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San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children (SDICAC) Task Force


Teenage girl with smartphone being cyberbullied by girls behind her

Cyberbullying is bullying or harassment that happens online or on a cell phone. It might involve rumors or images posted on someones profile or passed around for others to see.

You can't hide behind words you type or the images you post. These hurtful messages not only make the target feel bad but they also make the sender look bad - and can sometimes get you in trouble with the police.

Tips to Stop Cyberbullying

DON'T RESPOND. If someone bullies you, remember that your reaction is usually exactly what the bully wants. It gives him or her poser over you. Who wants to empower a bully?

DON'T RETALIATE. Getting back at the bully turns you into one and reinforces the bully's behavior. Help avoid a whole cycle of aggression.

SAVE THE EVIDENCE. The only good news about digital bullying is that the harassing messages can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. You need to do this even if it's minor stuff, in case things escalate.

TALK TO A TRUSTED ADULT. You deserve backup. It's always good to involve a parent but - if you can't - a school counselor usually knows how to help. Sometimes, both are needed. If you're really nervous about saying something, see if there's a way to report the incident anonymously at school.

BLOCK THE BULLY. If the harassment's coming in the form of instant messages, texts or profile comments, do yourself a favor; Use preferences or privacy tools to block the person. If it's in chat, leave the "room".

BE CIVIL. Even if you don't like someone, it's a good idea to be decent and not sink to the other person's level. Also, research shows that gossiping about and trash talking about others increases your risk of being bullied. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

DON'T BE A BULLY. How would you feel if someone harasses you? You know the old saying about walk a mile in someone's shoes; even a few seconds of thinking about how another person might feel can put a big damper on aggression.

BE A FRIEND, NOT A BYSTANDER. Watching or forwarding mean messages empower bullies and hurts victims even more. If you can, tell bullies to stop or let them know harassment makes people look dumb and mean. It's time to let bullies know their behavior is unacceptable - cruel abuse of fellow human beings. If you can't stop the bullying, at least try to help the victim and report the behavior.