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While technology can help people stay connected and informed, it can also create spaces for unsafe conversations and bullying behaviour that can cause real harm.
Using cellphones, social media sites and online chat are really common ways for young people to build relationships, stay in touch with friends and work together. Talking to friends whenever they want can make young people feel included and safe.
Unfortunately, some people use these technologies to communicate in harmful ways: to hurt, embarrass, or harass others. Cyberbullying can happen in any digital space that a young person uses to communicate with their friends, and can be really harmful. People targeted by bullying behaviour online can feel like there's no escape.
Fortunately, there are ways to use technology safely.
If someone is being bullied online or through text, you might notice:
Bullying and harassment can be hard to talk about. Some people might be scared they’ll get in trouble or that their parents or caregivers will take their phone or internet access away.
Young people are often worried that if they say anything about cyberbullying, they will have their phone or internet access taken away. This can end up making them feel more isolated and they will be less likely to ask for help. Here are some other things you could do to help them stay safe:
Netsafe gives advice for young people, parents, and teachers about staying safe online.
Provided by Netsafe, this cyberbullying website contains guidance for young people, parents, caregivers, teachers and principals who want help to understand and deal with bullying that takes place in cyberspace.
The orb has been developed by NetSafe to offer all New Zealanders a simple and secure way to report their concerns about online incidents.
A student led project based in Central Otago for young people to promote positive action online and encourage everyone stand up to cyber bullying and raise awareness of its impact. Includes information for young people and parents, and a forum for shared discussion.
Confidential Helpline: 0800 376 633
Youthline provides free phone, text, and email counselling support. Its website has information for youth dealing with challenging situations including information about bullying.