Helping Friends and Family
Advice for young people who are being bullied online. If you don’t know how best to help someone and are worried, contact NetSafe for practical assistance with popular social media platforms
Sometimes it will be a family member who has an online problem and you may be the only person they feel OK to talk with as someone helping friends and family.
The most important thing is to listen to what the other person wants to share and what they want to have happen. Try not to judge them or blame them for what has happened. Once it is done, that part is over, what is important is that they fix it now and learn from their mistakes for next time.
It’s more helpful to realise that lots of good people do dumb things and support is what is needed.
Even if the person you see hurting is not your best friend, you and others who can see how something is affecting another young person are instrumental in intervening in the hurt.
What can I do to support someone?
Read our advice below if you or a friend is being bullied online. If you don’t know how best to help someone then get in touch for Netsafe so you can be helping friends and family.
What to do
- What does the person want to have happen? It could be just someone sympathetic to listen to them and check in every day.
- It may be support to go and see an adult they trust and get some more support and some action happening say at school.
- It may be someone to help them explain to a parent or caregiver that they are hurting.
- You can help with practical advice, how to report something on a social media site, how to block texts, etc. If you are not sure call NetSafe on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723) All calls can be anonymous and are confidential.
- Support needs to be ongoing. Intervention may mean the nasty comments stop, or your friend gets back control of their social media site, but them months later the bullies may return in force. Keep checking in and offering your help.
- Read our advice on reporting cyberbullying and online harassment.
What NOT to do
The most damaging thing to do is to get caught up in attacking the others involved. As you can imagine, this will just make the problem bigger and bigger. No matter how much you want to protect and defend your friend or relative, attacking will only make it worse.
More advice and information
- Contact Netsafe if you’d like further help on 0508 NETSAFE
- Learn about the Harmful Digital Communications Act and how it helps people experiencing cyberbullying, online abuse and harassment.