Online Abuse

Frequently asked questions

Are those negative comments about someone’s status or someone’s photo considered abusive?

Comments about a person’s status or about his/her photos may be perceived as abusive when they humiliate, harm or hurt the other person. It is important to think before you post comments online, particularly on social networks: ask yourself “how would I feel if someone said this about me?”. If answer to the question is negative or unpleasant, the best option is not to comment. An unpleasant comment, besides making the other person feel bad and uncomfortable, is seen again and again by many people, increasing the likelihood of unexpected backlash.

Does online abuse only happen when we accept the ‘friendship’ requests of people we don’t know?

No. Online abuse can be committed by everyone. Not accepting friendship requests from strangers protects us from many dangers. But it is also important to remember that people we know, who may (or may not) be aggressive towards us in real life, can also be abusive online. Thus, always remember to follow the suggestions we make in Online Safety.

Is saying something negative online as serious as saying it personally?

Being a victim of an online insult can have as much or even more impact on the victim as being insulted in person. The person targeted by the insult (online or personally) often feels sad, ashamed, and hurt. The fact that the insult is online may become even more hurtful when everyone can see the negative comments and even reinforce and imitate them).

Is there any way to control online abuse?

Yes. Social networks, blogs and chats usually have mechanisms to report abusive content. If you are target of a comment, or see that someone has been the target of  aggressive, unpleasant or humiliating comments you can report the situation on the website (usually there are emails, links or instructions for that purpose). On social networks you can also block that person/group, stopping them from writing on or accessing your profile. You can also talk to an adult you trust and ask for help on what to do.