Signs this might be a problem:
- People share embarrassing photos of you online
- Harassing calls, texts or emails
- People posting bad stuff about you online
- People using your Facebook and Twitter to say humiliating stuff
- People setting up fake profiles pretending to be you
Cyberbullying – what it is and why it sucks
Cyberbullying is bullying that is done through the use of technology, for example, using the Internet, a mobile phone or a camera to hurt or embarrass someone. It can be shared widely with a lot of people quickly, which is why it is so dangerous and hurtful.
Why is cyberbullying so bad?
- A lot of people can view or take part in it.
- It is often done in secret with the bully hiding who they are by creating false profiles or names, or sending anonymous messages.
- It is difficult to remove as it is shared online so it can be recorded and saved in different places.
- It is hard for the person being bullied to escape if they use technology often.
- The content (photos, texts, videos) can be shared with a lot of people.
- This content may also be easy to find by searching on a web browser like Google.
What does cyberbullying look like?
- Being sent mean or hurtful text messages from someone you know or even someone you don’t know.
- Getting nasty, threatening or hurtful messages through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, or through sites where people can ask/answer questions like Formspring or internet forums.
- People sending photos and videos of you to others to try and embarrass or hurt you.
- People spreading rumours about you via emails or social networking sites or text messages.
- People trying to stop you from communicating with others.
- People stealing your passwords or getting into your accounts and changing the information there.
- People setting up fake profiles pretending to be you, or posting messages or status updates from your accounts.
How it can affect people
- Feeling guilty like it is your fault.
- Feeling hopeless and stuck like you can’t get out of the situation.
- Feeling alone, like there is no one to help you.
- Feeling like you don’t fit in with the cool group.
- Feeling depressed and rejected by your friends and other groups of people.
- Feeling unsafe and afraid.
- Stressed out wondering what to do and why this is happening to you.
How to protect yourself
- Don’t share your private information like passwords, name and address, phone numbers with people you don’t know. Be cautious about sharing photos of yourself, your friends and your family.
- Don’t respond to messages when you are angry or hurt - either to strangers or people you know. This will often encourage them to continue or increase their harassment of you.
- Log out and stop messaging if you feel you are being harassed.
- Remember you have the option to block, delete and report anyone who is harassing you online and on your mobile.
- Find out how to report bullying and harassment on each of the different social networks that you use – see the Easy guide to socialising online for info on how to do this on different site.
- Keep a record of calls, messages, posts and emails that may be hurtful or harmful to you.
- Remember to set up the privacy options on your social networking sites like Facebook in a way you are comfortable with.
For legal stuff, check out the legal rights fact sheet.
The Australian Human Rights Commission
(1300 656 419) has a complaint handling service that may investigate complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying.