Ten Do’s and Don’ts for a victim of cyberbullying

By Jorge Flores Fernández
Founder and Director of Pantallas Amigas (Friendly Screens)

cyberbullying-decalogo

1) Ask for help. If you are underage, turn to your parents for help, or to an adult you trust. Make sure that that person knows and understands these guidelines so that you both move forward in the same direction.

2) Don’t ever yield to provocations. Doing so doesn’t help you at all. On the contrary, it is an incentive and an advantage for those who harass you. Keep calm and never act in an exaggerated and impulsive way.

3) Don’t make presumptions. It might happen that neither the circumstances nor the people involved are what they appear to be. Keep a margin for reasonable doubt because acting according to false statements may worsen the problems and create new ones.

4) Try to avoid the places where you are bullied as far as possible until the situation progressively clears itself. In the case of social networks or online communities it shouldn’t be difficult. If you have been harassed by phone, consider changing your phone number.

5) The more that person knows about you, the more vulnerable you are. Can you imagine a deriding lie about you based on the true facts you posted on your wall? What would happen if someone, pretending to be you, insults your friends? Therefore, It’s time for you to close the doors of your private life online to people you don’t fully trust. For that:

– Carry out a throughout analyze of your computer to make sure you don’t have any malicious software (trojans, spyware…) that may give your harasser an advantage.

– Change the passwords of the online services you use, but not before taking the step above. Remember they have to be complicated to guess and have to combine letters and numbers.

– Clean your contact list. Revise and reduce the list of your social network contacts (or the ones related to online services such as instant messaging apps, i.e. Whatsapp, Line…).

– Revise the settings of your social networks’ (or similar websites) privacy options and make them more restrictive. Make sure that you know how these options work and their implications on your privacy.

– Find out what is said about you online. Search for information about you published by other people and try to delete it if you think it can be used against you.

– Check the information you publish, who has access to it and who can, in turn, make it available for other people.

– Inform your contacts about the fact that you don’t want them sharing your information or pictures in public/open environments.

– Exercise your right to protect your personal information. You are the one who decides how it can be used, including pictures of you.

6) Save all the bullying evidences as it can be of great help. Try to also identify the author(s) with certainty but, in any case, without violating anybody’s rights.

7) Let the harassers know that their actions are annoying you and ask them, with no threats or aggressiveness, to stop. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t assume facts or guilt while you communicate it and therefore you have to be careful how you’re doing it, namely without publicly pointing at someone, but at the same time trying to make sure that the person or people involved get the message.

8) Let them know that their actions are liable to prosecution by law in case the harassment persists.

9) Put your will to report the offence on record if the harassment persists despite the previous steps. Show that you have saved enough evidences from the beginning and that you know where and how to submit them. You need to point out that, if it persists, you will be forced to go to the police.

10) Take legal actions if the harassment, at this point, hasn’t stopped.

These ten Do’s and Don’ts have been translated from the original “Decálogo para una víctima de ciberbullying”. These points are one of the contributions made by Pantallas Amigas to the first Protocol of School Intervention against Cyberbullying, developed by the EMICI with the collaboration of the Basque Country Department of Education (Basque Country, Spain).

For more information and teaching resources about cyberbullying visit: http://www.prevencionciberbullying.com (in Spanish)

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