The last thing a cyberbully wants is for their attacks to be found out. Therefore, it is vital that if a person is a victim of this type of Internet abuse they should inform the appropriate authorities. The following advice should be followed by victims of cyberbullying:
- If it is a defamatory web site then the ISP should be contacted as well as the police.
- Beware of responding to abusive or controversial topics raised in on-line services such as chat rooms or newsgroups. Most of the time these statements are designed to start 'flame wars' and cause offence to as many people as possible.
- Do not give out any personal information such as mobile phone numbers or e-mail addresses.
- Keep a record of all cyberbullying incidents by saving messages, e-mails, etc. for evidence purposes.
- Inform the moderator of a chat room or discussion forum if any cyberbullying activity is taking place.
- If bullied through chat or instant messaging, the bully can often be blocked.
- Tell your school if it is school-related. Schools have a bullying solution in place.
- Immediately contact the police or mobile phone operator if e-mail or text messages are particularly disturbing.
Protecting Yourself Online
The following steps should help to protect against Internet threats such as grooming. They apply to chat rooms and online messaging services, such as MSN Messenger, as well as social networking sites such as MySpace, Bebo and YouTube.
- Always be cautious about any information you give when using the Internet, eg: if you wish to participate in a chat room use a suitable nickname and never reveal any personal information such as where you live.
- Always assume that any information and pictures you put on the Internet can be viewed by the entire world.
- Beware of giving information about yourself that you consider too trivial to withhold. The more information you put on-line then the more there is for someone to put together about you.
- Always be suspicious of what you are being offered on the Internet, eg: gifts, prizes and money. There are many hidden dangers that could compromise your system, eg: a hacker/groomer might try to send you a virus hidden in a picture or some other file, eg: a game, so that they can get access to your system.
- Try to keep your Internet activity in actively moderated and open environments and stay away from chat rooms and other sites that may have people in them that you do not want to communicate with, eg: hate newsgroups.