Staying safe online
What is cyber bullying?
Cyber bullying is any form of bullying which takes place online, through computers, smart phone or tablets. This includes social networking sites, messaging apps, gaming sites and chat rooms.
Cyber bullying is increasing, with more than half of young people experiencing it. Whilst these platforms can be a positive place where ideas and memories can be shared, they can also feature damaging materials, and provide a space for bullying to occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are many different types of cyber bullying, including harassment, denigration, flaming, impersonation, outing and trickery, cyber stalking and exclusion. These are explained below.
Types of Cyber Bullying
Harassment involves sending offensive, insulting or humiliating online comments or messages, or being offensive on gaming sites.
Flaming involves using extremely offensive language in order to get into online arguments or
Denigration is when someone sends fake information or photos about another which is damaging and untrue.
Impersonation involves hacking or faking anothers email or social networking account to use their online identity to post offensive material online.
Outing and Trickery
When someone shares personal information about another or tricks someone into sharing secrets, before forwarding it onto others.
Repeatedly sending threatening, harassing and intimidating messages, or engaging in online activity by making a person afraid for their safety.
Intentionally leaving someone out of a group such as group messaging, online apps and gaming sites.
Trolling is the deliberate act of provoking a response by using insults or bad language on forums and social networking sites.
Like impersonation, cat fishing involves stealing anothers online identity to pose as them and deceive others.
The law against cyber bullying
Threats and acts of harassment made on the internet may be breaching the law. It is illegal in the UK to use a phone system or the internet to cause alarm or distress. This includes for example, blackmail, sending abusive texts, messages or comments, or sharing photos for the purpose of embarrassment or ridicule. If threats are made against you, keep a record of the threats and tell your parents or another adult that you trust who can make a complaint to the police.
Grooming is a criminal offence in the UK and may impose a jail sentence. If someone online asks you to do things you are uncomfortable with or involve sharing personal images or information, including of a sexual nature, do not agree to do so. Try and save evidence of attempt, and tell your parents or an adult you trust to report it to the police.
Cyber bullies can be traced by police, even if they create a fake email address through which to conduct their illegal actions, their internet provider can trace their location.
If you're experiencing cyber bullying
- Tell an adult that your trust, It can help to talk.
- Don’t reply to any cruel messages that your receive from cyber bullies. Keep a copy of the messaged you have received so you can show someone.
- Do not share, comment on or like any post which bullies you or another. Sharing or commenting could make the bullying worse. Tell the police if something serious happens, whilst cyberbullying is not against the law, harassment or threatening behaviour is. You can always call childline to talk to a trained councellor about the cyber bullying you are experiencing.
- If someone has uploaded a video or photo of you online, report it, don’t comment on it and make sure to talk to someone about it.
Tips to keep yourself safe
- Use secure passwords with a combination of words, numbers and symbols. It is recommended to use 3 random words with some letters replaced for numbers and symbols. For example, LondonBeachApple could become Lo7do7B3@ch@ppl3. A complicated password made easier to remember with a formula. Do not include any personal information about yourself.
- Do not use the same password to access your email as you do for other accounts and websites. If your Facebook password is hacked, the criminal may try the same password to access your email account. If they are successful they can use the ‘forgotten password’ link on every platform you have an account with and gain access to them all whilst locking you out).
If you are using a shared computer, make sure to log out after you leave the device.
Create a secure and difficult to guess passcode or password on your phone to prevent it being misused or other account information being taken.
Think twice before posting anything online, once it is on the internet it cannot be taken back.