Cyberbullying: Advice for Children & Young People

You can take control by not putting up with offensive content and by reporting it when you come across it. Here are some ways you can respond to unwanted messages.

Don’t Reply to messages that harass or annoy you. Even though you may really want to, this is exactly what the sender wants. They want to know that they’ve got you worried and upset. They are trying to mess with your head, don’t give them that satisfaction.

If you respond with an even nastier message it makes them think that they really got to you, and that’s just what they want. They might even complain about you!

Keep the Message. You don’t have to read it, but keep it. Keep a record that outlines, where possible, the details, dates and times of any form of bullying that you experience. This would be useful in the event that an investigation is carried out by your school, youth organisation, or even the Gardaí. Collect and keep the evidence.

Tell Someone you trust. Talking to your parents, friends, a teacher, youth leader or someone you trust is usually the first step.

Block the Sender. Don’t put up with it – block it! It may be possible to restrict unwanted communications (check the device manual or seek adult help). Mobile networks can’t bar numbers but they will help you to change your phone number in the case of serious bullying.

Report Problems to the people who can do something about it. Responsible websites and mobile phone operators provide ways for their users to report things such as pornography, bullying content, or other offensive material.

Step 1: Report to the website, social network or mobile phone operator

If something that is hurtful or offensive to someone is posted on a website, social network or circulated by mobile phone, your first step should be to contact the owners of the service. For information on how to do this see Section 7 of this publication. If this doesn’t have any effect, move on to step 2.

Step 2: Report Serious Issues

Serious incidents that could be illegal should be reported to the Gardaí. Illegal issues include inappropriate sexual suggestions, racist remarks, or persistent bullying that is seriously damaging to the victim’s well-being.

If you are being bullied by mobile phone, contact your mobile phone operator, they can help by changing your phone number.

This article was taken from the ‘Get with it!’ Series “A guide to cyberbullying” 2013. Produced by The Office for Internet Safety, Department of Justice and Equality. You can get further information on general internet safety issues by visiting 

To access the full booklet click here 

This booklet is intended to increase awareness of all aspects of cyberbullying in the new media world and to help parents and their children understand the often confusing issues of new media technologies and tools which children and young people are using for this behaviour.