Cyber bullying has become a recent trend with fresh reports emerging daily about kids who are bullied online. This form of bullying is one of the most dangerous as there are lots of ways to remain anonymous online and therefore bully someone without ever getting caught. Cyber bullying can happen in different forms – through email, messaging, social media, and chat sites. It can be something as simple as telling a person they look ugly or fat, to more complicated methods such as sourcing personal information about the person being bullied and using that information as blackmail.
Cyber bullying can be just as traumatic and hurtful as being bullied on the school playground and its effect can be just as serious. Learning how to avoid cyber bullying is essential to all internet users, especially kids and young teens. Here are 4 tips to avoid cyber bullies online:
Never Post Personal Information
This is the most important thing you can do to avoid cyber bullying. Never post any personal information in a public domain or tell a stranger you’re chatting to on a chat site anything which is sensitive. This can include your full name, address, passwords, phone number, email, name of your school/sports team, and even pictures. If a bully gets hold of a few pieces of personal information they might be able to use social media to find out other pieces of information and use it to blackmail or stalk you. Make sure all your personal information online is only accessible to close friends and people you know and trust.
Never Respond to a Bully’s Messages
If you are messaging or chatting to someone and they become offensive or angry, just step away from the computer and cool down. If you reply to anger with more anger, it will add fuel to the fire and create tension. Not only that, but it will make you a cyber-bully too. It can be difficult to just ignore someone who is trying to get at you, however, by ignoring them you are being the bigger person and they will eventually leave you alone.
Never Open Messages from Strangers
This is similar to when your mother told you to never take a sweet from a stranger. If you receive an email from a stranger or a sender you don’t know, delete the message immediately without opening it or clicking on any links it may contain. It may be hard as you want to satisfy your curiosity, however, the email could be anything from hate mail to a virus which will infect your computer. Sometimes it is best to ignore these emails instead of reading something hurtful or accidently downloading a virus.
Don’t Be Gullible
Cyber bullies pray on people who are gullible and will believe anything they are told. If you want to be safe online from bullying and blackmail, it is essential to be savvy with the things you are presented with. For instance, you may be using a chat site and talking to someone who claims they are a 15 year old girl. However, the truth may be that you are actually talking to a 40 year old man. It is impossible to be sure who you are communicating with, even on cam chat sites as many people use fake cams to fool others. Be careful what you divulge to people you’re chatting with online as they may not be who you think they are.