can always get advice and support from a helpline.
If something is breaking the law
Sometimes bullying can be harassment, intimidation or threatening type behaviour, which is against the law. If an individual or group keeps making you feel scared on purpose, what they’re doing could be illegal.
This could include:
If you are worried about your safety or feel that an individual or group may be breaking the law, contact the police for advice and support.
Dealing with online bullying
Report it and block people.
If someone’s bullying you online, you can report it on the site or app. Even if someone else has reported it, making a report yourself can make it more likely the content will be removed. Don’t reply to abusive messages or posts as this can make things worse.
Navigate safety settings.
Take a look at your privacy settings on social media, and consider restricting comments, messages, or words from certain users.
Keep a record of what has been happening. Take screenshots and save messages. This will help you to prove what has been happening when reporting.
Tell someone at school or club.
If you’re being bullied by people in school then your school has a responsibility to support you. If you have evidence of what has been happening, then show it to a teacher, school counsellor or another adult. You can also send a private message through a home-school communication app, such as Seesaw, Google classroom and Dojo, etc.
Get support from someone you trust.
Talking to a friend or trusted adult about what is happening can help. If your situation becomes more difficult or unmanageable contact your GP. If you don’t want to speak to someone you know then you can always get advice and support from a helpline.
Police Service of Northern Ireland
Trusted Adults or Your GP
If you are worried or concerned about something, please make sure you speak to an adult you trust. If your situation becomes more difficult or unmanageable please contact your GP.