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Bullying

Bullying is a phenomenon that affects far more people than you might think and while the cruelty older people might have experienced must not be devalued cyberbullying brings other factors to bear. It is invasive, it is 24/7, it can be anonymous and can expand to recruit hundreds of bullies in any one instance.

This film from Childnet International is a powerful demonstration of this.

Let's Fight It Together

It seems to me that actions to address the cyberbullying problem fall into two categories. There are the actions we can take to make this sort of attack less likely and there are actions that we can take to deal with bullying if it happens.

Let's look at the first. What can we do to be safer? This is analogous to our actions to stay safe on busy roads. We can't legislate for the actions of others but we can keep ourselves as safe as possible. There is lots of advice about but I think this encapsulates it:
  • Make sure only good friends and family are in your phone or email address book or on your social networking site.
  • Use an alias instead of your real name.
  • Remember that what you post is probably public. Think carefully before you post.
If you're being bullied:
  • Always tell someone you trust what’s happening.
  • Keep a record of any sites or bullying messages.
  • Never engage in a dialogue with the bullies.
  • Take a break from the social network or mobile phone you use.
  • If you're really keen to use a particular  chatroom of forum perhaps reregister with a different account.
  • Remember being bullied is never your fault.
Above all click the CEOP report abuse button on the left of this page. It can also be found on numerous other sites, hopefully soon to include Facebook.

Facebook actually have some useful and probably seldom read advice pages for teenagers, parents, educators and others at: http://www.facebook.com/help/?safety 
It is also possible to block and report pages. Have a look at a site's terms and conditions too. They are often keen to take action if you can demonstrate that these have been violated. This is a link to Facebook's. http://www.facebook.com/terms.php?ref=pf Note that these have been breached if a user is younger than 13.

This page lists contacts for all the major mobile phone and social networking companies.