Since you’re studying from home, you’re probably spending a lot of time online.
The Internet enables us to do some pretty extraordinary things – complete a semester of University, for example – but it also has its ugly parts.
Take cyberbullying, for instance. It’s something we all need to be across in order to stay safe online.
Here we’ll take you through the ins and outs of cyberbullying, as well as some practical tips on what to do if you experience or witness online harassment.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.
What cyberbullying looks like
- Mean comments or rumours spread on social media sites, through email, or through a text message
- Using a victim’s password to break into their account to impersonate the victim or post embarrassing messages about them
- Posting embarrassing content about someone
- Threatening someone through a live streaming system
How you can be an active bystander
If you see bullying behaviour online don’t just let it slide.
Depending on your style and what you feel confident doing, helping your friend could be as easy as sending a direct message (DM) to make sure they’re OK. If it feels safe and right, you might even step up and call out the bad behaviour online. There are a number of ways you can take action.
What you can do?
DM your friend: Message them to make sure they’re OK and remind them that you are available to support them if they need it.
Call it out: If you feel safe and confident, stand up to the person doing the bullying and make it clear that what they are doing is not right. This can be as subtle as a ‘thumbs down emoji’ or even a comment like ‘not cool’.
Get extra help: If your friend seems really impacted by the cyberbullying then speak to them about the supports offered by La Trobe such as the Student Counselling Service and Speak Up.
Help your friend to report cyberbullying: You can do this by contacting Speak Up or by completing an online reporting tool provided by eSafety.
Support available if you are experiencing cyberbullying
As a student at LTU, you can access a number of support services.
- Support: If you are experiencing cyberbullying or any form of online harassment you can access the University Counselling Service for support and assistance with coping. If you want to make a report, get advice or assistance on how to manage the cyberbullying you can access Safer Community for specialist support and advice. Know that there is support for you.
- Evidence: If you are experiencing cyberbullying keep relevant evidence for investigations. This can be done by taking screenshots or printing web pages. Always keep phone messages.
- Inform: To prevent future cyberbullying make sure to change passwords, contact details, block profiles on social networking sites and report abuse online.
- No Retaliation: Ensure that you do not retaliate or reply to the messages.
- Privacy: You are encouraged to keep personal information private on the internet.
- Report: Abuse on social networking sites or through text messaging needs to be reported to the websites and mobile phone service providers.
- Referral: Refer yourself to Safer Community. Also check out the eSafety Commission for more advice and support regarding cyberbullying
How to contact Speak Up