Bullying / Cyberbullying

In this day and age bullying isn’t limited to the school playground. The introduction of online-based social media has bought on a new type of bullying: cyber bullying.

What is bullying?

Bullying can occur in many different forms. However, bullying can be best described as repeated intentional behaviour which causes a person or a group of people to feel distress and a risk to their well-being.

Bullying can occur anywhere. It can occur at school, at home, in the workplace, via text message or online. It can be verbal, physical and can include anything posted online about or towards a person. Cyber bullying is the label given to bullying that occurs via electronic messaging, social media or mobile phones.

Bullying can be face-to-face which can involve physical violence or direct verbal actions such as name-calling.

Bullying can also occur covertly. Others don’t see this type of bullying easily, as it often happens out of sight. This can include actions such as excluding someone from a group or spreading lies about a person.

What are some of the typical bullying behaviours?

Some typical behaviours include:

  • Intentionally leaving someone out of a group - either online or offline;
  • Spreading rumours, lies or misrepresenting a person;
  • Giving a person nasty looks, calling them names, being rude, making rude gestures, and constantly negatively teasing someone;
  • Stalking someone;
  • Causing intentional and repeated physical or emotional harm;
  • Taking advantage of power over someone;
  • Teasing someone based on their race, religion, sexuality, gender, or disability.

What can I do (or my teen do) about bullies?

If your teen is being bullied the first thing they should do is speak to someone about it that they trust, or contact Kids helpline for someone to speak to. If your teen feels safe enough and have the confidence they should talk to the bully and let them know that their behaviour is unwanted, however you should never encourage your teen to fight.

If you teen is being bullied, either at school or online (it doesn't matter if the online bully is a student as many schools are able to support your teen) they should speak to a teacher or the school counsellor and let them know what is going on. Let your teen know that if the bullying persists you will also speak to the school and if you are not satisified with how the situation is resolved make an appointment to see the school principal. 

If your teen is being bullied online block the bully, change your privacy settings and report the bully to service provider. Keep the evidence of the bullying, save text messages, emails, and screenshots of any online conversations. If the social media service does not respond to your complaint within 48 hours you can report cyberbullying to the Childrens E-safety Commissioner.

Checkout the Australian Governments E-Safety website which gives you instructions on blocking a user and reporting offensive behaviour.

Do you require more information?

The E-Safety Commissioner is a valuable resource regarding cyberbullying and many other online safety issues (such as sexting, trolling, unwanted contact, protecting personal information and other important topics). This is definitely a fantastic website to keep on hand.

Bullying No Way is a website managed by Safe and Supportive School Communities Working group that provides extensive information about bullying. 

Reach Out is another valuable resource that has many factsheets covering not only bullying and cyberbullying but a number of different topics. 

Kids Helpline is another resource with information and factsheets covering many topics as well as bullying. 


beyondblue. (2016). Youthbeyondblue.com. Retrieved 27 October 2016, from https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/understand-what's-going-on/bullying-and-cyberbullying

Bullying. (2016). ReachOut.com. Retrieved 27 October 2016, from http://au.reachout.com/factsheets/b/bullying

Cyberbullying. (2016). Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner. Retrieved 27 October 2016, from https://www.esafety.gov.au/esafety-information/esafety-issues/cyberbullying

Kuykendall, S. (2012). Bullying. : ABC-CLIO. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com.ezproxy.newcastle.edu.au

Reporting bullying. (2016). Bullyingnoway.gov.au. Retrieved 27 October 2016, from https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/RespondingToBullying/ReportingBullying