How to deal with cyber-bullying

England’s Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, recently suggested that children “remain an afterthought” for the world’s biggest social media companies.

Social media has spent a fair amount of time in the headlines recently, and with children gaining access to platforms such as Facebook and Instagram at an increasingly early age, parents are understandably concerned about exposure to disturbing content and the threat of cyber-bullying.

If you’ve been the victim of cyber-bullying or have concerns over your child’s safety online, we’ve got some tips on how to deal with instances of online harassment.

1. Realise the comments are no reflection of you

It’s vitally important to remember that any comments directed towards you are no reflection of who you are.

You’ve done absolutely nothing wrong if you’re being bullied online; the blame lies solely with the bully, and the fact that it’s taking place online doesn’t mean it can be compared in any lesser extent to bullying that takes place in real life.

All forms of bullying are wrong and the comments or actions of the bullies themselves can never be justified.

2. Don’t retaliate

It might be tempting to retaliate to online bullies, but this will only make the situation worse and, more importantly, probably make you feel worse, too.

If you feel the urge to respond, try writing your feelings down privately with a promise to yourself that you’ll never send the message.

3. Seek support

You don’t have to suffer alone. If you’re being cyber-bullied, reach out to your family or close friends and tell them what’s happening. Just talking about it might make you feel better, and they’ll be able to support you directly.

If you feel you’d like to talk to someone experienced, impartial and who won’t judge, Voice is here for you, whenever you’re ready. Find out more about the help we offer victims of cyber-bullying by clicking here.

4. Avoid re-reading offensive comments

If you read an offensive comment aimed at you over and over, this will possibly only make you feel worse or more angry.

As soon as you discover an offensive comment aimed at you, report it to the social network in question (you don’t have to do this, but it’s important to remember that such reports are usually anonymous and the person who posted the offensive comment won’t be notified it was you).

5. Take a break from technology

Taking a break from your smartphone and social media sites won’t make you feel instantly better, nor will it remove the hurt caused by the cyberbully, but it will give you time to remove yourself from that digital world and be kind to yourself in the real world.

Indulge in activities and time with loved ones that make you feel happy. You can return to social media at some stage – and cyber-bullies certainly shouldn’t put you off using such services – but a break may help you on the road to recovery.

We can help

Remember – Voice is here for you, whenever you feel ready to contact us. We’ll offer an experienced, non-judgemental, impartial ear.

To find out how we can help victims of cyber-bullying cope, recover and thrive, click here.