CyberBullying advice for children & young people.
Advice for children and young people – Staying Safe Online
BULLYING is repeated behaviour that is intended to hurt.
CYBERBULLYING is bullying that happens through electronic means – phone, Internet etc. It can be through texting, social networking sites like Facebook, email, instant messaging, online gaming, any forum or site where you interact with other people.
- You do not deserve to be bullied, by any method.
- No one deserves to be bullied.
- You have the right to ask for help.
- You have the responsibility to treat others fairly online.
PROTECTING YOURSELF ONLINE
New technologies and the Internet are great but it’s important to protect yourself when you’re online. Just as you wouldn’t put a photo of yourself in the local shop window for everyone to gawk at don’t allow strangers to access your personal information. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your online identity.
- Set your profile to private
- Don’t accept “friend” requests from randomers – strangers. Facebook “friends” aren’t real friends, so what if some of your classmates have hundreds of FB friends, better to have one or two good friends in real life than hundreds of stranger “friends” online.
- NEVER put your mobile phone, date of birth or home address on your profile – EVEN if it’s set to private
- NEVER give personal identifying information online to a stranger that you’ve never met in real life
- NEVER arrange to meet someone online that you don’t know in real life. If you do want to become friends with someone offline make sure to tell an adult you trust before you make any arrangements to meet.
- If someone is genuine they won’t put pressure on you to do something you don’t want to do.
- Remember WWW stands for World Wide Web, potentially that’s who could be looking at your page if you don’t protect it
- Don’t post photos online that you don’t want shared with the world
- Don’t use a personal photo as your avatar or profile pic
- Don’t use your full name in chat rooms, use a nickname instead
- Make sure your password is a random selection of letters and numbers, e.g. hnLiS49. NEVER use passwords that someone can easily guess, like your name, your pet’s name, date of birth etc.
- If banks and large global corporations can have their very sophisticated and secure websites hacked, what makes you think your page can’t be accessed by a hacker, or even a friend who guesses your password.
- Just as you have a right to have your privacy respected so do your friends – THINK before you post that comment or photo that seems funny at the time but might really upset them.
- If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face DON’T say it online.
- Remember what you post can remain online forever – don’t let a stupid comment or argument with a friend come back to haunt you later in life. At Sticks and Stones we know of at least one student who was turned down for work experience because of her online activity. That’s just work experience! Think about when you will be looking for a college place or job – do you really want your current online activity to spoil your future opportunities in life?
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU’RE BEING CYBERBULLIED
- Don’t reply, don’t respond, and don’t get your friends to respond either.
- Tell someone – your older brother or sister, a parent, an adult you trust – a teacher, a relative, your child-minder. It’s good to talk to your friends but you must tell someone who can help you, and that’s probably an adult.
- Don’t delete the message, even if it’s very upsetting. Everything that’s posted online or sent electronically, or texted can be traced. If it’s online take a screen shot as evidence.
- Don’t keep reading and re-reading it, you’ll only upset yourself more.
- Sometimes friends bully friends but don’t automatically presume the post or text was sent by the person it came from – their profile might have been hacked. Sticks and Stones have heard of several children and young people who have had their identity stolen. Just don’t reply.
- Report the message or post. Most social networking sites have reporting tools, and you can block the sender. An adult can help you with this.
- If you report the offence to the Gardai the phone company or service provider can investigate it properly
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CYBERBULLIED SOMEONE
- Remove the offending comments, posts, photographs.
- Apologise to the person you bullied, and be prepared to accept that they may be too hurt to accept your apology.
- If you bullied in public, consider apologising in public – post a comment on your page, and on the other persons page if you aren’t already blocked.
- To protect your online reputation for the future delete your profile completely after you’ve apologised.
WHERE CAN I GET ADVICE?
SPUNOUT have an excellent Online Safety Hub
Here’s some advice from FACEBOOK if you’re being bullied on their site.
Learn about GOOGLE’s security and privacy tools, how to protect your device from criminals, preventing identity theft and more… GOOGLE’s Good to Know
WHO CAN I TURN TO FOR HELP?
There are helplines that provide a friendly listening ear and can offer advice. No one will think that you are silly for asking for help, everyone, young or old, needs help with their problems from time to time.
National Freephone number 1800 833 634
open 7pm to 10pm, 7 days a week
24 hour support
PH: 1850 60 90 90.
phone 1890 303 302
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you prefer to meet someone and talk face to face PIETA HOUSE is a Suicide and Self Harm Crisis Centre, offering an accessible, confidential and free-of-charge counselling service for children and adults.