Here at KBEP, we’re all about healthy relationships. Respectful relationships do not just apply to the real world. The cyber world, as many of us have seen, can be tough to navigate safely.
So here are 6 tips to help you do just that!
1. Don’t share your passwords!
Do not underestimate the value of a good, secure password! The more secure your password is, the less likely it would be for anyone to hack your account.
But, having a password that is written in all webdings and punctuation marks is pointless if you share it with others! Keep your passwords private. No one (except maybe your parents) needs to know your passwords– not your best friend, not your dating partner. If your friend or dating partner is asking for the passwords to your accounts, it might be time to have a conversation about trust and respect. Your friend or dating partner should not need to spy on you and go through your accounts to know that you are being faithful. They should be able to respect your privacy and understand that your accounts belong to you and only you.
2. Never send or post something that you would be too ashamed for your parents or teachers to see!
Once you hit post, comment, send, or tweet, you lose all control of that content. Digital content can be screenshotted or retrieved and leaked (including snapchat photos that “disappear”!).
3. Preserve your Privacy.
Social media is a great way to stay connected to the people around us, but be careful how much information you choose to disclose about yourself and to whom you choose to disclose it. Keep your accounts private so that you have as much control as possible over who can see what you post, and check your privacy settings regularly (they change all the time). Try to limit your social media friends and followers to people you actually know in real life. Be careful about constantly updating the world about your real-time whereabouts. You never know why someone might be interested in knowing exactly where you are right now. Personal information like your home address, identification materials, and bank information should never be posted on the internet.
4. THINK Before You Post.
We’ve all seen it happen. Cyberbullying can get pretty nasty. Sometimes, people feel that they are free to say whatever they want, no matter how hurtful or disrespectful it might be. Just because you are in the cyber world does not mean you are surrounded by cyborgs. Your friends and followers are actual human beings with human feelings and deserve to be treated as such. Remember that what you post or share can always come back to you, so don’t get caught up in the myth that you are invincible if you are saying it online. Even if you use fake names and pictures, online posts can be traced to the creator, so be careful and respectful! This picture pretty much sums up what kinds of things you should post on social media.
5. If you see something, say something.
This doesn’t just apply to mysterious bags at train stations. If you see someone posting inappropriate or violent things online, don’t just scroll past it! Here are a few things you should do:
- If someone is being targeted by cyberbullies, help them out! It can be as simple as sending them a private message with a few encouraging words, but letting that person know that they are not alone and that they shouldn’t pay too much mind to what others might be saying about them can go a long way.
- Do your best to make sure that cyberbullies are held accountable for their online behavior. Report them!!! Every social media website and app has a way for you to report individual posts, comments, or entire accounts. Submitting a report will help the website uphold their standards of behavior, and can help keep our social media platforms safe.
- Make sure you tell an adult! As much as we like to think that we can handle everything on our own, we need to remember that the adults in our lives are here for one primary purpose– to make sure we are safe. No one can help you or protect you if they have no idea what the risks are. Keep a trusted adult in the loop about what’s going on in your world.
- Cyberbullying can easily escalate. It’s best to let a trusted adult know what kinds of things people have been posting before it goes too far.
Who has time to deal with people who are disrespectful, violent, and inappropriate? There is a simple solution: Don’t be afraid to block cyberbullies! When you block someone, they are no longer able to see your posts or message you, and their posts will no longer appear on your timeline/newsfeed.
6. Be a Digital Avenger!
Help spread the word about how to prevent and respond to cyberbullying. This infograph contains great information about cyberbullying and what teens can do about it. You can join us in the movement against cyberbullying by sharing this blog post and infograph on your social media pages! Be sure to use #DigitalAvengers to help keep the conversation going! For more information about cyberbullying, visit teensafe.com!