Cyberbullying is a major concern for parents and teachers. The Department of Education's Anti-bullying site offers advice to parents and teachers on how identify and respond to cyberbullying to keep children and young people safe online.
When trying to keep children and young people safe online, prevention is always better than cure, but when cyberbullying does happen it is important that parents, teachers and children and young people know how to respond and where they can go to get help.
How to respond to cyber-bullying
The Department of Education’s Anti-bullying website refers to cyber-bullying as the act of bullying behaviour using the internet or digital devices. It might include:
- sending abusive texts and emails
- posting unkind messages or images
- imitating others online
- excluding others online
- tagging people in pictures against their wishes
- threatening another person to do something such as sending revealing images.
Teach children and young people to follow the following steps to reduce and prevent cyberbullying:
- don’t reply or respond - bullies thrive on the reactions they get from their victims.
- save the evidence - take screenshots of cyberbullying posts so that you can use them as evidence later
- tell a trusted adult - you do not need to deal with bullies by yourself, teachers and parents can help
- report cyberbullying - this could be to your school or in more serious cases to the police and the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.
What to do when a child reports cyber-bullying
Once a child reports cyber-bullying:
- Listen carefully
- Discuss a plan of action
- Involve relevant school personnel
- Implement a plan and follow up
Download the Anti-bullying- parents and carers online bullying fact sheet (PDF 223.73 KB) or go to the Anti-bullying website for more information.
Support and further help
For more serious cases, reporting directly to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner is recommended. Go to:
- Collecting information and evidence
- Reporting cyberbullying to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner
- Cyberbullying support tool for parents
Professional learning for educators
Teaching positive, smart and safe online practices can help create an environment where cyber-bulling is reduced. There is a range of training and support to help educators deliver digital citizenship outcomes such as:
- The Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s Outreach Program
- The Child Health Promotion Research Centre – Student Cyber leaders
Lesson plans are available on The Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s website including:
Curriculum and syllabus links
NSW Syllabus outcomes
Australian Curriculum content descriptions
- 'Staying safe online - information for students', NSW Department of Education, accessed 5 February 2019
- 'Keeping my child safe online - information for parents', NSW Department of Education, accessed 5 February 2019
- 'Recognising and responding to online bullying - information for teachers', NSW Department of Education, accessed 5 February 2019
- 'Cyberbullying', Office of the eSafety Commissioner, accessed 5 February 2019
- 'Cyberbullying', Kids Helpline, accessed 5 February 2019
- 'Online bullying', Bullying.No Way, accessed 5 February 2019
- 'Being reasonable and ethical online - lesson plans', Bullying.No Way, accessed 5 February 2019
- '5 strategies for dealing with cyberbullying', ReachOut, accessed 5 February 2019