Standing up to Cyberbullying: Top Ten Tips for Teens

Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D.

Don’t be a bystander—stand up to cyberbullying when you see it. Take action to stop something that you know is wrong. These Top Ten Tips will give you specific ideas of what you can do when you witness cyberbullying.

1. REPORT TO SCHOOL. If the person being cyberbullied is someone from your school, report it to your school. Many have anonymous reporting systems to allow you to let them know what you are seeing without disclosing your identity.
2. COLLECT EVIDENCE. Take a screenshot, save the image or message, or screen-record what you see. It will be easier for an adult to help if they can see—and have proof of—exactly what was being said.
3. REPORT TO SITE/APP/GAME. All reputable online environments prohibit cyberbullying and provide easy tools to report violations. Don’t hesitate to report; those sites/apps will protect your identity and not “out” you.
4. TALK TO A TRUSTED ADULT. Develop relationships with adults you can trust and count on to help when you (or a friend) experience something negative online. This could be a parent, teacher, counselor, coach, or family friend.
5. DEMONSTRATE CARE. Show the person being cyberbullied that they are not alone. Send them an encouraging text or snap. Take them aside at school and let them know that you have their back.
6. WORK TOGETHER. Gather your other friends and organize a full-court press of positivity. Post kind comments on their wall or under a photo they’ve posted. Encourage others to help report the harm. There is strength in numbers.
7. TELL THEM TO STOP. If you know the person who is doing the cyberbullying, tell them to knock it off. Explain that it’s not cool to be a jerk to others. But say something—if you remain silent, you are basically telling them that it is ok to do it.
8. DON’T ENCOURAGE IT. If you see cyberbullying happening, don’t support it in any way. Don’t forward it, don’t add emojis in the comments, don’t gossip about it with your friends, and don’t stand on the sidelines.
9. STAY SAFE. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way. When your emotions are running high, resist posting something that may escalate the situation. Don’t hang out online where most people are cruel. Never physically threaten others.
10. DON’T GIVE UP. Think creatively about what can be done to stop cyberbullying. Brainstorm with others and use everyone’s talents to do something epic!

Dr. Sameer Hinduja, Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center

Dr. Hinduja is a Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University (focus area: computer crime) and his B.S. in Criminal Justice (minor in legal studies) from the University of Central Florida Honors College. 

Dr. Justin W. Patchin, Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center

Dr. Patchin is a Professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University and his B.S. in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. 

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