Mark Richardson opens up about frightening 'cyberbullying abuse' against him

Cyberbullying doesn't stop with children, according to Mark Richardson who has revealed his experiences being abused online.

Richardson and his fellow hosts on The AM Show were discussing the topic of cyberbullying on Wednesday, after a mother whose daughter had experienced online abuse appeared on the programme.

"The sad fact with this online bullying is it just doesn't stop with kids," Richardson said.

"It goes right to adults as well - and adults who think that they're good adults.

Richardson no longer uses social media, but shared examples of the cyberbullying he experienced.

"I can remember tabling an opinion on this show which a lot of people strongly disagreed with - I had every right to table the opinion and people had every right to disagree with that opinion," he said. "I was getting inundated with online messages.

"The amount of abuse from so-called 'good people' coming my way and then copying me in on their conversations about me so I could see it - was nothing short of cyberbullying."

Host Duncan Garner said he had also removed himself from social media about three years ago.

"I don't do anything on it, I don't even look at it. My mental health - I'm a much better, happier person as a result," he added.

Richardson said the police should be involved in serious cases of cyberbullying.

"You just need someone who's put in charge of this type of thing - it sends the right message and it's the early intervention, I think, that's needed."

What the law says

According to the 2015 Harmful Digital Communications Act, it's an offence to send messages and post material online that intentionally causes serious emotional distress.

"If found guilty you can be imprisoned for up to two years and fined up to $50,000 for individuals, or up to $200,000 for companies," the Bullying Free NZ website says.

"The district court can issue take-down notices and impose penalties on people who don't comply with court orders."

Bullying Free NZ says it's important parents work with their children to support them - some measures include saving offensive messages and reporting internet cyberbullying to the website.

You can visit the Bullying Free website for more advice.

Where to find help and support: