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 April 21, 2022

Cyberbullying on Social Media: 5 Tips for Prevention

A woman using a cell phone in the dark. Her fingernails are painted bright red.

Hailey Bieber begged people to stop cyberbullying her

In a recent post, Hailey Bieber pleaded for cyber trolls to stop bullying her on social media, saying, “I beg of you, truly…I’m minding my business, I don’t do anything, I don’t say anything.”

It’s no secret that social media has become a weapon for bullies to send hateful, threatening messages to people – and not just to celebrities like Hailey Bieber. Cyberbullying is a nationwide issue, and parents and schools are becoming more and more aware and concerned.

Schools around the country are growing concerned

Parents and teachers around the country notice that kids are being cyberbullied, and it’s affecting their schoolwork and overall wellbeing. Cyberbullies leave inappropriate comments on children’s Instagram posts, and parents have become frustrated because they feel law enforcement could do more to help.

Local police departments argue it’s a complicated issue between the First Amendment and protecting children’s rights to privacy and should be taken on as a case-by-case basis. Meanwhile, school districts are looking to combat the problem through more education.

5 tips to protect yourself from cyberbullying

The first step we should take against cyberbullying is understanding what it is and helping to educate others on it so we can all be proactive in protecting ourselves. Here are 5 ways you can protect yourself and your kids from cyberbullying:

1. Keep your social media profiles private

The easiest way to turn away unwanted strangers is to keep your life private online. Only allowing the people you know and trust to view your posts will significantly decrease the likelihood of getting bullied online. Every social media platform should have an option to make your profile private. On Instagram, for example, simply go to Settings, Privacy, and turn on “Private Account.”

2. Review your privacy settings

Next, stay in the Settings > Privacy section and review what else you would like to have boundaries on. You can block comments, limit unwanted interactions, hide posts and stories from certain people, and more. Your privacy settings should be a priority to review every few months to make sure you feel secure.

3. Don’t respond

If you do receive an unwanted comment or message, it’s natural to want to stick up for yourself. Experts recommend never responding, though, because it’s what the bully wants you to do and opens up the door for another attack. It’s best to be completely innocent in the situation and not post something you’ll regret later.

4. Block and report

Instead of engaging with them, simply exclude cyberbullies from being able to see your posts and interact with you. And because they will probably do the same thing to other people, you should report their account. You can block and report them on Instagram simply by viewing their profile, going to the three dots in the top right corner, and clicking “Block” and “Report.”

5. Escalate the situation

By talking to someone about what’s happening, you can get the help you need to stop the bullying. Report the behavior to authorities, school officials, and lawyers so there can be an official track record of the situation, and it can be escalated. Learn what legal steps you can take to combat cyberbullying.

Get legal help on cyberbullying from a dedicated lawyer

The effects of cyberbullying are significantly damaging, and it’s essential you get the help you need to defend yourself against it. Talk to a dedicated lawyer to learn about laws in your area and ways to combat cyberbullying from a legal perspective.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to PPLSI members through membership-based participation. Neither PPLSI nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation, or advice. The information available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist and the reader is strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be a third-party paid contributor. All information by authors is accepted in good faith, however, PPLSI makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.


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