How the helpline works

Our goal is to help schools respond quickly and wisely to problems in social media involving students – since doing so is increasingly key to school safety and positive school climates. So if you’re a member of school or district staff and a problem like online harassment, cyberbullying, impersonation, etc. is brought to your attention, we can help with that.

[Please note: You know this, so just to be clear, if it’s an emergency – if someone’s physical safety is being threatened or nude images of a student have been posted in social media – call law enforcement first. We are happy to help with the social media part. So if it’s not an emergency…]

Here’s what to do when a problem comes up:

Before you contact us:

  • “Report abuse” first in the app or service, if possible: It can help speed things up if you do this before calling or emailing us. When a social media incident is brought to your attention, ask the student or parent if the content has been reported through the app’s/service’s regular reporting system. If it hasn’t, ideally, work with the student or a student leader at your school to report it (very often students, who themselves are frustrated with drama and negativity, really want to help). If that’s not possible and this is why you’re contacting us, we’re glad to help you. Just call.
  • Evidence needed: If the content has been reported with no results (give the service 48 hours), ideally also before you call, obtain evidence of the problem: a screenshot or link to (Web address of) the abusive page, post, tweet, text, etc.

[To protect students’ privacy, we don’t ask for their names, so please don’t provide them; account or screen names are usually all we need. It’s also important never to email nude images of minors; hopefully, as a mandatory reporter, you’ve already reported any such images to law enforcement before contacting us. Sometimes we’re a helpful 3rd party to both schools and law enforcement in such cases (see this page in our Resources section for help in understanding sexting).]

When you contact us:

  • Call or email: toll-free at (855) 997-0409 or via help@icanhelpline.org.
  • Give us some basic info: No matter what the problem is (including if you just need help with reporting content or understanding an app), we need your name, the name of your school or district and your role there. We also need your email address and phone number plus extension (your phone ext. is important, if you have one) so we can get back to you quickly.
  • Tell us about the case: Just the basics in your email or phone message – the nature of the problem and the app or platform involved. Email us the evidence (screenshots or links) via help@icanhelpline.org – leave your name and school name in every email or phone message about the case.
  • We aim to respond right away in every case, definitely within 24 hours.