It may seem like there’s nothing you can do about cyberbullying because online bullies can use fake names and photos, but the good news is that perpetrators are traceable and there are steps you can take. Each email or online message carries information about the person, for example their IP address, which can be traced to a location.
Here are some tips on how to handle online bullying:
- Gather and keep evidence
Hold on to the messages in case you wish to report the abuse, taking screenshots if needed. Make sure you save all the evidence carefully in one place.
- Report abuse to site provider
You can report abuse to the provider of the platform being used.
If you’re receiving abusive emails, internet service providers have email addresses you can complain to e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
- Social network sites
- Facebook – If you’re being harassed on Facebook, you can visit the social network’s ‘report something’ page.
- Instagram – if you’re being bullied on Instagram, you can report it.
- Twitter – if you’re being targeted by bullies on Twitter, report it.
- LinkedIn – if you’re being harassed on LinkedIn, report it.
- Other message boards / forums
Even message boards run by individuals are hosted by a larger organisation and you can often find an address to complain to in the website’s ‘help’ section. Search for ‘report abuse’ and the name of the organisation on Google if you’re stuck.
- Block / ban / delete
If you are being continually emailed or messaged online, you can take steps to block, ban or delete the bullies from contacting you. You can block people on apps, social media and also via email too. Search for ‘block user’ in the relevant website’s ‘help’ section.
- Don’t ‘feed the trolls’
Bullies are looking for a reaction and want to see they are upsetting you – so saying nothing is better than fuelling the fire. Don’t give them what they want – a response.
- Report to the police
If the messages are threatening or if the perpetrator has committed a crime, you can report them to the police. Have all the evidence to show the police to hand.
- Bullying by work colleagues
If you’re being bullied online by work colleagues, have a read of our bullying in the workplace page for advice.
- Bullying of children
If your child is being bullied online by school pupils and you would like to make a complaint,