Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Cyber (online) Bullying is an area that is growing in concern. With a move to remote working and online learning, we are using our digital devices to communicate more and more. Every contact we make online leaves a trace – known as our digital footprint (https://bit.ly/3k01F5Q) . And that digital footprint can be muddied by inappropriate comments.
As soon as we post something online it is available for other users to do with it what they want. Even with the best privacy settings, we are no longer in control of the information once it is posted. Other users can save it, share it, comment on it or use it in a negative way against us or worse, against another. Even if we delete a post, remove a picture or a comment it will still exist somewhere.
We are responsible for the information we put online. Even if we use false profiles to try and hide our identity, the user profile can be linked back to us if required. So, if the profile is used in online bullying and it is reported to the Police, they have the means to trace that profile back to its creator.
Cyber bullying can take place across apps too. Comments written in group chats can be used to cause distress to another. Ask yourself before you type – Is it kind?
It is equally important to know how to protect ourselves against online bullying. Think about how much information we share about ourselves online.
Keep personal details safe. As a general rule of thumb, if we wouldn’t post it on our front doors then it shouldn’t be posted online either.
Stay safe online by keeping up to date with your privacy settings (https://bit.ly/3mztGCQ) . Ensure you have accounts locked down to friends only and make sure those contacts are people you trust.
Stay in control of who can see your posts and who you make friends with. If it is someone you don’t know be careful because it could be a false account where the user has lied about their identity. Trolls and bullies will try and gain information about you to use it against you.
Report people who leave inappropriate comments. Either on your account or on the account of another. Utilise the block button against anyone making inappropriate comments about you.
Increasingly, colleges, universities and potential employers will search the Internet to see what they can find out about you. If you have used your digital footprint in a positive way this can be a fantastic marketing tool. First impressions are important so when posting online think – would I be happy for my future employer to see this. If the answer is ‘no’ then don’t post it.