How to deal with harassing text messages…
It’s bad enough facing bullies at school but dealing with harassment through your phone is the worst. It’s like having your bully in your pocket and in your life, 24/7.
This is why cyberbullying can be so much more damaging than ‘regular’ face-to-face bullying. It’s relentless and it can feel as if there’s no escape. Even at home, where you should feel safe and protected from bullies, they can reach you through your phone. Bullies will often say meaner things via text because they feel protected behind a screen – this can mean the things they say over text are more ‘savage’ than what they’d say to your face.
How To Deal With Text Bullying
It’s an upsetting situation to deal with but there are steps you can take to block and report the person who is bullying you over text or Whatsapp. Try our 5-Step plan to rid yourself of your text bully for good:
- Don’t Engage
It’s tempting to fire back a response to nasty messages but resist the urge. You’ll only become involved in a text war with your bully – and that’s what they want. Ignore the messages you receive. Your bully may get bored and stop when they realise they won’t get a reaction from you. And, if they don’t, you move on to the next step.
- Collect Evidence
Take screenshots of the messages you’ve received, making sure you also get an image of the person’s name and/or mobile phone number. You may need to prove which phone was used to send the bullying messages at a later date.
- Block The Bully
You can now block the bully from your phone. It’s simple to do, especially on an iPhone – just go to your contacts list and click on the bully’s name to select ‘Block this Caller’. If you don’t have the bully’s number saved in your contacts list, go to the message they’ve sent you and click on the phone number at the top. Then hit the ‘i’ for info button and select ‘Block this Caller’. For Android phones, you can open the Phone app, tap ‘More options’ and then tap ‘Settings’. Tap ‘Block numbers’ and then ‘Add phone number’ to type in the phone number you want to block.
- Tell A Parent
Talk to a parent or an adult you trust and show them the text messages you’ve been receiving. You’ll feel a whole lot better when you share your worries, we promise. If the bully attends your school, your parent or trusted adult can raise the issue with the school and work with them to put steps in place to keep you safe. The bullying may be reported to the police in some cases, depending on the seriousness of the situation. Whatever happens, know that you are no longer alone in your fight against cyberbullying and will have support every step of the way.
- Repeat If Necessary
Your bully may use a different phone to get through to you – if this happens, do the exact same thing before blocking the new number. They may also use a different platform to send you nasty messages so be prepared to block them on other apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat. As before, be sure to take screenshots, never respond, and be sure to tell a parent or adult you trust.
Get more help with cyberbullying here.