Secondary: Words won't hurt

Online bullying can feel much worse than offline bullying.

What’s the issue?

Most online bullies are offline bullies too. Bullies often choose any small difference or something they think the person is concerned about as an excuse for bullying. With social media sites being accessible all day and night, it can feel like there is no safe place to escape from the bullying.

Why does it matter?

  • Bullying often has long-term negative effects on people’s well being, both emotionally and physically.
  • It is even easier to spread lies and rumours through social media than face-to-face. It is hard to stay connected to friends when it means that bullies can get to you too.
  • Research shows that boys most often bully other boys and girls tend to bully girls but when a boy bullies a girl (or vice-versa) it can have a very strong impact because young people are still developing and changing so much physically and emotionally.


Tell someone you trust

Talk to someone you trust to help you work out some strategies to stop the impact the bullying is having on you. Sometimes your friends aren’t the best people to seek help from, as they may not have enough knowledge. Ask older siblings or trusted adults to help and support you.

Report and gather evidence of the bullying

  • Report the bullying to the people who run the site you are using.
  • Print out or make a copy of texts and screen dumps so that you can show a trusted adult what is happening.
  • Get help! You deserve to feel safe and to make your own choices.

Use privacy settings to lock out people you don’t trust or like

  • Research privacy settings of the site. Make sure that you have activated the relevant settings that are there to protect you.
  • Bullies love to make you change your behaviours, and they would like to cut you off from other people. Don’t let them!

Printable advice sheets

To download a copy of this advice sheet, see: