Explains the benefits and challenges to your mental health of being online, and gives ideas for looking after yourself online and getting support. Also provides information on staying safe online and getting the balance right between your online and offline life.
Although it's possible to make great friendships online that can help support your mental health, not every person you meet will be someone you get on with – just like in offline life. Remember:
"When it is too much or an online relationship is getting overwhelming I think it is important to take care of myself; to have the courage to be honest and gently tell the person/people the truth."
The internet can be a great place to make connections with new people. If you have made a good online friendship, for example, with someone you've been chatting to on a peer support site, you may decide to take it offline. This might mean talking over the phone or arranging to meet face-to-face.
Many people have established long-lasting and supportive friendships this way, but it's also important to keep yourself safe.
You might want to ask yourself these questions:
When meeting up with someone for the first time, it's a good idea to keep these suggestions in mind:
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place online through a digital device like your computer, mobile phone or tablet.
It can be horrible to experience bullying or abuse online, but remember – you don't have to put up with it. If you experience bullying or abuse, there are some things you can do immediately:
"It's easy to delete and block people ... don't worry about hurting their feelings. Look after yourself."
This information was published in September 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.