Cyberbullying

Coping with cyberbullying can be overwhelming and scary, but you're not alone and there is plenty of support out there. We spoke to the experts at The Diana Award to find you all the best information and advice on how to deal with cyberbullying.

A young person is on their laptop and the graphic shows notifcations which signify cyberbullying

What is cyberbullying?

The Diana Award defines bullying behaviour as ‘repeated, negative behaviour that is intended to make others feel upset, uncomfortable or unsafe.’

There are three types of bullying behaviour:

Verbal bullying

The repeated, negative use of speech, sign language, or verbal gestures to intentionally hurt others, e.g., using hurtful words, discriminatory or offensive language or swear words.

Indirect bullying

The repeated, negative use of actions, which are neither physical nor verbal, to intentionally hurt others e.g., spreading rumours, purposefully excluding another person, damaging or stealing someone’s property or cyberbullying.

Physical bullying

The repeated, negative use of body contact to intentionally hurt others, e.g., kicking, punching, slapping, inappropriate touching or spitting.

A form of indirect bullying behaviour, cyberbullying is the repeated, negative use of technology to intentionally hurt others e.g., posting unwanted pictures or messages, accessing another person’s account without permission, creating fake accounts to impersonate or harass someone and sharing other people’s private information online.

What can I do if I am (or a friend is) experiencing cyberbullying?

Experiencing cyberbullying behaviour can be a very upsetting and isolating experience but it’s important to remember that help is at hand. We asked The Diana Award for their top tips on what to do if you or a friend experience cyberbullying behaviour.

Save the evidence

Screenshot evidence of posts/comments that show the bullying behaviour. This means you can gather the evidence to show school or a responsible adult what is happening and keep a record of what, when and who.

Report

Once you have saved the evidence, report the post. Most social media platforms/apps have a help centre and button to report a photo, video, post, status, etc. They will sometimes ask you to write down why you are reporting the content. Most of the time, it is completely anonymous to report someone and they won’t know it is you who reported them.

Block

Every social media platform will have a block button; this means that the person who is exhibiting bullying behaviour will no longer be able to contact you. If you are supporting a friend or peer, encourage them to block the person so they no longer receive communication from them.

Do not reply

Often, people who exhibit cyberbullying behaviour are looking for a reaction, so try not to give them the attention they are craving; instead, do not reply directly. If you engage with the person displaying bullying behaviour, it could get worse and you could say something in the heat of the moment that you later regret. You could also put yourself in harm’s way.

Don’t suffer in silence

Experiencing cyberbullying behaviour can make you feel powerless and isolated. Let someone know what has happened and talk it through with them. A problem shared is a problem halved. This can be a friend, family or teacher. If you are concerned that someone else is experiencing cyberbully behaviour, ask them if they want to talk about it and let them know you are there to support them. Asking ‘how are you doing?’ can make all the difference. You may like to offer to go with them when they speak with a trusted adult about what has been happening.

Further support for cyber bullying

For more detailed guidance on how to report bullying behaviour across different platforms and other harmful online content, visit reportharmfulcontent.com

The Diana Award and The Mix both offer a Crisis Messenger service, which provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you are a young person struggling, you can text THEMIX to 85258, or for specialist bullying support, text DA to 85258. Trained volunteers will listen to how you’re feeling and help you think through the next step towards feeling better.

Visit The Mix’s bullying support page for articles, videos and information.

Visit The Diana Award’s Resource Centre for further resources, including on cyberbullying behaviour.

Visit The Diana Award’s Support Centre for further support and a list of support services and organisations.

Find out more about The Diana Award’s free Anti-Bullying Ambassador Programme.

Next Steps

  • BullyingUK offers advice and support to victims of bullying. Call on 0808 800 2222.
  • Anyone can contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline to talk things through. 116 123
  • If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By

Updated on 09-Nov-2021