Bullying on Social Networking Sites

Bullying is no longer something that happens out in the real world. So many more children and teenagers are now being bullied online through social networking sites. Here is some advice on how to prevent this form of bullying.

Your Online Friends

If you do find yourself being bullied or harassed by someone in social network you can block them or delete. You can always become friends again with them later. This will stop them being able to add rude comments to any pictures or videos you have uploaded and prevents them from be able to post abusive messages on your profile wall.

Identity Theft

Identity theft can happen on sites such as Bebo, MySpace or Facebook. This happens when someone either hacks into your account or pretends to be you when they set up a new account.

Try to pick an unusual password and use letters and numbers. Do not use any part of your name or email address and do not use your birth date either because that's easy for people who know you to guess. Do not let anyone see you signing in and if they do, change the password as soon as you can.

If you do see that someone has created a fake account in your name report it to the customer service department of that particular site.

Rumours and gossip

The worst thing about social networking websites is that anything spiteful, malicious and/or cruel posted about you can be seen by lots of people because it's so public and because the bullies make sure they tell everyone where to find the abuse.

Often these vicious rumours and gossip is spread by people who were once your best friends so it is best to keep secrets to yourself.

Only tell people things if it would not embarrass you if other people found out about them. Posting false and malicious things about people on the internet can be harassment.

Privacy

The great majority of social networking sites allow you to control who can see profile and how much of your profile they can see. You may want to consider only letting family members and closest friends see your photo albums. You could also think about making your entire profile private so that it does not appear in search results.

Threats

Anyone who makes threats to you on the internet could be committing a criminal offence. It is against the law in the UK to use the phone system - which includes the internet - to cause alarm or distress.

It could also be against the 1997 Harassment Act. If threats are made against you then it is essential you tell your parents so that they can alert your school and make a complaint to the police.

If you cannot print out the threats use the "print screen" button to take a snapshot of the computer screen and then save that in a word processing package or in your draft email folder.

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