Being bullied? Ask for help

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Although it may be difficult, experts say one of the first things to do if you are being bullied online or via text messaging is to ask for help.

NetSafe has created a page on its website dedicated to cyberbullying and providing advice for young people, parents and teachers.

If someone has threatened to hurt you physically, contact police, it says.

Save any emails, text messages, screenshots or images from bullies that can be passed on to school authorities or the police.

For parents whose children may be bullied - or are the bullies - sit them down and talk things through.

WebSafety NZ owner Dean Stewart says it is important for parents to educate themselves about all things online and to talk to their children about the effects of cyberbullying.

"Ask how they would feel if someone were to write or say mean things about them."

Parents should be aware of signs that their child may be a victim.

"If they notice their children becoming withdrawn, being jumpy when the cellphone beeps, not wanting to be around the computer - that can be a sign cyberbullying is going on."

Text bullying is a big part of cyberbullying. Vodafone set up its Blacklist feature in 2010 to help combat text bullying.

Up to 55,000 people use Blacklist, which allows customers to block up to 20 phone numbers at a time.

When a number is blacklisted, any text messages or pxt messages from it will not be received by the cellphone on which the block has been set up. The person sending the messages will not know they have been blacklisted.

General manager of products Greg McAlister said the feature was developed to help people being targeted by bullies.

Vodafone spokeswoman Michelle Baguley said the feedback had been overwhelmingly positive, particularly by those who had been targeted by bullies.

GET HELP

To set up Vodafone Blacklist: Free txt "Blacklist add [insert phone number]" to 713.

ON THE WEB

www.netsafe.org.nz.

- NZ Herald

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