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Internet Safety: Why You Shouldn't Trust the Web as much as You Do Now

May 20, 2014

I know, I know... Who wants to read a post about “Internet safety”? I’m sure a lot of you will look at this, and quickly close out of it because you think this is something that you’ve heard all of your life. You know the rules. You know that there are people on the internet that can cause harm to you personally. And a lot of you might think that you are taking all the appropriate steps needed to be safe, when in truth, you might not know everything you think you might about this topic.

Internet safety is MUCH more than meets the eye.

First, I’d like to take this chance to talk about cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is bullying which occurs through electronic communication. It is most commonly done by sending intimidating, threatening messages. Cyberbullying is a very serious topic. We might not realize when we are being bullied on the internet, so it is important to know characteristics of cyberbullying, and when would be the appropriate time to report someone for this.

A few statistics from the Pew Research Internet Project:

  • 15% of teens who use social media say they have been the target of cruel behavior on these internet sites.
  • 88% of teens who use social media say they have witnessed others being mean and cruel to another person on these social media sites.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CYBERBULLYING:

  • Making threats toward the victim
  • Spreading rumors about the victim
  • Publishing humiliating information about the victim
  • Being hateful toward the victim
  • Harassing the victim
  • Making harsh, or hateful comments to the victim

You can find more information about the characteristics of a cyberbully on bullyingstatistics.org.

If you are feeling like you are a victim of cyberbullying, you are not alone. It is important to report such behavior to a trusted adult.

Next, I would like to talk to all about internet personas. There are ALL types of people on the internet. There are people that we can relate to, and are in need of a friend like many of us. We often find comfort in meeting these people and growing closer to them each day. There are also other types of people.

It’s always important to remember that on the internet, it is easy for anyone to change themselves to be someone that they are not.

This is usually not a good thing. The situation could be that the person is uncomfortable with who they are, and want people to think they are someone who they wish they could be. And sometimes the situation is more threatening and dangerous, when people want to gain our trust to learn personal things about us, but for negative reasons only. These people are usually cyberbullies (as I discussed earlier), stalkers, or pedophiles.

This brings me to my next point. It is important not to share any personal information with someone you meet on the internet. You don’t know who, or what their true intentions are. First impressions are not everything on the web.

Even when you think you have all the proof you need to know that someone is who they say they are, you still should always be cautious of whom you trust.

ALWAYS remember that once you post something in a public chat room/forum, or on other social-media, it can never be taken back. Even if there is an option for something to be deleted, there is also the option for someone else to screenshot or copy what you post.

Here, you will find a “Cheat Sheet” that you can refer to for being safe online.

Additional resources to check out:

Being internet-safe is crucial. If you have ANY questions about internet-safety, please reach out to a trusted adult.

By 7 Cups Listener,

Jessica@Jessica_7_Cups 

Photo Contribution by 7 Cups Listener, Pieta 

Tags:cycberbullysupportinternetsafetyteenlisteners