1. Know that it’s not your fault.
What people call “bullying” is sometimes just an argument between two people. Bullying is different because it happens when someone is repeatedly cruel. No one deserves to be treated cruelly for any reason.
2. Don’t respond or retaliate.
Sometimes a reaction is exactly what aggressors are looking for because they want to know that they are upsetting you. If you don't respond they don't have the satisfaction of knowing that they are getting under your skin. As for retaliating, getting back at a bully by being cruel yourself turns you into a bully.
3. Try the buddy method.
If you can, remove yourself from the situation or ask a friend to stay close. Often bullies will leave you alone if you have someone else around. It is also important to remember that if you are alone with a bully humor sometimes disarms or distracts a person from bullying.
4. Save the evidence. The only good news about bullying online or on phones is that it can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. Save all the evidence, because it will help identify a pattern of cyber bullying in case things do escalate. [Visit ConnectSafely.org/cyberbullying for instructions on how to capture screens on phones and computers.]
5. Tell the person to stop.
It is okay to tell someone that you don't like the way they are treating you. If you are uncomfortable with saying something to them, you don't have to. If you choose to tell them to stop you will need to completely clear that you will not stand for this treatment any more. It is a good idea to use step #3 or practice beforehand with someone you trust, like a parent or good friend.
6. Reach out for help.
There is no shame in asking for advice or help. This is especially important if the behavior’s really getting to you. Look for someone who will listen and help you decide how to work through it. Some ideas of people who might help are your parents, school counselors, therapists, teachers or pastors.
7. Use available tech tools.
Most social media apps and services allow you to block the person. Whether the harassment’s in an app, texting, comments or tagged photos, do yourself a favor and block the person. Every time you see one of the cruel messages, you are allowing the bully some space in your head.
8. Use the police.
If you’re getting threats of physical harm, you should call your local police (you can ask a trusted adult for help) and consider reporting the threats to school authorities.
9. Protect your accounts.
Don’t share your passwords with anyone. Even your closest friends because you may not be close forever. If you are being bullied, change your passwords right away to stop anyone else from having access to your accounts. Always password-protect your phone so no one can use it to impersonate you. For advice on passwords specifically check out passwords.connectsafely.org.
10. f someone you know is being bullied, take action.
Just standing by does nothing to help and can make the situation worse. Someone who is being bullied needs to know that there are people supporting them. The best thing you can do is try to stop the bullying by taking take a stand against it. Even if you can’t stop it, support the person being bullied by telling them you support them. Sometimes a kind word can help reduce the pain for the person who is being bullied.