Online bullying, or cyberbullying, is when someone uses technology (such as the internet or a mobile phone) to bully others.
We have numerous resources, for both parents and for teachers and professionals, to help you if you think a young person is being bullied online.
One of the most important pieces of advice we can give is to make sure that you have an open and honest conversation with your children about online safety, it is important that they feel they are able to come to you with any worries or concerns they may have online. Why not try our conversation starters to start your discussion.
Top tips when dealing with cyberbullying:
- Don’t deny access to technology:
It might seem like the best way to prevent your child from being cyberbullied, however this may stop your child from speaking to you about cyberbullying. When we asked a group of pupils about why they wouldn’t tell someone if they were being cyberbullied, their main response was that they were worried the technology that they love and use on a daily basis would be taken away from them.
- Discuss cyberbullying with your child:
Ask them what their understanding of cyberbullying is, and discuss how it is different to physical and face to face bullying. Often young people can confuse bullying with ‘banter’ and are reluctant to talk to others for fear of being seen to ‘not be able to take a joke’. Ask your children how they would react if they were being cyberbullied, or if their friend was being cyberbullied. Explore the safety tools available together to learn how to block and report people or messages.
- Save the evidence:
Encourage your child to save the evidence of any unkind or hurtful messages they receive. They can do this by taking a screenshot of what is happening on the screen on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone, or by keeping the messages they’ve received. You can easily capture a screenshot on most smartphones and tablets by holding down several buttons on the device together (eg. the Home button and Power button). By doing this, they will have proof when they report the cyberbullying.
- Don’t reply or retaliate:
Most of the time the bully is looking for a reaction and if your child replies or retaliates to the comments they’re receiving then they’re giving the bully exactly what they want. Instead, they should ignore the bully, block and/or report them and tell an adult they trust about what they have seen. Reassure your child that if the situation has got worse or if it has been going on for a long time, even if they are at fault too, they should always come to talk to you or a trusted adult, and you will try to figure out together how best to resolve the situation.
For further information about cyberbullying look at our Cyberbullying hot topic.
We have a variety of resources for teachers to use within a classroom setting to talk to their pupils about Cyberbullying
As part of our PSHE toolkit we created the module entitled "Gone too far". This lesson and accompanying film explore the issue of cyberbullying with an LGBT focus. The activities in the Toolkit help students to define cyberbullying and recognise examples of it. One of the key focuses of the lesson plans is exploring when actions have crossed the line. In addition to this there is clear signposting to advice and support on how to respond to and deal with issues of cyberbullying.
Let’s fight it together
Let’s fight it together is Childnet’s award-winning film that is designed to help sensitise people to the hurt and pain that can be caused by cyberbullying. The film shows ways in which cyberbullying can occur, who it involves, how it can affect different people, and what can be done to prevent it and respond to it.
Our hot topic for teachers gives examples of advice you can give to pupils about cyberbullying, as well as top tips on what you as a professional can do to help pupils dealing with cyberbullying issues.
The POSH Helpline
The Professionals Online Safety Helpline is a helpline designed for professionals who work with young people. The helpline is open Monday – Friday 10am to 4pm and can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 0344 381 4772. They can help with any online safety issues including; privacy, online reputation, gaming, grooming, cyberbullying, sexting, fraud, unsolicited content, inappropriate behaviour on social media, extortion, illegal content, online rationalization, eating disorders, self-harm, online harassment and other concerns linked to the internet.