The internet is a wonderful place full of limitless opportunities, and in that, there are a hundred lurking dangers. No doubt you spend most of your free time checking in with Facebook or Twitter, but how much personal information do you disclose to these sites? Some people aren’t even aware of the effects of using social networking on the web so frequently.
The best thing you can do to avoid a cyberbullying situation is to keep as much personal information off of the web as possible. For instance, never reveal your passwords or personal email to anyone. With email alone, someone can break into your account and change whatever they want, including your password, so that you can’t get back in! Don’t post pictures of yourself you intend to only show one person, or that you might regret later down the line. Once something hits the internet, it’s there forever. There’s no such thing as “Delete,” on the World Wide Web. Don’t reveal too many personal details online, a social network is a place to meet new people, it’s not your personal diary, in fact, there’s nothing personal about it! Though it’s perfectly fine to anonymously vent every once in a while, some people might want to use that information against you, and if a time ever comes when they do, you’ll be hoping you never posted it in the first place.
Set your profile to private, and make sure you choose the option to “Review” any comments or friend invites so that you can be sure you know and can trust the people who have access to your page. You should have full control over your page at all times. These are all things you can do to protect yourself, but with any internet community, there are sure to be a few bad apples.
What to do if you’re being cyberbullied on the web
Someone from your school has seen something you’ve posted and they realize you’ve made a spelling error, they comment about how “Dumb it looks,” and you decide to retaliate.
Stating your opinion or that it was a silly error is fine, clearly, that person is just trying to get a rise out of you, don’t let them! You can delete their comment, delete the post, and avoid a fight altogether. There’s a herd mentality with things like Facebook, and if people smell a fight, they’re bound to jump in. The next thing you know, it’s ten on one and the insults are flying. Don’t lose your cool, don’t jump into fights you’ll regret later. It’s simple, just delete, block, and move on. Think of how silly you’ll feel when months later you see posts from yourself angry over something as trivial as a mean comment, it’s better to take the high road and let them go bother someone else.
Keep your friends close on the internet. Don’t friend people who you know by association unless you have intentions of talking with them. A high “friend” count just means more people watching your every online move. Some people get their kicks looking for ways to humiliate others on the web, all you have to do is remember, that these people are most likely just bored and couldn’t care less who they’re hurting. It’s a childish thing to do, and eventually, they’ll realize their own mistakes, but in the meantime, keep them away from your site! What’s the point in having a social network meant for good times and sharing with friends if you’re just not having a good time?
Parents on the web
Parents, we know it’s not always easy or comfortable for you to find your way onto the web or where it is your kids are hanging out on it. Your best bet is to go straight to the source, and know where your kids are online, what they’re doing, and who they’re speaking with.
Kids often find themselves in adult situations online and don’t always know how to handle them, like a fight with a friend, or an invitation from a stranger. It’s your job to be educated so that when these problems arise, you can offer your support and keep your kids out of trouble. Most social networking sites have moderators, if you run into a situation where your child is seriously being harassed through the internet, you can have the perpetrators’ site shut down and blocked from your child entirely. This is an extreme measure, but sometimes it’s the only way to put an end to harsh mistreatment.
It’s important to mind your manners on the web as much as it is in real life, but with such an extensive anonymous platform it’s tempting to sprout unneeded negative opinions all too often. The most important thing to remember is to be respectful of others so that they have no reason to show disrespect toward you. If you see someone being bullied, lend them a helping hand or an ear to listen, and un-friend or remove those negative people from your social life. A friend who intends to hurt you is not a friend at all. The internet, and the world, can be a much nicer place if we all try our best to cooperate and be respectful.