Helping a friend being bullied

image cutout of a friend hugging an upset friend

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do to when you see someone being bullied online. We’ve written our tips on how to be an upstander online.

1. Reach out

Bullying is isolating. Reach out in person or through an online message and ask if they’re okay. This is important as it can let the person they’re not alone.

2. Gather evidence

Encourage the person being bullied to save, take screenshots and note URLs of any harassing messages or posts. This proof will be useful in addressing the harassing behaviour.

3. Report it

Use the reporting functions of the platform, game or website.

4. Recruit help

You might want to consider talking to a parent, teacher, counsellor or family friend particularly if your friend seems down. Let them know there are services like YouthLine and Netsafe that can help.

5. Don’t escalate

When emotions are running high it’s easy for things to escalate. Explain to your friend that it’s best if they don’t reply or respond to any messages or make contact with the person bullying them.

Try to not forward the content, add more comments or gossip about it as it could make the situation worse. However, if you know the person doing the bullying and it feels safe, you might want to ask them to stop.

6. Be kind

Make an effort to be a positive person in your friend’s life and think about posting something nice on their social channels.

7. Connect with Netsafe

Encourage the person to check out our website. Our team are available seven days a week to provide free support and advice around online bullying.


If you or someone you know needs help or advice about something that’s happened online, you can contact us seven days a week for free and confidential advice.

Our helpline is open seven days a week. If you’re concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else, call 111.

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