With technological innovations and more kids moving towards the internet every day, cyberbullying has become extremely common for users. With more kids on the platform, it has become quite easy for harassers to use the kids’ and teenagers’ weak spots and use them against them.
However, this turns into cyberbullying, which has become extremely common in today’s scenario. Cyberbullies track these minors over the internet and find out their vulnerabilities to bully them. To curb this, the first thing you need is to protect your device using a VPN.
Well, privacy starts from the root level. More specifically, it starts from the network level. If you leave your network vulnerable, you’re leaving loopholes for malicious entities to exploit your sensitive data.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will encrypt all your activities over the internet and prevent everyone from snooping in to monitor what you’re doing. You can subscribe to a VPN you’ve used before or go for any of the NordVPN free trial offers so you can confirm how effective that VPN is before actually subscribing to it.
Now that you’ve set up a VPN on your device, let’s look into how you, as a kid or teen, can protect yourself from cyberbullying:
1. Research about cyberbullying
The first step towards prevention from cyberbullying is to know what it consists of. You should be able to recognize if you’re being bullied over the internet immediately. For this, you should talk to your peers and ask if they’ve experienced anything like it.
You should also Google and read more about what comes under the umbrella of cyberbullying and what should be considered immediately.
2. Think twice before posting a photo
The second step to take is to be sure about what you’re about to post on the internet. Most cyberbullying takes place from posting pictures online.
So while you’re at it, be sure that what you’re about to post won’t result in a problem that can make your life miserable and can be posted over the internet or not. Also, make sure that it’s the photo you want your family and friends to see.
3. Know how most social media sites work
You may consider yourself old enough to know how to work on social media sites, but do you know how social media sites themselves work? That’s the real question.
You should learn how social media applications and sites work, what kind of data Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, or any other site is collecting, the potential risks of using these sites, and more to learn about the technology you get into trouble with.
4. Remember to log out of all social media accounts on a public PC
Just like not sharing your social media passwords with anyone is a thing, logging out of all your accounts on a public computer needs to be a significant concern to remember too.
You shouldn’t leave any of your accounts logged in into a public computer so no one can use it against you to post something explicit or change your password to keep you away from your account. This situation can leave you super-worried, and therefore, you should be extremely careful about it.
5. Look out for the warning signs
Once you know what cyberbullying is, how it starts, what it looks like, and its potential risks, it’s time for you to be vigilant and look out for any signs you see of cyberbullying to protect yourself.
Cyberbullying may result in extreme mood swings and the desire of quitting social media altogether. To prevent all of this from happening to you, you need to learn to differentiate between what’s normal and what isn’t, thereby determining and looking out for all warning signs.
6. Refrain from opening messages from strangers
It’s preferable to ignore messages from people you don’t know over the internet, as there might be hurtful comments and abusive content present in them that might hurt your sentiments if you indulge in the conversation.
These derogatory messages might also end up in threats that can easily scare you or anyone else. Therefore, deleting them instead of replying can be an excellent start to avoid cyberbullying.
7. Conduct research on yourself
You should always Google yourself once from time to time. While it’s fun when your image appears amongst Google images when you search your name, it wouldn’t be too much fun when the image or any of your personal information gets used against you by any cyberbullies.
Therefore, refrain from posting any of your information on any website that can be easily accessible to anyone if searched for.
8. Increase your privacy and security
Public profiles on Instagram and Twitter look fun, and we definitely agree, but these are also the profiles on which there is an increased risk of cyberbullying.
Therefore, try to keep your profile private and only accessible to the peers you trust, so there are no chances of you going through any wrath you don’t deserve.
9. Protect your password
Always keep your password safe, and do not share it with anyone. People might claim that you don’t trust them but try to ignore them.
Sharing your passwords can result in trespassing and stealing all your personal information. In addition, your chats may get revealed, or any embarrassing photo of yours might get used against you easily.
10. Talk to an adult
If you’re on the lookout for a warning sign and suspect a problem, it’s better that you immediately communicate the issue to an adult instead of trying to solve things yourself.
Adult guidance will only help you solve the issue while being on the right track before it gets too late.
Cyberbullying is one issue that might affect a child’s mental health badly, leaving the kid in trauma if it gets too extreme. It’s known that cyberbullying results in PTSD in victims, which is a scary thought.
Therefore, it’s better that the topic is raised, and there is substantial awareness over cyberbullying and its prevention so one can solve the issues immediately instead of panicking over it.
While a VPN might protect your activities online and keep you away from hackers, you need to protect yourself from cyberbullying using these relevant steps to enjoy what the internet has to offer without any worries.