How to stop a cyberbully

Social media platforms and online forums have the power to connect people around the world. They build community and togetherness, and they offer a place for people to give each other, love, support, and guidance.

However, this connectivity does come with a dangerous downfall—cyberbullying. Cyberbullying poses a real threat to today’s youth, which is why it’s important to know strategies for preventing and stopping incidents of cyberbullying.

Ask the person to stop

Keep in mind that a short and direct request is best, and you should only ask the person to stop if you feel safe enough to do so. Otherwise, avoid interacting with them in any way.

Don’t retaliate

Cyberbullies hide behind the anonymity of the internet and they use the secrecy of fake accounts or private messages to disturb, discourage, and scare others. Engaging in a back and forth conversation with this person could actually excite or even enrage them.

Gather evidence

The first step in doing this is to gather evidence of bullying or harassment. You should screenshot, download, and save messages, images, videos, or voice recordings sent by the attacker—even if they are embarrassing or upsetting. Remember to also save proof that you asked the person to stop.

Block and report

Protect your emotional well-being by blocking the bully’s phone number and social media accounts. Next, report the person or user to the appropriate authority. Sometimes this is as simple as making an in-app complaint, and other times it may require contacting a school administrator or even the police.

Reach out to a trusted adult

Your feelings matter. If someone is trying to tear you down, it’s best to find some allies in trying to build you back up. Talking to a supportive counselor, teacher, parent, or coach is a good place to start.