We offer a free and confidential service to help people experiencing online bullying, abuse and harassment. We can also explain how the Harmful Digital Communications Act (HDCA) may apply to you as this law deals with image based abuse (like revenge porn), incitement to suicide and extremely offensive, abusive or harassing content.

WHAT IS ONLINE BULLYING

Online bullying (also known as cyberbullying) is when a person uses digital technology to send, post or publish content with the intention to harm another person or a group. This behaviour is often aggressive, is repeated and involves some kind of power imbalance between the people involved. Online bullying can take many forms like:

  • name calling online
  • repeated unwanted online messages
  • spreading rumours or lies
  • fake accounts used to harass people
  • excluding people from social activities
  • embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles

HOW NETSAFE CAN HELP

We are not an enforcement agency, but we do have a high success rate in resolving problems. Once you contact Netsafe, our team will ask you questions to understand what’s happening and will discuss the options to stop the abuse. Sometimes we can contact the person you believe is responsible to try to resolve it and may involve the person or the organisation the content is hosted on to get them to help. 

As we are an impartial service, we focus on resolving the issue and not on behalf of anyone involved. We will never contact the person you believe has been harassing you without your permission.  Find out more about what happens when you report harmful content.

OPTIONS FOR DEALING WITH ONLINE BULLYING

We can talk to you about the best options available to you, but there are somethings you can do yourself

Social media: Most social networking sites allow you to report content, and block and unfriend people. If you’re not sure how, visit the safety centres of the social media platforms they use.


FacebookSnapchatInstagram | YouTube | Twitter

There is also the ability to disable comments on posts and videos on Instagram and YouTube.

Mobile: You may want to block phone numbers that are sending bullying or abusive messages. You can find instructions for blocking numbers on your phone by searching online. Use the words “how to block phone numbers” + the model of your phone. For example, search “how to block phone numbers Samsung Galaxy S7”. Your service provider may be able to help.

Students: You can contact Netsafe for advice and we also recommend you talk to your parents, teachers, or another adult you trust. We help people dealing with online bullying everyday, so there’s no need to feel nervous about letting us know what’s going on.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE ONLINE BULLYING

If you see online bullying, you can report the problem anonymously to the website or app where it’s taking place. You can also support the person being targeted by:

  • Asking if they’re okay: This helps them feel less isolated which can lessen the impacts of bullying
  • Not replying: Tell them not to reply or respond to any messages or make contact with the person bullying them.
  • Saving evidence: Encourage your friend to saves the messages and take screenshots of website and chat abuse. Find out how here
  • Reporting it: If the online bullying is happening on a social media site, encourage them to report it as abuse
  • Getting help: Let your friend know Netsafe can tell them if there’s anything they can do to stop the abuse and stay safe

CONTACT NETSAFE FOR HELP

If you’re concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else, please call 111. 

If you would like Netsafe to provide you with advice and support, you just need to fill out an online contact form, email help@netsafe.org.nz, text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282 or call us 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723). 

FAQs

I don’t know if what I’m experiencing is serious enough. Can Netsafe help me? We offer help for all online incidents.

Do I need proof of the harassment? It’s helpful if you have examples so we can encourage you to take screenshots. You can find instructions about how to do this here. 

I took nude photos/videos for private use, but now they are public – what can I do? Contact Netsafe for non-judgmental advice. You can read more about leaked photos, nudes and revenge porn here.

Can I contact Netsafe on behalf of someone else? Yes, we can provide you with advice, but Netsafe can’t take action unless the person impacted agrees to it. Parent, guardian or caregivers can report to us and educators can contact Netsafe on behalf of a student. 

I’m a young person and I’m not quite sure what to do – can you help? Yes, we can. You can call, text 4282 or complete an online contact form. You can choose whether you want us to call you back, or just email you.

I’m getting abuse from fake accounts – can you trace who is responsible? Netsafe does not have investigative powers so we can’t trace who is behind fake accounts, however there are options available and we can advise you on what you can do.

I’m on holiday in New Zealand – can you still help me? Yes, anyone in New Zealand can contact us for help. 

What if the person causing me harm is overseas? Netsafe can provide you with advice about the options available to you.