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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Carter

How to Stay Safe Online and Stop Cyberbullying

Updated: Aug 30, 2022


Whether you are a parent of a technology user or a technology user yourself, this post is for you. While so many of us are trying to become the best versions of ourselves, we will always run into something or someone who will try to ruin our day. Today I will be discussing how to prevent the internet from ruining your day by becoming a cautious consumer.


Top Ways to Be Safe Online:

  1. Update passwords every 180 days

  2. Use difficult passwords (see below on how to create them)

  3. Never give out personal information on unsecure sites

  4. Use an online alias

  5. Use kind words, this not only creates a safe space mentally but can keep you under the radar to those seeking to harm

  6. Don't click on any links without verifying the source, this can be done by doing a quick search

  7. Update devices frequently, the most up to date software is the hardest to hack

  8. Use precautions when on public WiFi, don't log into sensitive websites like your bank if you can avoid it

  9. Periodically review social media settings and app privacy settings

  10. Be on the lookout for phishing scams (see below)

  11. Bookmark your favorite websites so you don’t have to search for them

  12. Use device filters, content filters, browser filters, internet filters as often as possible


When was the last time you updated your passwords?

To be honest, is has been a hot minute for me and is now on the top of my to-do list. Let me help you walk through how to update your passwords and set it up so all your devices can find your password, and suggest difficult passwords for you in the future.


For Google Users:

1. Go to passwords.google.com.⁠

2. In the top right, select Settings .⁠

3. From here you can manage your settings. Such as; Offer to save passwords: Manage offers to save passwords in Android and Chrome.⁠ ⁠


Google’s password manager works for any device that has Google apps on it, meaning it will work for iOS and android.⁠ ⁠ It will also run a password check up for you.


1. swipe down on your phone or ipad or press siri .

2. Type or say keychain.⁠

3. Turn on icloud keychain.


For Mac:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences.

  2. Click Apple ID, then click iCloud in the sidebar.

  3. Select Keychain.

After you finish setting up your password manager or keychain, take the time to update your passwords to the most critical services.


Why Does it Matter?

Your information and the information of those you love can be used to harm. According to Polaris Project, "Social media has been used by traffickers to recruit victims, to proliferate their trafficking operations, and to control victims through restricting their social media access, impersonating the victim, or spreading lies and rumors online."⁠


If you leave credit card information saved on a site and you use an easy password such as 123456 (the most used password in the world), then you are making it easy for your credit card to be misused along with the site or sites that use your easy password.


Each of the following cyber crimes can lead to shame, depression, anxiety, ⁠stress, ⁠loss of sleep, lost trust in relationships, ⁠and in some cases suicidal idealization (usually in cyberbullying).⁠


What is Phishing?



Phishing is a common tactic used by cyber criminals to steal personal or financial information by pretending to be someone they’re not (such as a friend, government department or co-worker).⁠

This can lead to financial ruin, loss of trust, anxiety and depression.⁠

⁠ It is easy for others to see who your providers are and pretend to be them. Ask for identifying information on your account before proceeding with them. ⁠


If you are ever unsure if something is a phishing scam ignore it and verify the source by calling, emailing, or visiting the trusted website.


Report phishing scams to: 1-888-282-0870.⁠



CyberBullying:


According to dictionary.com Cyberbullying is "the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature".⁠ It is also illegal in many places.


It is often done online and in person.

Cyberbullying is strongly associated with depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal ideation.⁠


Learn more about protecting kids online

Did you know that Sweden has the highest number of reported cyber bullying cases?⁠

"Cyberbullying... can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones. It is repeated behavior, aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted. Examples include:⁠

spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos or videos of someone on social media⁠

sending hurtful, abusive or threatening messages, images or videos via messaging platforms⁠

impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf or through fake accounts.⁠

Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying can often happen alongside each other. But cyberbullying leaves a digital footprint – a record that can prove useful and provide evidence to help stop the abuse." Unicef


How to Stop Cyberbullying:⁠

  • Block the user to stop seeing messages from them and so they can no longer see you. ⁠Save records of the abuse. ⁠

  • Ignore the user. ⁠

  • Report the user to the moderator, school (if student), and or hotline below. ⁠

Do not put up with cyberbullying. You reporting the abuse will prevent it from happening to others as well as yourself. ⁠

Keep records of cyberbullying. It is easier to prove it is happening. ⁠


Unwanted Sexting and Cyberbullying:

Unwanted sexting is a form of cyberbullying and many cyberbullying laws include unwanted sexting. Sexting is sending unrequested nude photos and other explicit images through email, text, and/or social media platforms to exposing oneself in public to strangers.⁠

This is indecent exposure and is a Class B misdemeanor and is punished by up to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. ⁠

Depending on a judge, the person found guilty can end up being labeled a pedifile and have to register each time they move.⁠


Here is a site for adolescents.

What is Doxing?

This is one gif example of how it works:


Doxing, Doxxing, or dropping Dox is when someone publicly shares your information such as your address and or phone number. ⁠

The people who do this are hoping to expose those who are trying to remain anonymous and it is not illegal in every area, especially if the information can be obtained through a search. Meaning, it is a re-sharing of information.⁠

One famous recent example is Elon Musk. He offered to pay someone to shut down the twitter account tracking his private flights. ⁠

According to Cybersmile, "Doxing can affect someone in a wide variety of ways. It can affect someone's mental health, professional life and in some extreme cases, their physical health."⁠

If you want your identifying information removed from the internet, such as your salary, age, address and phone number. Google yourself, then delete yourself from any websites you find.⁠ You can also pay a company to remove it for you.⁠


What is Swatting?


Swatting is creating a hoax 911 call typically involving hostages, gunfire, or other acts of extreme violence, with the goal of getting a swat presence to an unsuspecting person's residence.⁠

Victims are typically associated with the tech industry, video game industry, and/or the online broadcasting community. - Seattle.gov⁠

It is a deliberate and malicious act that creates an environment of fear and unnecessary risk, and in some cases, has led to loss of life.⁠

It is illegal for these reasons.⁠

SMART 911 and Rave Mobile Safety were created to help first responders (and even swat) know the needs of the household or business, such as if someone is deaf or has allergies.⁠

Quora has these tips to prevent being Swatted:⁠


1. Register Yourself With The Local Police⁠

2. Remove Personal & Location Information From Online All Profiles⁠

3. Secure Your IP Address & Home Network With A VPN⁠

4. Use 2 Factor Authentication For All Social And Broadcasting Accounts⁠

5. Be Careful What You Talk About On The Live Broadcast⁠

Tip: Do NOT RESIST if you get swatted!⁠

If you are a victim of cyberbullying or know someone who is, Call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). ⁠

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