Skip navigation and jump to content
Welcome to Ireland's Youth Information Website
Follow us
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Snapchat

Accessibility Options

High Contrast Text Size

What do you do when you see bullying online

It's important to take action if you see someone being bullied

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

Share this article -

When bullying happens online, it is often called cyberbullying. This involves receiving unwanted messages, images, audio or video meant to threaten, abuse or harm someone.

Cyberbullying can include a number of things, including:

  • Sending, sharing, or posting hurtful or abusive messages
  • Posting embarrassing videos or pictures of someone (without their consent)
  • Tagging someone inappropriately in a photo/video
  • Spreading rumours online
  • Threatening someone online
  • Deliberately excluding others from certain activities online such as group chats
  • Trolling someone, which is when someone says mean things to start an argument

If someone is being cyberbullied, it can be a very upsetting and painful experience.

Because the internet is on nearly all our phones and tablets it travels with us, so cyberbullying is a type of bullying that invades our personal space and can reach a large audience.

Find out what to do if you are being cyberbullied.

Restaurant phone sad heartbreak heartbroken divorce breaking up t20 YX Prpm

What to do when you see bullying online

If you see someone being bullied online, it’s important to speak up and act. The more you do, the more other people will do the same.

Say something to the bully

Depending on what both you and the person being bullied are comfortable with, you can send a message privately to the bully. There is a chance they don't realise how harmful their behaviour is, and they could just see it as banter, so pointing it out to them can be helpful.

You can let them know that their behaviour is unacceptable, and that they need to stop or you will report them. If they do not stop immediately, go ahead and report it.

Report it

When you see something online that you think is bullying, report it. On most platforms, reporting is quick and easy to do, but it can make a big difference. If the platform decides behaviour/comments are against their community guidelines they can take action on it. This could mean sending the user a warning, deleting the post or comment, suspending their account, or removing their account entirely.

Some social media platforms will also let you report a person’s profile for spreading hateful or inappropriate things if the cyberbullying is coming repeatedly from one source.

Reporting is anonymous, so the person won’t know that you’ve reported them.

Young woman reading a sad message on mobile device t20 Jag Y6 O

Tell someone

Tell someone you trust if you are seeing cyberbullying. The person experiencing the cyberbullying might not have told anyone, and their family, teachers, or friends might not know what is going on. Talking to someone you trust means they can help you to support your friend.

Remember if someone is in danger of getting hurt it’s important to make sure an adult knows what’s going on. This is the best way to support them.

Reach out to the person being bullied

Being the victim of cyberbullying can be a very isolating experience. The person can often feel like they have no one to talk to or share how they’re feeling with.

If you know the person, let them know you care about them and that you don’t agree with what’s happening. They might or might not want to share how they’re feeling with you, and that’s okay.

If you don’t know the person but still feel it’s appropriate, you can also send them a message of support. They will probably appreciate it.

It also could be the case that someone is being bullied through private messages, and they reach out to you and ask you not to tell anyone. However, telling someone you trust is the best way you can help them find the support they need.

Sad news t20 EPZ3g Q

Help collect evidence

You can also help the person who’s being cyberbullied by taking screenshots of hurtful or abusive comments. That way, if the bully deletes the comment, you will have evidence of the bullying if you or the other person needs it.

Remember, there are a lot of different levels to deal with in cyberbullying, including things you have no control over (for example what the platform will do) and sometimes addressing it can feel overwhelming. But always remember acting to help in whatever way you can is better than doing nothing, and by doing so hopefully other people will follow your example. 

Feeling overwhelmed or want to talk to someone right now?

Share this article -

Published Sep­tem­ber 2nd2020
Tags dcl
Can this be improved? Contact if you have any suggestions for this article.

Need more information?

Request to speak with a youth worker in your area over the phone, by email or text. They may be able to assist you by providing further information specific to your needs.

Youth Work Ireland - Crosscare - YMCA

Contact via: Phone E-mail Text
By clicking submit you agree to our terms and conditions. ​Please note that this service is run by Youth Work Ireland and Crosscare​.​ E​nquiries are not handled by directly.
Jump to related articles
Was this article helpful?