What can I do if I see my friend being cyberbullied?

We all want to help, and we all appreciate help when it’s given and that’s especially the case with cyberbullying. Here’s our advice on what to do if you see a friend being cyberbullied and want to help.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying when someone is made to feel upset, uncomfortable or unsafe through a mobile phone or internet-enabled device such as a laptop or tablet. It is usually deliberate and repetitive.

None of us approve of cyberbullying and it can be really heartbreaking when you see it happen to someone you know. However there are things we can do to help others; steps we can take to protect our friends and make our online communities safer. Together we can stand up to eradicate bullying.

Reach out – The person who is being bullied is likely to feel upset and possibly isolated, sending them a message of support and reminding them they’re not alone can be really powerful. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it publicly, you can use direct messaging, use a pseudonym, or do so anonymously if the platform allows it. In your message of support you can also direct them to our website for more help.

Collectively we all have a place in eradicating bullying and making sure that the internet is a place we feel safe and secure.

Report – If the bullying is occurring on a social network then you can use the ‘report’ function to let the social network know what’s going on. The social network will be able to review the report against their terms of service and take action accordingly.

Signpost them – A lot of the time when people are being cyberbullied they don’t know who to speak to or feel embarrassed to do so. You can help them by suggesting organisations which may be able to support them, a good one to start with is our advice page and you can ask us questions anonymously here. Alternatively you can get confidential counselling from Childline on 0800 11 11 (UK) or 1800 66 66 66 (IRE).

Tell a teacher – Schools have some of the best resources to help deal with cyberbullying as well as a legal responsibility to take action, however it is often impossible for them to know what is happening amongst students online. You can make a difference by telling a teacher face to face or by printing off a screenshot of the bullying and writing a description of what is going on and leaving it for them on their desk or in their office.

Collectively we all have a place in eradicating bullying and making sure that the internet is a place we feel safe and secure.