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Cyberbullying & Cyberstalking

Cyberbullying can occur only online, or as part of more general bullying. Cyberbullies may be people who are known to you, or they may be anonymous.

Cyberbullying generally comprises of sending threatening or otherwise nasty messages or other communications to people via social media, gaming sites, text or email; posting embarrassing or humiliating video; or harassing through repeated texts, instant messages or chats. Some cyberbullies set up Facebook pages and other social media accounts purely to bully others.

 

What to do if you are affected by Cyberbullying

  • Block cyberbullies’ social media, email and instant messaging accounts as appropriate.
  • Report cyberbullies to your internet service provider (ISP), mobile phone provider (if bullying is via texts or calls) or social media site/app.
  • Consider changing your phone number if the bullying is by text or phone call and keep the new one private.
  • Protect all your passwords and password protect your phone.
  • Do not reply, this is playing into the hands of the bully.
  • Talk to a friend, family member or other trusted person, such as a Safeguarding Manager or Designated Safeguarding Lead, about what is happening and how it makes you feel.
  • Keep upsetting emails, messages and posts as evidence if reporting the bullying.
  • Report serious bullying such as threats of physical harm or abuse, to the police.

 

Cyberstalking is persistent unwanted contact from another person – either someone you know or a stranger.

Cyberstalkers have many different motives, including those who feel wronged by their target, ex-partners, those with misplaced sexual motives, or those who just derive pleasure from scaring other, often random people. They can exploit your digital footprint by snooping on your social media channels/apps to find out your every movement, who you are in contact with and your plans. As cyberstalkers become more determined, they intrude on more aspects of your online presence, sometimes including hacking or taking over your social media accounts.

Cyberstalking may occur only online, or as part more general stalking or harassment activity.

 

How to avoid Cyberstalking

  • Review what online information exists about you and keep it to a minimum.
  • Regularly change your e-mail and passwords for key online accounts and keep them safe.
  • Review all your social media and search engine privacy and security settings.
  • Avoid public forums.
  • Ensure that your computer and mobile devices have up-to-date internet security software installed and turned on.
  • Ensure your wireless hub/router has security turned on.
  • Do not send or receive private information when using public Wi-Fi.
  • Limit the personal and financial information you share on or offline.

 

If you are a victim of Cyberstalking

  • Gather and document as much evidence as you can.
  • Report the stalking to the police.
  • Seek help and support from relevant individuals, such as Designated Safeguarding Leads, or organisations, for example, the National Stalking Helpline – www.stalkinghelpline.org

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