- Internet & the Web
Help teens prevent cyber bullying
When science and technology get more advanced, it remains more risks of Internet attackers, especially for teens who are easily vulnerable to harmful activities. Cyber bullying happens when such electronic communications as text messages, instant messages, emails, or social media updates are used to intimidate or humiliate someone. This can result in serious effects in those victims that are bullied. Below are few essential steps to help teens recognize and prevent cyber bullying.
- 1. Types of cyber bullying
Cyber bullying often takes place in the major forms of personal harassment, public humiliation and impersonation.
Harassment is occurring if the bully is directly contacting someone through some modes of electronic communication as follow:
- Threatening verbal messages, such as name – calling, threats of violence or exposing embarrassing information.
- An unending barrage of instant messages or texts, emails, whether or not they are threatening in nature.
- Lies about the victim in order to make them look bad
Public humiliation can use some public tactics. For example, spreading gossip and rumors using social media, or posting intimidating messages on a social media site, or a blog, and even creating a website of defamatory images, rumors and insults about the target.
Impersonation is another harmful form of cyber bullying which can be more difficult to detect the perpetrator. The bully can steal the victim’s password, then hack the accounts in order to send embarrassing information to others or even to make expensive purchases. In some circumstances, the bully may also create a fake screen name which is almost identical to the target’ screen name used for the sake of creating embarrassing or threatening situations.
- 2. Take your immediate action and get outside help
Identify the cause - Some bullies start out as a family member, an ex, a friend, or someone else you know well. In this case, have the conversation in person, do not make it through email or text.
Do not respond - If talking it out will not work well, stop directly responding to the bully’s messages. If someone bullies you, keep in mind that your reaction is often exactly what the bully wants. It might give him or her power over you.
Save the evidence – Record every text, email, web address as well as the date and time that each message was sent. File away all evidence you collect from the bully’s behavior, which could help you deal with the situation.
Block the bully. If the harassment comes in the form of email, texts, instant messages, or other profile comments, use your privacy tools to block the person from your phone, email contacts and other social networks to prevent the bully against contacting you again.
Change your account settings – including your screen names and other online identifications, or create new accounts if you really want to. Do not reveal your personal information like your address or phone number, because social communication makes it easy for the bully to get in contact with you in plenty of different ways.
Talk to a trusted adult – Don't wait too long to ask for help. It is highly recommended to involve a parent or a school administrator so as to know how to help you resolve. Sometimes both are needed. If you are afraid or nervous about saying the problem, look for another way to report the incident anonymously at your school. Additionally, if the cyber bullying involves any threat of violence, death, or sexual or secretly-recorded photos, report it to the law enforcement.
- 3. Prevent cyber bullying
Protect your accounts – never share your passwords with anyone, even he or she is your closest friends or ex-lover (who might not be close forever). Share as little information about yourself online as possible. Cyber bullies usually use status updates, pictures, and other personal information on the internet to harass their targets. Protect your phone so that no one could use it to impersonate you as well.
Avoid participating in cyber bullying behavior – Even if your friends are doing this, don’t participate. Explain them that this bullying has dangerous consequences, and ask them to stop.
- 4. Additional advice for parents
Work with your children – If they report there is any cyber bullying happening to them, involve the children in finding solutions to help them regain that.
Use parental control software – The program should be installed on your computer as well as smart phone to protect your kids from appropriate sites and help you block any attempt of cyber bullying.