With computers in every home and smartphones in the pockets of most over 10s, it’s a sad fact that bullying no longer stops when children leave the playground.
And it’s not only young people who are being targeted by online bullies – with many adults reporting they are being abused or harassed via social media or mobile phones too.
But as part of the force’s Cyber Security – Has It Clicked? Campaign officers at Humberside Police are offering help, advice and support for those who are being targeted.
Worried parents can also find out more about the warning signs to look out for and what they can do to help protect their children.
Insp Rich Osgerby said: “We know the impact that cyber bullying can have on children and teenagers, with many feeling like there is no safe haven any more.
“The impact on adults shouldn’t be under estimated either. A large proportion of cyber-related incidents reported to the force involve online bullying or harassment.
“For the bully, it is all too easy to post malicious and hurtful posts. Moderation is limited and most posts go live before they can be reported, so it is understandable that people can be left feeling vulnerable.
“However, cyber bullying is not something you have to put up with and there are ways of dealing with it.”
- Report the abuse to the site’s moderators.
- Take screen shots of what has been posted, so you have a record once you have reported the issue and had the post taken down.
- Block the bullies so you can’t see the abuse.
- Consider deleting your accounts. If they can’t reach you, they can’t bully you.
- Involve the school or your firm’s HR department if this is happening at work – and do it in writing, so there is a record of what has been said and when.
- Emails can be tracked by internet service providers (ISP). Don’t reply to them or delete them – send them to the sender’s ISP – eg email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sending abuse by email or posting it into a web board can be harassment and if this has happened to you, make a complaint to the force.
- Make sure you guard your computer, mobile device and social media accounts with passwords and PINs to make sure no-one can use them to post or send malicious messages in your name.
For more advice from the Has It Clicked? campaign, visit the Humberside Police website.
You can also follow @humberbeat #HasItClicked? on Twitter or check out the force Facebook page for all the latest tips.