Once upon a time, chatting with friends outside of school meant using a landline and playing games with pals involved knocking on their doors, being bullied by other pupils was at least confined to within school hours.

Now, the virtual world has created a 24/7 timeframe for children and young people to become the targets of bullying. With phones in their pockets and consoles in their bedrooms, the idea of home being a ‘safe place’ away for school bullies is sadly of the past.

For Thomas, our story’s protagonist, the bullying is invasive, invariable, and isolating. His teacher is willing to help and offers support but is unaware that the bullying continues outside of the school gates.

Just like Thomas, many children and young people will have apps on their phone and play games they’re not supposed to. This can create a barrier of feeling like they can’t speak to a parent, teacher, or another trusted adult about online bullying, fearing they may get in trouble.

It’s not just when children and young people are at home that cyberbullying happens. Nearly three out of four children who have been cyberbullied experienced some of it at school or during school time.

Illustration of a phone showing nasty comments
young male lying in bed on his phone

Top Tips

  • Firstly, be aware that bullying occurs both offline and online. By understanding how, when, and where bullying takes place, we can begin to tackle it.
  • Take the time to talk to the young person in your care and make sure you listen to them without interrupting. Use open questions to prompt when needed.
  • Banning access to online games and social media is usually not the solution and can feel like a punishment for them. It may also discourage them from confiding in you about serious topics in the future.
  • Reassure them that you’re going to be there for them and support them. Let them know it isn’t their fault and that they’ve done nothing wrong.
  • Be clear about what you’ll do next; they may be worried about escalation.
  • Ask if they feel like they need further support. This could be from you, another trusted adult or a helpline, like Childline.

  • Visit our Safety Centre to find out how to block, report, configure safety & privacy settings on a range of apps, sites and games.

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Pause, Think and Plan

Guidance on how to talk to the children in your care about online risks.
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Image of a collection of Safer Schools Resources in relation to the Home Learning Hub

What Are Your Words Worth

This activity pack is designed to prompt young people to think about the words they use online. The activities included will help them to reflect about comments they make on social media or gaming platforms and how those words may impact others. There is also a challenge included to make more #PostivePosts!

Download

When Your Child is the Bully

Read

Do you know these 10 Signs of Bullying?

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What is Trolling?

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The World According to Discord

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Clicking a Link? Stop and think!

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