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How to protect yourself from Cyber Bullying

21 March 2014

At Regents we understand that being sent an abusive or threatening text message, or seeing nasty comments about yourself on a website can be very upsetting. Steve Rand, Head of Boarding at Regents International School Pattaya, gives you six important tips to protect yourself and your friends from getting caught up in cyber bullying and advice on how to report it when it does happen.

1. Always Respect Others and Think Before You Send

When you send a message by e-mail or mobile phone to someone you cannot see, remember the impact that your words or images may have on the other person. What you think is a joke may really hurt someone else. You should always ask permission before you take a photo of someone and before sending or posting such images on the internet. If you receive a rude or nasty message or picture about someone else, do not forward it. You could be helping a bully, and even be accused of cyber bullying yourself. You could also be breaking the law.

2. Passwords

Do not let anyone know your passwords. It is a good idea to change passwords on a regular basis. Choose hard-to-guess passwords with symbols and numbers. This will help stop people hacking into your account and pretending to be you. Remember that what you send can be made public very quickly and could stay online forever. Do you really want your teacher, parents or future employer to see that photo? Remember to only give your mobile number or personal website address to trusted friends.

3. Block the Bully

Most responsible websites and services allow you to block or report someone who is behaving badly. Make use of these features, they are there to keep you safe.

4. Don’t Retaliate or Reply!

Replying to bullying messages, particularly in anger, is just what the bully wants. Report it to a trusted adult.

5. Save the Evidence

Learn how to keep records of offending messages, pictures or online conversations. These will help you show others what is happening, and can be used by your parents, school, internet service provider, mobile phone company, or even the Police, to investigate the cyber bullying.

6. Make Sure You Tell

You have a right not to be harassed and bullied online. There are people who can help: 

  • Tell your parent or guardian 
  • Tell your school. Your teacher, tutor, Head of Year or house parent can support you.
  • Tell an adult you trust, who can help you to report it to the right place, or call a helpline
  • Tell your mobile phone operator or social network provider that you have been bullied. Check their website to see how to report it.

Finally, do not just keep quiet - if you see cyber bullying going on, support the victim and report the bullying. How would you feel if no-one stood up for you?