Taking some smart precautions can help you stop cyberbullying before it starts.

How to protect yourself:

  • Make the most of privacy settings. Investigate what measures you can take to keep content private on the websites you use. On Facebook and other social networking sites, you can adjust your settings so that only the people you select are able to see your personal information and posts. It’s important to check these privacy settings frequently, because sites sometimes change their policies.

  • Think before you post. Never forget that the internet is public. What you put out there can never be erased. If you wouldn’t say something in a room full of strangers, don’t say it via internet. Even letting someone know sensitive or embarrassing information about you via email can have unforeseen consequences.

  • Keep personal information personal. Don’t reveal identifying details about yourself—address, phone number, school, credit card number, etc.—online. Passwords exist for a reason; sharing them with friends is like passing out copies of your house key to friends and strangers alike. If anyone besides you knows your passwords, it should be your parents and your parents only.

How to join the wider fight to prevent cyberbullying:

  • Educate yourself. Reading this article is a good starting point. Also check out other fact sheets and resource lists on the internet to get more information about how cyberbullying works and how to stop it.

  • Educate others. Does your school already have a policy against cyber-bullying? If you’re worried that your school administration isn’t doing enough to fight this problem, you could try speaking to school officials about your concerns and offering to help develop policies. If your school is already addressing the issue, see if you can help get the word out.

  • Speak out. If your friends are cyberbullies, call them on it and explain to them how hurtful their actions are. If a friend is being cyberbullied, don’t stand by and do nothing. Talk to them about it and seek help from an adult. Your support may be just what the victim needs to overcome the problem.