Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a relatively new form of bullying which has started happening a lot on social networking sites, online forums and by email or text.

Examples of cyberbullying behaviour are:

  • abusive messages or slagging on Facebook, Twitter etc
  • offensive comments on videos or posts
  • spreading rumours online
  • hacking into your online accounts
  • posting offensive images

Cyberbullying can happen to anyone – think about all the Youtube comment pages or gossip sites that are full of people putting other people down. Whoever’s doing it can act anonymously and can say things they’d never say in real life. It’s important to remember it’s just as serious as face-to-face bullying and no one should have to deal with it. It’s really important to learn how to protect yourself online and how to respond if you or a friend is having a tough time with it.

How to avoid it

  • Never give out your passwords – always keep your passwords and PIN numbers to yourself, and make a habit of logging out of your email/Facebook page if you’re using a public computer.
  • Pick your friends carefully – remember whatever you post online can be seen by everyone who’s got access to your page or the discussion board. If it’s Facebook, only make friends with people you’re ok sharing information with.
  • Use Netiquette – be polite to other people online. Think about what you’re saying and whether it might be hurtful or embarrass them in public, even if it’s funny.
  • Don’t send a message to someone else when you’re angry – wait until you’ve calmed down and had time to think. Once you’ve sent it, you can’t take it back.
  • Don’t forget that nothing is permanently deleted. Even sites like Snapchat which claims to remove seen files can’t guarantee this. Everyone knows how to screen-grab a snapchat, but people claim to know how to retrieve snapchats which should’ve vanished.

How to deal with it

  • Don’t reply – even though you might really want to, don’t rise to the bait and reply to messages from someone who’s bullying you. They want to know that they’ve got you worried and upset. Chances are if you never reply they’ll get bored and leave you alone.
  • Learn how to manage your social media platforms. If you look at the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section of a website or app you’ll be able to find out how to report or stop unwanted users from targeting your page. 
  • Go offline – if you feel like it’s invading every bit of your life, remember you can turn off your computer and your phone anytime. Ditch virtual reality for some actual reality for a while.
  • Inform your phone company or Internet Service Provider (ISP)– they can block texts, calls or online messages from specific people.
  • Change your contact details – get a new user name, a new email address, a new mobile number and only give them to your closest friends. This doesn’t mean you’re giving in, you’re just getting on with your own life.
  • Tell someone – if it’s bothering you, don’t keep it to yourself. Talk to someone about it. If you’re worried your parents will freak out, you could talk to a friend, a teacher you trust or a youth worker. Check face-to-face help for more.
  • Inform the Gardaí – if the messages are ever threatening or it’s getting really serious, tell the Gardaí. It’s against the law to threaten people, and the Gardaí can put a stop to it. They’re there to keep you safe, and they generally want to know about stuff like this.
  • Keep a record – you don’t have to read the messages, but keep them and keep a record of the time and date. This can act as evidence if you ever need it, and can help the Gardaí or your ISP find out where the messages are coming from.

Fore more information on what to do about bullying, see what to do if you’re being bullied.

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  1. roisin says:

    Hi there UNKNOWN,

    It sounds like you have been through a lot, receiving abusive messages can be really upsetting and sometimes even quite frightening. No one should ever have to go through this. It's a good thing that you kept evidence of these communications and informed the police and that the abusive text messages have now stopped.

    In terms of the Facebook situation it can get a bit tricky. We are not lawyers but as you said these messages are not being sent to you or mentioning you by name so even if they are about you it could be very difficult to prove. This link has details of how you can report this persons behaviour to Facebook.
    You may find the best thing you can do is try to put this all behind you and block this person from your phone and all of your social media. It may be hard but try not to worry about what your friends may think about this persons posts. If they really are true friends they will now that these messages have nothing to do with who you are. It may be frustrating but by not responding and encouraging your friends not to respond, the bully will not get the reaction they are looking for.

    Being bullied can have a serious effect on your mental health and self-esteem so the best thing you can do is to take care of yourself. If you are feeling down or upset about what is going on it's a good idea to speak to somebody about how you are feeling. A trusted family member or friend can be a good starting point or some people may find it easier to speak to a professional outside of the situation.

    All the best,
    Roisin

  2. UNKNOWN says:

    how can a person prove there been slandered/slagged/bullied/victimised on Facebook...if the person who who is doing it to you is not mentioning your name only putting up stuff that every1 who reads knows its about you...your not friends with this person on Facebook but your friends have seen the stuff the other person has put up as this person has sent you abusive texts to your fone untill you went to the guards and it stopped and then shortly after similar abuse was going on Facebook???? how can you prove its about you??

  3. Derek says:

    Thanks for letting us know Aileen ... for anyone interested in finding out more go to

  4. aileen Rogers says:

    Ready girls face book page is holding a forum on cyberbullying this Friday between 8.30 and 9.30. We have a panel of experts who will give advice and answer questions in relation to this topci. So if you have people who are being affected by this or might want to ask questions or feel they are being bullied then I would be greatful if you could let them know. We are here to help.

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