A school guidance counsellor has said cyberbullying often started between people who were friends or knew each other.

Cyberbullying was definitely an issue within schools in the Bay of Plenty. They would deal with two or three cases of cyberbullying a term, the counsellor said.

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"We are trying to work with it, and we acknowledge it happens at our school. We take each scenario case by case. It's very random. Unfortunately it has been when they have been friends, there is a fallout and it's played out online.


"Young people are pretty harsh towards each other, it's usually young girls. It is easier to do it [fight] behind a screen than to do things face to face. The worst of human nature plays out online really."

The guidance counsellor said the internet was a tough medium to work with as young adults would take what was being said seriously.

Students today were often creating two accounts for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They would show parents and teachers one account, but then use a second to do the bullying.

If you were being cyberbullied, you should contact the service provider immediately have the post removed and person blocked, the counsellor said.

But relationships could be rekindled after an incident.

"They often need a person or adult to help mediate that though and repair the harm to move forward. I know of one recent heated case and they are civil to each other now. They haven't got that friendship repaired yet and that may come."

Schools in the Western Bay had started to give their students time to reflect on how they portrayed themselves online and now teach them to use social media in a positive way, the counsellor said.

Online safety tips:

• Never share your passwords with another person
• Don't add people to your accounts who you do not know
• Make sure your account is set to private
• Block offensive users
• Do not post inappropriate content online
• Report offensive posts and users