Helping a friend or family member with online abuse

Being the target of online abuse is not easy. If someone you know if being affected by online abuse, here are some ways that might help, or make the situation easier for them.

Try to understand

Just because the abuse is happening online, doesn’t make it any less real. If a friend or loved one seeks your help with an abusive online situation, listen to what they have to say and take their situation seriously. 

Encourage them to get help

While it’s important to be there for them, encourage them to get professional help, whether it be a counselor, therapist, lawyer, law enforcement, or other trusted individual. If you know the individual online only, suggest they seek people offline they can talk with. 

Don’t be a bystander

If you see someone being abused online, don’t look the other way. While it can be tempting to retaliate against the abuser with hurtful words, this is usually what they want you to do. Instead, reach out to your friend or family member with positive words to remove the attention from the abuser.  

Encourage them to report

Twitter can only accept reports from the individual directly involved in the abusive situation, or their legal representation. Direct your friend or family member to file a report. We encourage people to file reports of abuse so that we can investigate the situation and take action if necessary.