Cyberbullying: What is it and how to stop it (Part 2)
What teens want to know about cyberbullying.
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Cyberbullying: What is it and how to stop it (Part 1)
5. I’m experiencing cyberbullying, but I’m afraid to talk to my parents about it. How can I approach them?
If you are experiencing cyberbullying, speaking to a trusted adult – someone you feel safe talking to – is one of the most important first steps you can take.
Talking to parents isn’t easy for everyone. But there are things you can do to help the conversation. Choose a time to talk when you know you have their full attention. Explain how serious the problem is for you. Remember, they might not be as familiar with technology as you are, so you might need to help them to understand what’s happening.
They might not have instant answers for you, but they are likely to want to help and together you can find a solution. Two heads are always better than one! If you are still unsure about what to do, consider reaching out to other trusted people. There are often more people who care about you and are willing to help than you might think!
6. How can I help my friends report a case of cyberbullying especially if they don’t want to do it?
Anyone can become a victim of cyberbullying. If you see this happening to someone you know, try to offer support.
It is important to listen to your friend. Why don’t they want to report being cyberbullied? How are they feeling? Let them know that they don’t have to formally report anything, but it’s crucial to talk to someone who might be able to help.
Anyone can become a victim of cyberbullying.
Remember, your friend may be feeling fragile. Be kind to them. Help them think through what they might say and to whom. Offer to go with them if they decide to report. Most importantly, remind them that you’re there for them and you want to help.
If your friend still does not want to report the incident, then support them in finding a trusted adult who can help them deal with the situation. Remember that in certain situations the consequences of cyberbullying can be life threatening.
Doing nothing can leave the person feeling that everyone is against them or that nobody cares. Your words can make a difference.
We know that it can be hard to report bullying, but everyone deserves to feel safe online. If your friend is experiencing cyberbullying, encourage them to talk to a parent, a teacher or an adult they trust.
Reporting content or accounts to Facebook or Instagram is anonymous and can help us better keep our platforms safe. Bullying and harassment are highly personal by nature, so in many instances, we need a person to report this behaviour to us before we can identify or remove it. You can report something you experience yourself, but it’s also just as easy to submit a report for one of your friends. You can find more information on how to report something on Instagram’s Help Center and on Facebook’s Help Center.
You and your friends may be reluctant to report to a technology platform for any number of reasons, but it’s important to know that reporting on Snapchat is confidential and easy. And remember: You can report Snaps (photos and videos), Chats (messages) and accounts – about your own experiences or on behalf of someone else.
In the more public places of Snapchat, like Discover and Spotlight, simply press and hold on the piece of content and a card with “Report Tile” (as one option) will appear in red. Click that link and our reporting menu will appear. Bullying and harassment are the first categories in the reporting list. Just follow the prompts and provide as much information as you can about the incident. We appreciate you doing your part to help us protect the Snapchat community!
If you believe another member of the TikTok community is being bullied or harassed, there are ways you can provide support. For example, you can make a confidential report on TikTok so that we take appropriate action and help keep your friend safe.
If you know the person, consider checking in with them and encourage them to read our Bullying Prevention guide so they can find out more information about how to identify bullying behaviour and take action.
If your friends are experiencing cyberbullying, encourage them to talk to a parent, a teacher or an adult they trust.
If a friend of yours does not want to report their experience, you can submit a bystander report on their behalf. This can include reports of private information, non-consensual nudity or impersonation.
7. How do we stop cyberbullying without giving up access to the Internet?
Being online has so many benefits. However, like many things in life, it comes with risks that you need to protect against.
If you experience cyberbullying, you may want to delete certain apps or stay offline for a while to give yourself time to recover. But getting off the Internet is not a long-term solution. You did nothing wrong, so why should you be disadvantaged? It may even send the bullies the wrong signal — encouraging their unacceptable behaviour.
We need to be thoughtful about what we share or say that may hurt others.
We all want cyberbullying to stop, which is one of the reasons reporting cyberbullying is so important. But creating the Internet we want goes beyond calling out bullying. We need to be thoughtful about what we share or say that may hurt others. We need to be kind to one another online and in real life. It's up to all of us!
We’re continuously developing new technologies to encourage positive interactions and take action on harmful content, and launching new tools to help people have more control over their experience. Here are some examples from Instagram:
- When someone writes a caption or a comment that our artificial intelligence detects as potentially offensive or intended to harass, we will show them an alert that asks them to pause and reflect on whether they would like to edit their language before it’s posted.
- Comments with common offensive words, phrases or emojis are automatically hidden or filtered out with the ‘Hide comments’ setting, which is defaulted on for all people. If you want an even more personalized experience, you can create a custom list of emojis, words or phrases you don’t want to see, and comments containing these terms won’t appear under your posts and messages will be sent to a filtered inbox. All of these filters can be found in your ‘Hidden Words’ settings.
- You can always block or mute an account that is bullying you, and that account will not be notified. If you don’t feel comfortable taking those actions, ‘Restrict’ is a more subtle way to protect your account from unwanted interactions. Once ‘Restrict’ is enabled, comments on your posts from a person you have restricted will only be visible to that person. You can choose to view the comment by tapping “See Comment”; approve the comment so everyone can see it; delete it; or ignore it. You won’t receive any notifications for comments from a restricted account.
Our priority is to foster a welcoming and safe environment where people feel free to express themselves authentically. Our Community Guidelines make clear that we do not tolerate members of our community being shamed, bullied or harassed.
We use a combination of technology and moderation teams to help us identify and remove abusive content or behaviour from our platform.
We also provide our community with an extensive range of tools to help them better control their experience – whether it's control over exactly who can view and interact with your content or filtering tools to help you stay in control of comments. You can find out about them on our Safety Centre.
Since hundreds of millions of people share ideas on Twitter every day, it’s no surprise that we don’t all agree with each other all the time. That’s one of the benefits of a public conversation in that we can all learn from respectful disagreements and discussions.
But sometimes, after you’ve listened to someone for a while, you may not want to hear them anymore. Their right to express themselves doesn’t mean you’re required to listen. If you see or receive a reply you don’t like, unfollow and end any communication with that account. If the behaviour continues, it is recommended that you block the account. If you continue receiving unwanted, targeted and continuous replies on Twitter, consider reporting the behaviour to Twitter here.
We are also working proactively to protect people using our service through a combination of human review and technology. Learn more about how to feel safer on Twitter here.
9. Is there a punishment for cyberbullying?
Most schools take bullying seriously and will take action against it. If you are being cyberbullied by other students, report it to your school.
People who are victims of any form of violence, including bullying and cyberbullying, have a right to justice and to have the offender held accountable.
Laws against bullying, particularly on cyberbullying, are relatively new and still do not exist everywhere. This is why many countries rely on other relevant laws, such as ones against harassment, to punish cyberbullies.
In countries that have specific laws on cyberbullying, online behaviour that deliberately causes serious emotional distress is seen as criminal activity. In some of these countries, victims of cyberbullying can seek protection, prohibit communication from a specified person and restrict the use of electronic devices used by that person for cyberbullying, temporarily or permanently.
However, it is important to remember that punishment is not always the most effective way to change the behaviour of bullies. Sometimes, focusing on repairing the harm and mending the relationship can be better.
10. Technology companies don’t seem to care about online bullying and harassment. Are they being held responsible?
Technology companies are increasingly paying attention to the issue of online bullying.
Many of them are introducing ways to address it and better protect their users with new tools, guidance and ways to report online abuse.
But it is true that more is needed. Many young people experience cyberbullying every day. Some face extreme forms of online abuse. Some have taken their own lives as a result.
Technology companies have a responsibility to protect their users especially children and young people.
It is up to all of us to hold them accountable when they’re not living up to these responsibilities.
11. Are there any online anti-bullying tools for children or young people?
Each social platform offers different tools (see available ones below) that allow you to restrict who can comment on or view your posts or who can connect automatically as a friend, and to report cases of bullying. Many of them involve simple steps to block, mute or report cyberbullying. We encourage you to explore them.
Social media companies also provide educational tools and guidance for children, parents and teachers to learn about risks and ways to stay safe online.
Also, the first line of defense against cyberbullying could be you. Think about where cyberbullying happens in your community and ways you can help – by raising your voice, calling out bullies, reaching out to trusted adults or by creating awareness of the issue. Even a simple act of kindness can go a long way.
The first line of defense against cyberbullying could be you.
If you are worried about your safety or something that has happened to you online, urgently speak to an adult you trust. Many countries have a special helpline you can call for free and talk to someone anonymously. Visit United for Global Mental Health to find help in your country.
We have a number of anti-bullying tools across Facebook and Instagram:
- You can block people, including any existing and new accounts they might create.
- You can mute an account and that account will not be notified.
- You can use ‘Restrict’ to discreetly protect your account without that person being notified.
- You can moderate comments on your own posts.
- You can modify your settings so that only people you follow can send you a direct message.
- We will notify someone when they’re about to post something that might cross the line, encouraging them to reconsider.
- We automatically filter out comments and message requests that don’t go against our Community Guidelines but may be considered inappropriate or offensive. You can also create your own custom list of emojis, words or phrases that you don’t want to see.
For more tips and ideas, visit Instagram’s Safety page and Facebook’s Bullying Prevention Hub. We also offer resources, insights and expert guidance for parents and guardians on our Family Center.
We want teens and young adults to be aware of the blocking and removal functions on Snapchat. Clicking on the person’s avatar will bring up a three-dot menu in the upper right-hand corner. Opening that menu offers the option of “Manage Friendship,” which, in turn, offers the ability to Report, Block or Remove the person as a friend. If you block someone, they will be told that their Snaps and Chats to you will be delivered once the relationship is restored.
It’s also a good idea to check privacy settings to ensure they continue to be set to the default setting of “Friends Only.” This way, only people you’ve added as Friends can send you Snaps and Chats.
We also recommend reviewing your Friends’ list from time to time to ensure it includes those people you still want to be friends with on Snapchat.
Alongside the work that our safety teams do to help keep bullying and harassment off our platform, we provide an extensive range of tools to help you control your TikTok experience. You can find these in full on our Safety Centre. Here are a few highlights:
- You can restrict who comments on your videos to no one, just friends or everyone (for those aged under 16, the everyone setting is not available)
- You can filter all comments or those with specific keywords that you choose. By default, spam and offensive comments are hidden from users when we detect them.
- You can delete or report multiple comments at once, and you can block accounts that post bullying or other negative comments in bulk too, up to 100 at a time.
- A comment prompt asks people to reconsider posting a comment that may be inappropriate or unkind, reminding them of our Community Guidelines and allowing them to edit their comments before sharing.
We want everybody to be safe on Twitter. We continue to launch and improve tools for people to feel safer, be in control and manage their digital footprint. Here are some safety tools anyone on Twitter can use:
- Select who can reply to your Tweets – either everyone, only people you follow or only people you mention
- Mute – removing an account's Tweets from your timeline without unfollowing or blocking that account
- Block – restricting specific accounts from contacting you, seeing your Tweets, and following you
- Report – filing a report about abusive behaviour
- Safety mode – a feature that temporarily blocks accounts for using potentially harmful language or sending repetitive and uninvited replies or mentions.
Last updated: January 2022.