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Online Bullying

Online bullying can be described as bullying using technology or online services or platforms, e.g. gaming, social media, messaging services, forums and chatrooms. Like most bullying behaviour, the actions are often repeated and are deliberately designed to cause distress or harm to the victim. The bullying can be carried out on a range of devices including mobile phones, tablets, games consoles, laptops and computers.

Online bullying can include:

  • threatening behaviour
  • abuse
  • harassment
  • shaming
  • exclusion
  • identify theft
  • malicious damage
  • non-consensual sharing of images/videos
  • coercion.

How can I support my child who is being bullied?

As a parent or carer, you might well share the upset, hurt and anger that your child is feeling. It is important not to over-react in this situation.

It is important that:

  • you acknowledge that your child has had the courage to come forward and reassure them that they have done the right thing by speaking up
  • you listen to what they have to say without judging them, the pressures on young people to behave in certain ways means that they might have felt that they had to put themselves in certain situations
  • you save any evidence, maybe through taking screenshots of the bullying
  • you talk through what your options are. A blanket ban on technology for example, might be an effective protection in the short term but ultimately feels like a punishment for being a victim
  • you identify actions that you can take such as reporting the abuse to the technology platform (bullying goes against most terms and conditions of use) or engaging with the school to raise awareness of the issue.

What should I look out for?

Not all children will speak up if they are being bullied but there are signs and symptoms to watch out for if you think your child is a victim of bullying online. Many of these behaviours relate to bullying in general:

  • becoming more withdrawn
  • not doing so well in school
  • wanting to miss school
  • avoiding using technology/becoming upset at using technology
  • loss of confidence.

Where can I go for help?

There are a number of websites which offer advice to parents/carers with regards to online bullying. have a section on protecting your child.

The NSPCC have an area on the website dedicated to parents/carers called 'keeping children safe'.

Childnet have an area for parents and carers on cyberbullying.

There is advice for parents and carers from a range of sources on Hwb.

You might like to take a look at the "Is your child being bullied?" leaflet.

Family Point also have an advice page with advice from Meic (the helpline for young people in Wales up to 25 years old).