Be an upstander, not a bystander

Online or offline, bullying hurts. Teach your teens what is and isn't acceptable communication on the web. And if you suspect that your teen might be the victim of bullying or engaging in bullying activity, step in. The advice from our partners might also be useful when you have those conversations.

Advice from our partners

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation

Young people have wonderful experiences online, but unfortunately cyberbullying is one of the main risks they experience there. Offline conflicts are frequently replicated online, on a range of platforms. Cyberbullying can take different forms, from name-calling and abusive comments, exclusion, online impersonation, spread of images without consent to threats of physical harm.

Bullying is a social relationship problem deeply embedded in our culture that requires relationship solutions. This means that the work of repairing relationships needs to happen in the context of those relationships – the school and at home. Because of the detrimental nature of all sorts of bullying, the harm experienced by both target and bully can persist into adulthood. Bullying hurts.

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation is a national charity keeping children safe from violence and bullying. Developed by the Foundation, eSmart is a world-leading system to help manage cybersafety, and deal with cyberbullying and bullying. It focuses on equipping the community with the skills to be smart, safe and responsible online.

For more information visit amf.org.au or esmart.org.au.

Bullying. No way!

Young people have fully embraced the use of information and communication technologies to maintain contact with friends and make new ones. They send emails, create their own web sites, post intimate personal news in blogs (online interactive diaries), send text messages and images via cell phone, message each other through IMs (instant messages), chat in chatrooms, post to discussion boards, and seek out new friends in teen community sites.

While most interactions are positive, there are increasing reports of these technologies being used to harass and intimidate others. This has become known as cyberbullying.

What can parents do if they feel their child is being bullied?

Get involved and be aware. Learn how your child is using these technologies and talk to them about what they do online. Encourage your child to speak with you if they feel uncomfortable or threatened by someone. An open line of communication is paramount, because if you “freak out” when they turn to you for help the first time, they won’t come back to you next time.

Take action if your child is being bullied online. Watch for signs that your child is being bullied. Reluctance to use the computer or go to school may be an indication. If you are aware of the bullying there are a few different solutions you could take. If the bully is from the same school, meet with school officials. If it escalates, report the issue to the police. Online harassment can be reported to your internet service provider. If it is through a mobile phone report the issue to the phone service provider.

Encourage your child to develop their own moral code so they will choose to behave ethically with the technologies. Talk to them about responsible use. Teach them to never post or say anything that they wouldn’t want the whole world – including you – to see or read. Work with them to create a contract or agreement with clear rules about ethical behaviour.

Kids Helpline

Cyberbullying is unfortunately extremely common amongst today’s youth. It is different to face-to-face bullying which can somewhat be monitored. Cyberbullying can happen anytime and anywhere, through any computer and any mobile phone. It can take a number of forms including posting negative and hurtful comments on social networking sites, sending unwanted and hurtful emails, excluding people from online events/groups and creating fake profiles or websites. It can be anonymous and it’s often extremely hard to track and punish the bullies. The child being bullied can be left with no idea who is posting the information, and not knowing who is bullying them.

The best response to cyberbullying is a pro-active and preventative one. Talk with your children about how they use the internet and set rules to ensure they themselves are behaving appropriately and not partaking in any bullying. If you suspect your child is being bullied by a schoolmate it is best to approach the school directly about the matter. If you feel your child is being bullied but unwilling to talk to you about the situation, perhaps suggest for them to call Kids Helpline and our experienced counsellors will help them through it.

Office of the eSafety Commissioner

Cyberbullying is the use of the internet, email or mobile phones to deliberately and repeatedly engage in hostile behaviour to harm someone. Cyberbullying can include harassment or behaviour that threatens, humiliates or intimidates, such as abusive texts. Cyberbullying can result in social, psychological and academic difficulties.

Parents need to be aware of what their children are doing online, and how to keep them safe. If your child is being cyberbullied encourage him or her to:

  • talk to you if there is something troubling them; many children won’t confide in their parents because they’re afraid that they won’t be understood
  • not respond or retaliate to any unwanted contact like rude emails or messages on social networking sites
  • block the person who is behaving badly towards them, and report them to the service provider
  • save the evidence, in case this has to be followed up at school, or reported to your ISP or to the police +if there are threats, notify the police immediately.

Safety tools

Discover Google safety tools designed to help your family monitor their online reputation.

YouTube

Manage YouTube Comments

If someone is making comments that you don't like on your videos or Channel, you can block them on YouTube. This means that they won't be able to comment on your stuff or send you private messages.

Learn more

To block someone on YouTube, visit their Channel page, which should have a URL similar to www.youtube.com/user/NAME.

On their “About” tab, click the flag icon.

Lastly, click block user.

YouTube

Share videos with just the right audience

Whether you want to keep a video private, share it with a few friends or release it to the world, there’s a privacy setting for you. On YouTube, videos are set to “Public” by default, but you can easily change the settings in “Privacy Settings” while you’re uploading the video. If you change your mind later, you can change the privacy of an already uploaded video.

Learn more

To change Privacy Settings, visit your Video Manager.

Find the video that you’d like to change, then click the Edit button.

Go to the “Privacy Settings” drop-down menu.

Pick Public to share with everyone, Unlisted to share with users who have a link to the video or Private to share with specific users.

Click Save changes.

Google+

Stop unwanted comments or tags

If you’d rather not see someone’s posts on Google+, you can block them by going to their profile and selecting Report/block [person’s name]. You can also mute specific posts to no longer see them in your stream.

Learn more

To block someone on desktop, go to their profile.

On the side of the profile click Report/block [person’s name].

Confirm that you want to block that person.

Google+

Choose whose updates you see in your stream

What if someone adds you to their circles, but you're not interested in interacting with them? If you don’t want to block them, you can mute them instead. If you mute a user, you will no longer receive notifications from them or their page.

Learn more

Open Google+.

Go to someone’s profile/page.

Click the arrow below their profile photo and info.

Select “Mute [person/page]”.

YouTube

Control the chatter about your videos

It’s easy to moderate the comments on your YouTube channel. You can choose to delete comments or to hold comments from certain people or with certain keywords from being published before you review them.

Learn more

To moderate comments, click the arrow at the upper right-hand side of a comment to see your options.

Click Remove to take down the comment from YouTube.

Or, click Ban from channel to block the user from posting comments on videos and your channel.

In Comment Settings, you can require approval for all new comments before they’re posted or you can disable comments.

Comment Settings allows you to set filters for who can comment on your channel. You can also block comments with certain words.

See more safety tools