Top 10 Tips for Resolving The Dangers of Teen Cyberbullying
There are several tips that can be reviewed about Cyberbullying. Statistics state that cyberbullying occurs in over half of the teenage and pre-teen population. Ironically, these individuals have also at one time been the aggressor. At least twenty-five percent (25%) of teenagers have either been bullied on-line (via social networking sites or IMs (instant messenger), or on their cell phone. One out of five teens has engaged in posting embarrassing or detrimental pictured of themselves. Unfortunately, many parents and teachers are not aware of the cyberbullying. Below lists the top ten (10) tips for becoming more informed about cyberbulling.
1. SET UP SOCIAL NETWORK PRIVACY CONTROLS
Once you have decided to set up a social networking account (e.g. Twitter or Facebook), you can also control who can view your postings and personal information. Choosing to limit your social network access to your trusted family and friends is one of the best ways to prevent cyberbullying; the offender would not be able to add postings to your wall with offensive text or harassment. For additional information and instructions on how to restrict your online profile, please log onto Vodafone How To Guide – Facebook privacy controls or protect your Tweets.
2. LOG OUT OF ON-LINE ACCOUNTS
Many social networking sites give users the option of (a). “storing” or remembering” your logon information and passwords or (b). storing your password information within the web browser. Although convenient, you could potentially be putting your social accounts at risk. Regardless if you are accessing your Facebook account from home, your cell phone or from a public library, always log off of your account and never walk away with the account still open or in plain view. Your account could be compromised as someone could opt to enter information onto your account without your knowledge causing severe disruption and havoc which may ultimately turn into cyberbulling. If you are logging on from your personal computer, you can also use Ctrl+ Alt + Delete to lock your computer until you return. This would require your password to unlock the computer and continue to view your information.
3. CHECK SEARCH ENGINES FOR YOUR NAME
Just like regularly checking your credit rating information, search your name(s) frequently on ALL search engines to make sure that you are not being bullied or that you have pictures posted that you were not aware of or that are unbeknownst. Once you search for yourself, you can see all of the information that others are viewing about you. The display of your information on search engines can be prevented by using alternate names other than your FULL or an abbreviated name. If found, you can have your information removed from that engine and / or site. For additional information on how to Google your name please view http://howtogoogleyourself.com
For instructions on how to remove your name from search engines, log onto http://www.removeyoursearch.com/
4. BE INFORMED
There are several websites available for you to educate yourself on cyberbullying. These websites give you the opportunity to explore the definition of cyberbullying and how to recognize when immediate action is needed. Cyberbullying can range from posting intimidating or intolerable messages on various social networking sites or blogs -to- alternating photos into displaying negative images and is often done anonymously. There are also blogs available for cyberbullying and how to further educate yourself on taking pre-cautions. Getting information from friends can also give you different insights to cyberbullying.
5. THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU POST
Always make sure that what you are posting could never put you in a compromising or embarrassing situation. Think toward your future and ask yourself these questions:
- Could this posting prevent me from getting a job or cause me to get fired from my current employment?
- Could this posting prevent me from getting a scholarship or an internship?
- Will this embarrass my family or myself?
- Can I be tracked to my place of residence by a stalker?
Unfortunately, most people will judge you on your appearance, ideas and beliefs. Make sure that your postings will not cause any future repercussions by posting certain text/photos on your wall / sites. Think about who has access to y our sites, who can replicate the information for their personal (posting) use and don’t post personal information.
6. KEEP PICTURES AND IMAGES RATED PG (PARENTAL GUIDANCE)
Over the past couple of years, several educators have been fired due to inappropriate postings on the Internet. Also, as noted in the Amanda Todd case, never send or post sexy images or pictures of yourself (or posing with someone) onto a social networking sites. These pictures can be compromising and could potentially get you banned from certain social networking sites. Because many sites allow teenagers as young as thirteen (13) to have their own personal account, you should also consider your audience as many pictures may be too graphic for young adults to view. Before you post pictures, think:
- Would I be embarrassed if my parents / grandparents / family member saw this picture?
- Would this picture be available for my employer to see?
Be careful in who has access to sexy / compromising photos because an individual could use these pictures as a cyberbullying resource.
7. MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE NOT A CYBERBULLY
Many people take advantage of the Internet because you’re not face-to-face when holding conversations. If you are not comfortable saying certain things in person, then don’t say them on-line. Do not harass others on-line or say things that you would not like being said to you. Treat others with respect, reverence, and dignity. Never use derogatory language or mean spirited words as they could be offensive and be considered cyberbullying. Also, if one of your “social” friends is cyberbullying, do no aid to the bullying by replying to the cyberbullys postings or forwarding the messages for other to view (and /or respond).
8. SAFEGAURD YOUR PASSWORD
If you have given your password or user IDs to anyone, change it immediately. Your password(s) should always be safeguarded and never written down for anyone to find. Always use random characters as an extra precaution so your password cannot be “guessed”. Tips on protecting your password:
- Never let anyone see you entering your password
- Change your password often
- Use random characters
9. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES- OPEN AN UNSOLICITED MESSAGE
When you receive an unsolicited message or a message from someone you don’t know, delete the message without reading it. These unidentified messages could potentially contain viruses that will infect your hardware/ software. Cyberbullys and cybercriminals can try to export your personal information from these unknown messages.
10. ALERT OTHERS ABOUT CYBERBULLYING
Educating others about cyberbullying can be a ‘click” away. You can start a blog, create a cyberbully information site, or hold cyberbullying events through clubs or organizations. One of the most effective ways to prevent further cyberbullying is through education. Because cyberbullying has become out-of-control and a daily activity, the U.S governments also has several websites available for additional education. Log onto U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for additional information.