What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is when a person or a group of people use the internet or mobile phones to harass or bully someone else. Cyberbullying may not harm someone physically, but can cause longlasting psychological damage. Because of the prevalence of new technology, it can be very difficult for victims of cyberbullying to escape from it.
How to deal with it
- Make a note of times and dates of abusive messages or postings and keep a copy in case you want to take action in the future.
- Change your username or ID.
- Change your password and make sure you don’t give it to anybody.
- Change your mobile phone number and only give it to people you can trust.
- Contact your mobile phone provider or ISP and report it to them.
- Block certain people from messaging or emailing you. If you can’t block an email address, you may be able to filter it straight to trash.
- Don’t respond to messages or emails. It is hard, but ignore them.
- If you are concerned about your safety, contact the police.
Forums and social networking sites will usually have an abuse team and you can report instances of bullying to them. You can also report harassment.
Why should you be concerned?
Protecting your privacy online is important. Due to the global nature of the internet, anyone can view information online and it is important that you think about the personal information that you give out.
Social networking sites
Sites such as Facebook, and Twitter are great for keeping in touch with people and for making friends but you also need to be aware that the information you post on these sites might be accessed by other people.
Once information has been posted online, you have very little control over it. It is worth thinking about who you want to be able to read your information or look at your pictures. Remember that potential employers might look you up on the internet – do you really want them to see those embarrassing drunken photos?
Be careful about the information you give out online about yourself. People can use small bits of information to build up a profile of you that can be misuses. Don’t give out information such as names, addresses, dates of birth unless you are very sure who you are talking to. Make sure you keep your passwords safe as well. Using a web-based email address, such as Gmail or Hotmail can help you keep your contact details more private.
If you do have problems with other users on forums or social networking sites, there will usually be an abuse team that can deal with it - so report it to them.
Why do you need protection?
Being connected to the internet means that you can share and access information very quickly. However, it also means that your computer could be vulnerable to attack from viruses and other nasties.
Hints and Tips
- Ensure that you update your software, particularly if you use Windows. Microsoft releases regular updates and security patches for vulnerabilities in Windows and you can download them from here. There is free anti-virus and firewall software available for you to download and you can find out more here.
- Don’t open unknown email attachments. If you are not expecting an email, don’t click on the attachments and don’t click on the links in unknown emails. If you are not sure that a website is safe, then you can Google it to find out more. If the email is from a friend, contact them to ask about the attachment before you open it. Some viruses will send emails from your address book to make them look as though they came from you.
- Only download software from trusted sites, such as the makers of that software.
- Use different passwords for different sites. If you always use the same password and someone finds out what it is, then they can access all your accounts.