What to do if you are cyber bullied
- Keep the evidence – the nature of cyber bullying means that there is concrete evidence of the unpleasant messages being directed at an individual. Keeping a copy of the offensive material can be useful when reporting an incident and may help to identify the bully or result in consequences.
- Report the bully – if you need to report the bully, do this through a trusted individual or service. If the cyberbullying is severe, you may consider contacting the police, especially if grooming or threats of violence are involved.
- Do not retaliate – it is tempting to reply to the cyber bullies but this is a bad idea. By ignoring the bullies you deprive them of a reaction and remove the risk of encouraging them to keep tormenting you. In addition, you do not want to join them in spreading hate online.
Top tips for staying safe online
There are opportunities for your safety and security to be breached online. Here are three simple ways to help maximise your welfare:
- Protect your password. You can do this by avoiding common passwords (such as 123456, abc123, qwerty and letmein) and using special characters, capital letters and numbers in your password. Aim to change your password every 90 days and never share it with anyone.
- Always log off public computers when you have finished. This will stop strangers from accessing your accounts without permission or by mistake.
- Set a high level of security on your social networks. For Twitter and Instagram this can be a ‘private’ account where you approve your followers. On Facebook, only add and accept people you know and can trust in real life.
As cyber citizens, we have the same responsibility of maintaining civil behaviour as we do when we are face to face with others in public. Here is what you can do to abide by this standard:
- Do not do anything online that you would not in real life. Sending a message online can feel much removed from reality, but you will still be held accountable for your actions as they have an impact on others.
- Look out for yourself or other people experiencing one of the seven types of cyberbullying outlined above. If there is cause for concern, report these messages to a trustworthy individual.
The internet is a brilliant resource for communicating with friends, learning new things and having fun. With a few easy measures it is possible to stay safe online and avoid cyber bullying.