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How to avoid cyberbullies

Written by Allison Cooper

Cyberbullying, also known as online bullying, is the same as face-to-face bullying, except that it takes place online or electronically, such as on social media; via SMS and instant messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Messenger; and on email.

Cyberbullies share a person’s private information to embarrass them; post rude messages; threaten their victims; try to get their victims to commit acts of violence; stalk their victims; and post child pornography or threaten to post it.

Usually, the victim does not know who the cyberbully is.

The effects of cyberbullying are varied and long-lasting, often impacting the victim’s mental well-being.

Tips to avoid cyberbullying

Following these tips to avoid being bullied electronically:

  • Stay away from strangers on social media. People create fake profiles and send you a friend request. If you receive a friend request from someone you do not know, do not accept it. Some people also steal your friends’ photographs and names and then send a friend request to you. Always check your friend’s profile to make sure the new request is not fake.
  •  Do not post personal information on social media. Posting information such as your address or routine may invite criminals to use this information against you.
  •  Do not believe everything you read online. People often post false or misleading information about various topics. Always verify the information before commenting or taking any action.
  • It is best to not have a public account. Look at your security settings to see who can see your information and posts. If you have a public account, anyone can view your profile. Review these settings often as sites can change their options.
  • Even if you have a private account, there is still a risk that your information could be exposed. Do not post anything you would not want the public to see.
  • Be careful of what you post. Do not share anything that could hurt or embarrass anyone.
  • Do not  open emails from sources you do not know.
  • Do not download attachments unless you are expecting one from someone.
  • Stop downloading free media from software that is not legally approved. This software is not regulated.

Information supplied by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.