Helping a friend being bullied

image cutout of a friend hugging an upset friend

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do to when you see someone being bullied online. We’ve written our tips on how to be an upstander online.

1. Reach out

Bullying is isolating. Reach out in person or through an online message to let the person know they’re not alone and ask if they’re okay. This is important as it can also help lessen the impacts of bullying.

2. Gather evidence

Encourage the person being bullied to save, take screenshots and note URLs of any harassing messages or posts. This proof will be useful in addressing the behaviour.

3. Report it

Use the reporting functions of the platform, game or website.

4. Recruit help

You might want to consider talking to a parent, teacher, counsellor or family friend particularly if your friend seems down. Let them know there are services like YouthLine and Netsafe that can help.

5. Don’t escalate

When emotions are running high it’s easy for things to escalate. Explain to your friend it is best if they don’t reply or respond to any messages or make contact with the person bullying them.

You should also not do anything to amplify the harm – don’t forward, add comments or gossip about it. If you know the person doing the bullying and it feels safe, you might want to ask them to stop.

6. Be kind

Make an effort to be a positive person in your friend’s life and think about posting something nice on their social channels.

7. Connect with Netsafe

Encourage the person to check out our website. Our team are available seven days a week to provide free support and advice around online bullying.



If you need online safety help or advice, you can contact us seven days a week. Our service is free and confidential.

  • Text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282.
  • Email
  • Call us toll free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)
  • Online report form at

Our helpline is open from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm on weekends.

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