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Don't be a bystander, be an upstander!

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

What's an upstander, and why do you want to be one? An upstander is a person who sees bullying or harmful content online and takes action to help. The person tries to stop the bullying from happening and can help support the person who has been bullied. But make sure the action that you take doesn't make you a bully as well!

What are some things you can do to be an upstander online? These can include

  • Sending a private message to the person being bullied to see if their okay and if there is anything you can do to help or if you know them in real life, call or reach out when you see them.

  • If you feel safe and think it's appropriate, you can call out the person's bad behaviour online and ask them nicely to stop. Make sure you're calm, confident and be direct. Tell the person their behaviour is not okay.

  • If you don't feel safe, move away from the situation, and know what you can do to help indirectly. Report the content if it's on a social media platform and if you think it's appropriate, inform your school. Don't bring attention to the harmful content by telling others about it. The less interaction the content gets, the less attention it will get.

  • It can be tricky to report cyberbullying, so knowing how to go about it the best way is always good to know. Social media platforms, email service providers and most business websites have a report button to safely alert them to harmful content. You also have the option of blocking anyone who is harassing you. Adult cyber abuse is very serious; find out more information from the eSafety Commissioner here.

If you're worried about a friend or someone you know that's been bullied, make sure to engage with them and see if you can offer them extra help. For example, you can offer to help make them a counselling appointment, talk to a trusted person, or a range of support services that will provide them with the help they need.

If what you've read has caused some concerns or worries and you'd like some support, you can call Lifeline on 13 14 11 at any time. They are available 24/7. Headspace also provides counselling and support in many forms for individuals up to the age of 25. If you're in immediate risk or someone you know is, call 000 to speak to emergency services.


Dunigan, B. (2018). What are Bystanders.

Reach Out. (2021). How to be an Upstander.

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