When used safely, the internet can be a lot of fun. It allows us to connect with our friends and family, share ideas and stay informed. But there are some risks and dangers too, which we should all be aware of. One of these risks is cyberbullying.
Watch the video below and read on to ﬁnd out more about cyberbullying, the effects it can have, how to deal with it and some social media safety tips.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that uses technology, such as apps & the internet, to target another person. It can happen anytime, anywhere and on any platform, from social media sites and email to messaging apps, chat rooms, and even computer games.
Cyberbullying involves harassing, threatening or humiliating a person. It might start directly online, or it might be a continuation of ofﬂine bullying such as at school.
Types of cyberbullying
There are many different types of cyberbullying. Some examples include:
- Sending hurtful messages directly or via social media posts
- Spreading false rumors, gossip or images
- Deliberately leaving out people from messages in a group
- Sharing personal information or revealing someone’s secrets in public
- Making others feel unsafe by leaving scary or threatening messages
Cyberbullying on social media
On social media, cyberbullying can be difﬁcult to stop as posts can spread quickly – by the time one is removed, there could be ﬁve more – and because social media is something we can access all the time it can feel too much.
Before posting anything in social media always think if it can hurt someone’s feelings and how would you feel if that message or post came to you.
Effects of cyberbullying
Someone who is being cyberbullied might start to think badly of themselves, or feel sad, lonely or nervous. They might lose conﬁdence or have problems at school or with friends. It’s important to know that what you are experiencing is not your fault and there is support out there for you.
How to stop cyberbullying
There are a number of ways you can prevent and stop cyberbullying.
Some other dangers of social media to be aware of are:
Fake social media proﬁles:
there are people on social media who are not who they say they are.
How to identify a fake proﬁle?
- Usually has very few or no actual pictures of the person
- It was created recently
- Has very few or no contacts in common
Over sharing information without realising it, for example through hidden info on your photos:
- Photos contain EXIF data - information about the camera you took the photo with that allow the receiver to trace where the photo was taken.
- Check out this article on how to remove EXIF data from your photos and how to stop your phone automatically collecting location data when you take a photo.
To stay safe on social media take into account the following advice for cyberbullying:
- Use safe passwords and change them often.
- Try a combination of letters (lowercase & uppercase), numbers and special characters.
- Avoid using your name, email address, birth date or other easy to guess information.
- Don’t tell anyone your social media passwords or let them see you logging in. If you do so, change the password as soon as possible.
- If you’re using a public or anyone else’s computer be sure to sign out of your accounts before leaving the computer.
- Think twice before you post anything online because once it’s out there it’s very difﬁcult to completely remove it. It is easy for people to screenshot your post, and comments may be taken out of context and cause damage to you in the long term.
- Think especially carefully before posting anything that may cause damage or hurt anyone. Cyberbullying is not ok – and can have an enormous negative effect on someone’s life.
No one deserves to be bullied ofﬂine, or online. By thinking carefully about what you post and taking a stand against cyberbullying, we can all enjoy safer technology.