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Cyberbullying can be upsetting and difficult to escape. Check out what cyberbullying is and what you can do to protect yourself.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is any kind of bullying or harassment that happens in your online world. This can be on social media, in video games or via text messages. Some cyberbullies might only be active online, but some might also continue to bully people in the offline world.

Examples of Cyberbullying

Trolling: To post insulting and sometimes off-topic messages or comments on the internet to provoke others, annoy them or make them angry.

Online Harassment: Repeatedly sending offensive, threatening or abusive messages to another person. This can be more like a nasty and aggressive form of trolling. In some cases, online harassment is considered a crime.

Nasty Group Chats: Group chats in which mean things are said about someone else or where a person is left out on purpose to make them feel bad.

Rumors: Spreading rumors and lies about someone online.

Doxing: Revealing and sharing personal information about someone online.

How Come People Cyberbully Others?

There are different reasons why people bully others online. Here are some possible explanations:

  • They are struggling in their life and take out their frustration on others.
  • They were bullied in the past.
  • They want attention.
  • They want to feel powerful.
  • They are unaware of how much they hurt others.
  • They feel peer pressured to join in on the bullying.

Things I can Do if I'm Being Cyberbullied

1. Don’t Respond

You might feel the urge to defend yourself and to fight back. But often cyberbullies do mean things because they really just want to provoke you and see your reaction. Answering back could make things worse.

2. Take screenshots

It’s important to keep evidence of the cyberbullying. This will help you report it and explain what happened. The easiest thing to do is to take screenshots. If you don’t like to keep the evidence on your phone – forward it to an adult you trust for safekeeping.

3. Report it

Most social media sites allow you to make a cyberbullying report. Childline has prepared a handy overview that shows you how to do it on Snapchat, WhatsApp, and other platforms.

Telling an adult about this is also important. They can give you advice and support. Additionally, reporting the bullying to your school can be helpful, specially if the cyberbullies are people at your school. Finally, don't be afraid to reach out to the Your Life Your Voice counselors - they are always there for you. You can call them for free on 1-800-488-3000.

4. Block them

Many sites and apps allow you to block certain people. You can also put your social media profiles on private. That will make it harder for bullies to contact you.

5. Dealing with feelings of anger

What people say and do around us can have an impact on how we feel about ourselves and our life. When someone does or says something hurtful to us, it is common to experience feelings of sadness or anger. Here we explore techniques that could help you deal with those feelings in a constructive way.

6. Remember to be kind to yourself

Remind yourself that it’s not your fault someone else is cyberbullying you. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from your phone for a bit, and do something that makes you feel good. Reach out to a friend/family member in your offline world to talk about your experience. You can also try reading this article from Your Life Your Voice to explore 10 additional ways on how to be kind to yourself.

Check Out This Video

Explore these tips on how to protect and remove yourself from cyberbullying.

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Someone Else I Know is Being Cyberbullied

Have you noticed that someone else is being bullied online? You might feel like it might be difficult for them to handle the situation on their own. Here are some things you can do to help:

1. Don’t Bully Back

You might be angry for your friend. But sending mean messages back to the bully can make things worse, and also get you into trouble. Instead, try commenting on your friends' posts and saying something nice about them.

2. Leave the Chat

If the cyberbullying is happening in a certain group or chat, it’s best just to leave that thread. The less followers or members there are, the less power the bully has.

3. Show That You Care

Ask the person who is being bullied how they are feeling. Tell them that you are on their side. It can help a lot to talk things through, so take some time to listen to them.

4. Help Them Find Help

Remember that you shouldn't take the responsibility of helping your friend on your own. Encourage your friend to talk to an adult about this issue. Remind them that it’s ok to get help, and that it’s not a sign of weakness. Offer to come along, it might make it easier for them.