With more and more Kiwis being affected by cyberbullying, is solving the problem as easy as logging off social media? No way, says internet safety expert Martin Cocker.

"Social media and technology connects us to our friends, families, work and education. Turning it off is not an option," the executive director of NetSafe told the Herald today in an online chat.

Young Kiwis face serious mental-health risks
Govt acts to tackle rising rates of cyberbullying
Torment of bullying claimed his teenage brother's life and almost his own

Those affected by hurtful communication have some options. If the matter involves educational institutions, Cocker says schools are required to help create and maintain a safe education environment. This usually consists of programmes that involve education, regulation and enforcement.

Outside of the school environment, Kiwis can report offensive posts under the Harmful Digital Communications Act. The act applies to any content, Cocker said: "If its online now, it's still able to cause harm and covered [under the Act]."

Nearly 40 people have been charged in the first year of the law's enactment.

Where to get help:

• In an emergency: call 111
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633, or text 234 (available 24/7) or talk@youthline.co.nz or live chat (between 7pm and 11pm) http://livechat.youthline.co.nz/mibew/chat?locale=en&style=youthline
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155 (weekdays 11am to 5pm)
• NetSafe: 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723), www.theorb.org.nz