What to do if you’re being cyber-bullied

When you’re being cyber-bullied, you need to take action, and it needs to be taken quickly because if you let it go for a long time it can cause some real damage. The golden rule is don’t keep quiet – do something about it.

One way you can be proactive and minimise the amount of information a bully can access about you is to secure your private information. If you have private information that you don’t want anyone to see, don’t put it on a device that is accessible on the internet.

The safest option is to store it on a flash drive. It doesn’t matter how secure you think your personal information is, or how safe the app or platform says it is: if you put something on an electronic device that is connected to the internet there is no guarantee that someone can’t access it without your permission.

Four actions to take

It may be too late or the person doing the bullying is someone who you trusted previously, in that case, here are some actions that you could take:

  1. Talk to the person who is bullying you. Make them aware that you know what they’re doing to you and demand they stop interfering with your life. Tell them that the law protects you and if things continue then you may involve law enforcement.
  2. If you think you want to report the cyber-bullying, you’ll need to have evidence of this. Keep records of anything that’s said or happens to you. You can put voice recorders on your phone to record conversations that come to you as evidence if you need to take the step of getting law enforcement involved.
  3. Keep any messages that are you receive, whether they are by text, email, WhatsApp, or other messaging services or in forums.
  4. Talk to someone. You might want to talk to a friend, or consider counselling if you think it’s affecting your mental health. If the cyber-bullying is happening in your workplace, speak to HR – be sure to have evidence of the bullying – and get your managers involved. No one should have to put up with messages or behaviour that makes them feel inadequate.

If you think you can’t resolve the cyber-bullying then contact the police as they have units that deal with bullying. There are also government agencies that can help with counselling both for you and for the bully as well.

The most important thing is to take action. Know you’re loved and valued and that there are people and agencies that can help.

Sydney Kanda, MBA, BSc. Theology

Sydney Kanda, MBA, BSc. Theology

MAS Cyber Security Expert

Sydney Kanda is a Senior Information Security Consultant specialising in information risk & cybersecurity. In his master’s thesis with Massey University, entitled “The Kidnap of Data”, Sydney’s study explored how New Zealand small businesses are responding to cyber threats, especially ransomware. Sydney is passionate about cyber security, designing & implementing secure networks, and locking away your precious information assets from cyber criminals.

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