Online Bullying

Thanks to our friends at Netsafe for this info!


Online bullying (also known as cyberbullying or trolling) is when a person uses digital technology to send, post or publish content with the intention to harm another person or a group. This behaviour is often aggressive, is repeated and involves some kind of power imbalance between the people involved.

Online bullying can take many forms:

  • being shamed or called names online
  • someone repeatedly sending you unwanted messages
  • someone spreading rumours and lies about you
  • someone using fake accounts to make fun of you
  • being hacked or impersonated by someone else
  • embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles


What can I do?

Reach out

Talk to someone that you feel you can trust. This could be a close friend, a parent, other family members, or even a teacher. If you’d rather talk to someone else, you can contact Netsafe or Youthline for support.

Keep evidence

Save texts and emails and take screenshots of anything that might disappear later. Make sure you keep track of dates, what has happened, who you think did it and why.

Report it

Block or report the bully online. Most social networks have safety centres with tips on how to deal with bullying on the platforms.

For tips on Facebook, click here.

For tips on Snapchat, click here.

For tips on Instagram, click here.

For tips on Youtube, click here.

For tips on Twitter, click here.

There’s also the ability to disable comments on posts and videos on Instagram and YouTube.

Protect your info

  • Use privacy settings to protect what you publish online.
  • Don’t give anyone your password.
  • Log out when you finish using a site on a shared device.


Beyond Bullying

In New Zealand serious online bullying is against the law – e.g. if someone is:

  • encouraging you to hurt yourself
  • sharing intimate images of you without your consent
  • encouraging others to send harmful messages to you
  • sharing your private information without your permission

If you or a friend is in this situation, text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282, call 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723) or email They are there to help you.


If you see Online Bullying, don’t be a ‘Bystander’, be an ‘Upstander’!


If we see online bullying, sometimes we don’t act because we think “nobody else is doing anything about it”, or “it’s just a joke”. But the cool thing to do is take a stand. Don’t just stand by, be an upstander.

You can do this by

  • reporting the problem anonymously to the website or app where it’s taking place (see the links above for social media connections)
  • reaching out (in private) to support the person being targeted – you’ll help that person feel less isolated which can help with the impacts of bullying. Simply asking if they’re OK, and letting them know that you don’t think what the other person is doing is OK can help.


Did you know…

If someone posts something on Facebook that makes you concerned about their well-being, you can reach out to them directly — and you can also report the post to Facebook. Facebook has teams working around the world, 24/7, who review reports. They prioritise the most serious reports like self-injury and send help and resources to those in distress. For more information visit .

You can also report your concerns about someone’s well being anonymously on Instagram. Instagram will send them information with tips about how to get help and some immediate things they can do. You’ll also be provided with information on how to offer help and support. Reporting can be found by clicking on the on the top right of a post.

More advice and information

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Get free support now and check out free online self-help tools



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