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How to Report Bullying and Abuse Online

Kids and teens growing up using the Internet have access to tools and services that make their education, self-expression, communication and gaming better than any previous generation before them. But all of these means of interacting with others opens up youths to cyberbullying, away from parents, guardians and teachers who can see it happen.

Credit: Photographee.eu / Shutterstock

(Image credit: Photographee.eu / Shutterstock)

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 9 percent of students in grades 6 to 12 have been cyber bullied (that number skyrockets to 55.2 percent when it comes to LGBT students). Dr. Patricia Agatston, co-author of "Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age" and president of the International Bullying Prevention Association, said that number has leveled off in recent years, after large increases when students were first becoming engaged online.

“Children and youths who are cyber bullied are also experiencing higher anxiety and depression, more suicidal ideations and lower self esteem and also engage in riskier online behavior,” Dr. Agatston said. These are behaviors similar to those who are bullied in person. Those who are bullied by peers online may be more likely to be harassed by the same people in person.

It’s hard to keep tabs on your safety on every service, unless you know how. Below, we have compiled tutorials on how to report cyberbullying, abuse and harassment on nine of the most popular services. And remember, when dealing with cyberbullying or harassment, teenagers should notify an adult, parent or guardian whom they trust; if necessary, notify local law enforcement.

Facebook

More than 1 billion people use Facebook, and they can abuse the messaging system or timeline to spread hurtful messages or threats.

Twitter

The 140-character updates on Twitter are great for following the news, your friends and celebrities, but anonymity and mob mentality make it possible to troll others without prejudice.

Instagram

Instagram is a great way to share picturesque moments with your friends. Learn how to report bullying and abusive photos with this tutorial.

Snapchat

View the bullying content once and it disappears. Take a screenshot and the bully knows. You can’t even make a harassment claim on the app. See this tutorial to see how to report abuse on Snapchat.

Reddit

The self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet” is home to a huge number of anonymous users with easy-to-make accounts (they don’t even require email). While Reddit is a great place to learn and discuss shared interests, this lack of personal accountability makes it easy to harass.

Tumblr

Tumblr’s blogging and sharing platform makes it easier to express yourself online than ever before. Unfortunately, some people express themselves in mean-spirited ways. Go to this tutorial to learn how to file reports on Tumblr.

YouTube

Anyone can make a video and host it on YouTube, making a go-to source for learning and entertainment. If you see a video targeting you, or if bullies threaten you anonymously in the comments, you need to know how to report abuse and take a stand.

Xbox Live

Xbox Live set the bar high for online gaming on consoles. While the majority of gamers have great times playing with friends and others around the world, some people misbehave on voice chat or via messaging. This tutorial will teach you how to report abuse on Xbox Live.

PlayStation Network

Like those on Xbox Live, most people play games on PSN for fun. Unfortunately, some bullies ruin everyone’s bad time with harassment or threats, and you need to be able to report them if they happen.

If online abuse is causing you to have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

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