Tips for Teens on How to Prevent Cyberbullying
A study by The Cyberbullying Research Center suggests that 50% of teenagers experience some form of cyberbullying throughout their high school years. Of those teens, only 10% tell their parents or another authority figure that the cyberbullying has occurred.
As technology advances and more teens and children get their hands on electronic devices, cyberbullying grows increasingly prevalent. To fight back against this harmful practice, it is important to educate teens on what cyberbullying is and how to prevent it.
What is Cyberbullying?
Before teens can prevent cyberbullying, they must understand what it actually is.
Cyberbullying falls under any of the following definitions.
- Sending threats via text, email, or online accounts
- Spreading rumors about an individual using online resources
- Hacking an account and pretending to be the account holder
- Sending private pictures or information to an individual’s friends or followers
- Texting or emailing hurtful words and insults
- Making an individual feel small or powerless with the help of an online platform
Cyberbullying is incredibly harmful and can have lasting effects on a teenager’s confidence, self-esteem, and mental health. In many cases, cyberbullying leads to self-harm, anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
Tips for Teens on to Prevent Cyberbullying
Teens can fight back against cyberbullies in the following ways.
Knowledge is power! Learn everything you can about how cyberbullies operate. Look for warning behavior in the people around you. The more you know, the better equipped you are to prevent cyberbullying in your life or even in your friends lives.
Check your privacy settings.
Teens commonly leave social media accounts on “public” so that they don’t have to approve follow requests. However, public accounts are an easy target for bullies. To maintain control over the people who see your content, keep your accounts private. Additionally, avoid posting or mentioning your location.
Avoid taking compromising photos.
Sexual pictures and texts often serve as a cyberbully’s favorite tool. If they get their hands on sexual content, they typically won’t hesitate to spread it publicly or use it to blackmail their victim. Often, cyberbullies pose as another person online. For instance, a female cyberbully may pose as a friendly boy to secure compromising photos of another girl.
Be extremely careful regarding the pictures you take and especially the pictures you send. Before you take a photo on your device or send one to a friend, ask yourself: “Would I be OK with this being seen publicly?” Use caution and wisdom.
Remember that everything you post is permanent and public.
Nothing online ever truly goes away. You can delete or hide posts, but if you are a target of cyberbullying, the bully is likely to take screenshots. Use discretion when posting so that the bully does not have personal information or “ammo” to antagonize you with.
Log out of social media on public devices.
If you use a public library’s computer or someone else’s tablet, double-check that you logged out of all your accounts. If you stay logged in on a public device, bullies may lock you out of your account and pretend to be you online.
Fight against cyberbullying by raising awareness. Speak out against it to your friends, family, and anyone else that will listen. Bullies thrive on the power of secrecy. Raising awareness takes away that power.
Speak to an authority figure if the need arises.
Very few teens tell anyone when they are being cyberbullied. Often, cyberbullies hold compromising material against their victims, threatening to expose them if they speak up. Other times, the teen simply feels too embarrassed or ashamed to say anything.
Always speak to an authority figure as soon as possible. Your bully wants you to feel powerless. Advocate for yourself and show them that you are aware of their manipulation and cowardice.
Look yourself up on the internet.
It can be helpful to Google yourself every so often. If you notice unusual accounts or pictures linked to your name, look into them to make sure no one is posing as you.
Stand up for others who are being cyberbullied.
Empowering others empowers you. If you see or hear of someone else getting cyberbullied, step in, and let them know you are on their side. Help them notify an authority figure as soon as possible.
Remember that cyberbullying is never your fault.
Like other forms of abuse and bullying, a teen can often feel like they deserve to be cyberbullied or that it is somehow their fault. This is simply not true. Bullying is always the abuser’s fault; never yours. Do not feel guilty or ashamed because of the actions of someone else.
LockOut’s Passion for Physical and Emotional Safety
Our goal as a company is to help schools, parents, teens, and children stay safe and happy in a dangerous world. No one should have to worry about their physical or mental health in a school environment. That is why we have taken steps to protect both.
In the event of an armed intruder, The SmartBoot offers an audio and visual connection between authorized personnel and first responders even while the building is in lockdown. It is a simple mechanism that will trigger a lockdown of the entire facility, alert police, and school security, and give everyone peace of mind. The SmartBoot is an excellent option for those who deem school security as a priority.
If you have any further questions regarding school lockdowns or the LockOut SmartBoot System, do not hesitate to call us today. Your safety is our priority.