Cyber Safety Tips

The power of knowledge is a great thing! Sometimes your online behaviour can put your safety at risk without you even knowing. Here are eight simple and effective ways to safeguard yourself from both bullies and other online threats.

Never Share Your Passwords

Keep information like passwords to yourself. Even if you’re thinking of sharing with a trusted friend, you’re opening the door for your personal accounts and information to somehow get into the wrong hands. If you need to write them down to remember them, use a password keeping app for ultimate safety. Enable the password setting on your phone and other devices to make sure you are the only one to have access. If available, utilizing your device’s fingerprint or facial recognition feature can make your phone even more secure.

Be Smart About What Apps You’re Using

Apps are an easy way for hackers to get malware and damaging viruses on your phone. Protect yourself by only installing apps from your smartphone’s app store. Avoid apps that want permission to access your contacts or messages and watch out for apps that use or track your location. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut – delete the app!

Keep Your Private Information Private

There are some things you should keep to yourself. When communicating online or posting things, be careful about sharing more about yourself than you should. Not everyone needs to know everything about you. Things like your full name, addresses, licence plates, where you work or go to school, your birthday, and social insurance number should be kept private and confidential.

Turn Off Geo-Tagging When Sharing on Social Media

Most smartphones are auto set to include a geo-tag with every picture you take. Social media sites can easily track your exact location ¬– which is something you should try to avoid. Only tag yourself, friends, and locations when you know it’s okay – you don’t need to post your location in real time. Adjust your phone settings and double check before you post.

Wipe Your Old Phone

Before you recycle it or chuck it in a drawer, remove all personal data from your old phone. Back up your contacts, files, and photos, then remove your memory card, restore factory settings, and double check all data has been deleted (Facebook passwords, internet browser history, cookies, cache, etc.).

Report Cyberbullying When You See It

Harassment, cyberbullying, hate – these are inappropriate and unacceptable behaviours with real consequences. If you experience or witness these types of behaviours, reporting them to site admin is the right thing to do.

Talk to An Adult About Anything That Makes You Uncomfortable

If something just doesn’t feel right to you – if you feel threatened by something in a text, email, chat, or anywhere else online, trust your gut. Reach out to an adult – a parent or teacher – someone who can help. Even if you’re not sure if it’s bullying, don’t be afraid to ask.

Spread Kindness!

Surround yourself with friends and relationships that build you up and allow you to be your true self. Don’t let unwanted and unwarranted messages creep in and dull your shine. Block, un-friend, and delete those that don’t leave a kind mark with their digital fingerprint.

A Message to Parents

Cyberbullying is a serious issue that shouldn’t be underestimated. Having an open conversation with your kids and letting them know they should talk to you if they’re ever bullied means they’ll be more likely to come to you should it happen.

If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied – listen. If your child is talking to you, they want your help. They are likely feeling vulnerable and had to build up a lot of courage before deciding to open up. Save any evidence of cyberbullying, such as text messages. Harassment is a crime, if there is a realistic threat of physical harm, talk to your child about reporting harassment to your local law enforcement office.

Every bullying incident is unique. Discuss a potential solution together, like calling the school or talking to the bully’s parents. Involve your child, as taking matters into your own hands may make things worse.