Social media is about connecting with others by sharing your life and thoughts—and doing so can be freeing. But at the same time, there are numerous reasons to keep your social media posts private.
The creep factor is obvious: Many of us don’t want every stranger on the internet having unfettered access to your photos and activities. For some, it is a matter of safety, both physical and emotional. Real-life stalking and cyberbullying are some of the issues that lead individuals to be more cautious about their social media use.
“The term ‘cyberbullying’ is generally used as an umbrella term for various different types of online abuse and harassment,” according to the Cybersmile Foundation, a nonprofit group that provides support to those facing cyberbullying. “There are many different ways that people can make your time online uncomfortable or even scary.”
While the onus of staying safe shouldn’t be on the victims of stalking and cyberbullying, there are strategies to protect yourself. For this year’s Stop Cyberbullying Day, which falls on June 17, 2022, we’ve put together an infographic with practical tips on using social media with privacy and safety.
If you or someone you know is experiencing cyberbullying via social media, here are a few steps to take:
- Don’t engage or retaliate. Bullies are looking for a response; don’t give them what they want. Block them instead.
- Save evidence. Print out or make screenshots of bullying messages for potential legal action.
- Report abuse to the platform. Cyberbullying violates the Terms of Service of all major platforms.
- Get help from school. If it is a child being cyberbullied by someone in the same school, the school should investigate and ensure the child is safe.
- Get the police involved if appropriate. Physical threats made online are illegal in most places.
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