There was a time when bullying was limited to IRL situations. But with the explosion of social media apps and messaging services it’s easier than ever for bullies to target their victims online.
Here are some ways you can stop online bullying in its tracks.
1. Tell someone what’s going on
The first step is to tell someone what is going on. Tell your parents, older sibling and friends. Anyone.
Your parents especially need to know what’s going on as if it persists they may have to take the issue further. There’s nothing to be worried or embarrassed about. It’s the bully who is completely at fault and they are the only person who should feel shame. It’s also important for your friends to know what’s going on so they can support you.
2. Report them
Report the person to the social media network where they are targeting you.
All social media channels have a report function. Instagram in particular is taking major steps to crackdown on online bullying and they take it very seriously. The person can have their profile suspended or delated all together.
To report someone click on their profile and head to the 3 dots in the right corner. Once you hit that you’ll be given a number of options which include reporting them. You can get further details on the Instagram website.
But do be aware that Instagram is a huge company and sometimes they’re not the quickest to deal with situations. Which is why the next step is super important!
3. Block them
Next, you need to block them on absolutely every social media platform that you have. No muting. Full on block them. Block any of their friends too and also get your own friends to do the same.
4. Make your profile private
Not to be dry, but you really should have your profiles on private anyway. To put it mildly, there are some real weirdos out there. You can read more about how to keep yourself safe online.
If your profile isn’t already on private, put the full privacy settings on.
If you want to be sure that you’re covered, get a friend to unfollow you to check how much of your profile is viewable, or make a Finsta account to check yourself.
Also check your WhatsApp settings and other messaging apps. You can block text messages and phone-calls in your phone’s settings.
5. Stop accepting friend request
Don’t accept any friend requests unless you personally know who it is and that they’re sound. By accepting random accounts you could be unwittingly allowing your bully access again as they may have made a fake account.
6. Limit your time online
Social media isn’t good for your mental health at the best of times, and if you’re being targeted online it can be a million times worse.
Cut down on your social media usage and put the person out of your head.
In an ideal world, try cut out social media usage all together, at least for a while. It may feel like you are punishing yourself when you’ve done absolutely nothing wrong, but there’s way more to life than social media.
7. Ignore them in real life as well
Hard, we know. But it drives bullies insane to think that they’re not bothering you.
8. Tell someone
Just going to say this again because it’s so important: tell someone what’s going on! Don’t suffer in silence. Tell your parents and make a complaint to your school.
We know that bullying can really take its toll, but remember; whatever they are saying or doing is a reflection of them, not you. Don’t go through it alone and erase them from your online world, you’ll honestly feel the better for it.
If you are struggling, check out our Helplines section for some additional help and resources.
Have you ever experienced online bullying?