- Don’t respond. If someone bullies you, remember that your reaction is usually exactly what the bully wants. It gives him or her power over you. Who wants to empower a bully? Don’t retaliate. Getting back at the bully turns you into one and reinforces the bully’s behavior. Help avoid a whole cycle of aggression.
- Save the evidence. The only good news about digital bullying is that the harassing messages can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. You need to do this even if it’s minor stuff, in case things escalate.
- Block the bully. If the harassment’s coming in the form of instant messages, texts, or profile comments, do yourself a favor: Use preferences or privacy tools to block the person. If it’s in
chat, leave the “room.”
- Be civil. Even if you don’t like someone, it’s a good idea to be decent and not sink to the other person’s level. Also, research shows that gossiping about and trash talking others increases
your risk of being bullied. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
- Don’t be a bully. How would you feel if someone harassed you? You know the old saying about walking a mile in someone’s shoes; even a few seconds of thinking about how another person
might feel can put a big damper on aggression. That’s needed in this world.
- Report it in. You deserve backup. It’s always good to involve a parent but – if you can’t – a school counselor usually knows how to help. Sometimes both are needed. If you’re really nervous about saying something, see if there’s a way to report the incident anonymously at school or to the police.
- Practice Safe Browsing. You wouldn’t choose to walk through a dangerous neighborhood—don’t visit dangerous neighborhoods online. Cybercriminals use striking content as bait. They know people are sometimes tempted by suspicious content and may let their guard down when searching for it. The Internet is where one careless click could expose personal data or infect your device with malware. By resisting the urge, you don’t even give the hackers a chance.
- Make Sure Your Internet Connection is Secure. Free public Wi-Fi isn’t the most safest connection there is. Make sure your internet connection is secure, and when in doubt, wait for a better time (i.e., until you’re able to connect to a secure Wi-Fi network) before providing information such as your bank account number.
- Be Careful What You Download. A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather, don’t download apps that look suspicious or come from a site you don’t trust.
- Choose Strong Passwords. The problem with passwords is that people tend to choose easy ones to remember (such as “password”; and “123456”), which are also easy for cyber thieves to guess. Select strong passwords that are harder for cybercriminals to guess. A strong password is one that is unique and complex—at least 8 characters long, mixing letters, numbers and special characters.
- Make Online Purchases from Secure Sites. Any time you make a purchase online, you need to provide credit card or bank account information—just what cybercriminals are most eager to get their hands on. Only supply this information to sites that provide secure, encrypted connections. You can identify secure sites by looking for an address that starts with https: (the S stands for secure) rather than simply http: They may also be marked by a padlock icon next to the address bar.
- Be Careful What You Post. The Internet does not have a delete key. Any comment or image you post online may stay online forever because removing the original does not remove any copies that other people made. There is no way for you to “take back” a remark you wish you hadn’t made, or get rid of that embarrassing selfie you took at a party. Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your Mom or a future employer to see.
- Be Careful Who You Meet Online. People you meet online are not always who they claim to be. Indeed, they may not even be real. Fake social media profiles are a popular way for hackers to cozy up to careless Web users and pick their cyber pockets. Be as cautious and sensible in your online social life as you are in your in-person social life.
- Keep Your Antivirus Program Up To Date. Always make sure your anti-virus program is up to date. A good anti-virus can keep hackers and malware at bay.