Bullying is never OK, whether it happens at school, at home or on the internet. If you're receiving nasty messages, people are posting unwanted things about you or you're being harassed in any way online, it needs to be stopped.
The first thing you can do is block and report the people involved. You can also use the privacy settings on your social networks to limit what they can see on your profile.
You may also want to talk to someone about what's happening. Bullying is serious, and even if it's being done online, there may be ways to get it sorted out. That's especially true if it's people you know in real life, such as schoolmates.
Some people prefer talking online than face to face. You might find the idea speaking to someone a bit daunting, and that’s ok. There are ways of getting support online if you find it easier to type than to talk.
There are lots of online communities which might be able to provide you with support. But remember, not all the advice you get online is from experts, even if it comes from people who know what you are going through. Positive communities will never advise you to do anything harmful, or anything which makes you feel worse.
Don’t forget to look out for your mates too. If they’re behaving differently online, for example if they’re oversharing, posting lots more than usual, or suddenly not posting anything at all, it could be a sign that something’s up. A quick message can let them know you’re there for them if they want to talk.
Sharing, oversharing and your privacy
From sandwich pics to soul-searching poetry, we share a lot of our lives online. How much is too much? And what should you say if someone wants information you're not ready to share?
Some things to remember:
- What you put online stays online. Even things you delete can be saved or screenshotted – including those Snapchat snaps meant for just one friend.
- Online strangers are still strangers. Forums and group chats can be a great way to connect over things you wouldn't say face to face, but don't feel pressured to share more than you feel comfortable with.
- It's easy to over-share on social media sites, especially if you forget who can see your profile. You can use Facebook's Friend settings to create lists so that only people you trust can see all your updates.
- Privacy is possible. Make sure you use social media site settings to protect your information. Don't hesitate to block anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
Where to get help and information
Want more information about being smart and safe online?
Need advice and support over the phone, online chat or email?
Parents and carers worried about their children online can contact the YoungMinds Parents Helpline
See what we're doing to make children's online lives better with the YoungMinds Digital Resilience project