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Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying. It happens on social media, online forums, text and email.

Examples of cyberbullying include:

  • abusive messages or slagging on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram
  • offensive comments on videos or posts
  • spreading rumours online
  • hacking into your online accounts
  • posting offensive or intimate images

Cyberbullying can happen to anyone. People can create fake or anonymous profiles and make hurtful comments.

You can also be bullied by someone you know.

Online bullying is serious. Many laws have been introduced to protect people.

How to avoid cyberbullying

Never give out your passwords

Always keep your passwords and PINs to yourself. If you use a public computer, log out of your email and social media accounts. Use good passwords for your phone.

Pick your social friends carefully

Whatever you post online can be seen by everyone who has access to your page or the discussion board.

Make sure you really want to share the information. Even if you have a private account, anything you post is considered public.

What to do if private photos end up online

Be polite

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.

Do not send a message when you are angry

Wait until you have calmed down and had time to think.

The internet does not forget

Posts and messages can never be permanently deleted. Snapchat offers temporary posts. These posts can easily be screen-grabbed.

How to deal with cyberbullying

Do not reply

Do not 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. If you never reply, they will probably get bored and leave you alone.

Report or block someone

You can block people from phoning or sending texts. You can also report them. Find out how to report or block people in the help section or frequently asked questions section (FAQ) of a website or app.

Go offline

If you feel like social media is becoming too much, switch off. Think about how much time and energy you spend on social media and if you need to keep your account.

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 username, a new email address and a new mobile number. Only give them to your closest friends.

Tell someone

If cyberbullying is bothering you, do not keep it to yourself. Talk to someone about it.

Talking to other people about your problems

Inform the Gardaí

If the messages are extremely offensive and intending to cause harm, tell the Gardaí. It's against the law to threaten people and the Gardaí can put a stop to it. They are there to keep you safe.

Keep a record

You do not 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. It can also help the Gardaí or your ISP find out where the messages are coming from.

What to do if you're being bullied

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025