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About Cyberbullying, How to Handle it..

Reprinted from “Stop Bullying” A public service announcement by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

When cyberbullying happens, it is important to document and report the behavior so it can be addressed.

Steps to Take Immediately

  • Don’t respond to and don’t forward cyberbullying messages.
  • Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times, and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, emails, and text messages. Use this evidence to report cyberbullying to web and cell phone service providers.
  • Block the person who is cyberbullying.

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Report Cyberbullying to Online Service Providers

Cyberbullying often violates the terms of service established by social media sites and internet service providers.

  • Review their terms and conditions or rights and responsibilities sections. These describe content that is or is not appropriate.
  • Visit social media safety centers to learn how to block users and change settings to control who can contact you.
  • Report cyberbullying to the social media site so they can take action against users abusing the terms of service.

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Report Cyberbullying to Law Enforcement

When cyberbullying involves these activities it is considered a crime and should be reported to law enforcement:

  • Threats of violence
  • Child pornography or sending sexually explicit messages or photos
  • Taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy
  • Stalking and hate crimes

Some states consider other forms of cyberbullying criminal. Consult your state’s laws and law enforcement for additional guidance.

Report Cyberbullying to Schools

  • Cyberbullying can create a disruptive environment at school and is often related to in-person bullying. The school can use the information to help inform prevention and response strategies.
  • In many states, schools are required to address cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment.
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