What Teens Can Do

The Internet Does Have Rules of Conduct – Just Like Life

The anonymous and instant nature of the Internet makes it easy to believe people can say or do what they want without repercussions. But there are rules for safe and acceptable online behaviour.

  • Never treat someone online in a way that you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing face to face.
  • Never share passwords with anyone other than a trusted adult.
  • Never share cellphone numbers or email addresses unless you know and trust the person.
  • Never share personal information or photos in a chat room.
  • Never post, email or forward naked photos of yourself - or anyone else – to anyone.
  • Always stand up to bullying behaviour you see online. If you know who the sender is, let him or her know that cyberbullying is not okay with you but don’t engage in responding to nasty or aggressive messages. Reach out to the person on the receiving end. Let him or her know that you are there and you care. Delete the message and do not pass it along.
  • Always talk to a trusted adult about your online relationships and what you see online. If you are being cyberbullied or concerned that someone else is, you don’t have to deal with it alone.
  • Always protect yourself. If you think you or someone else is being harassed or threatened, make a copy of the message before you delete it. Internet service providers, cell phone service providers, and social networking websites like FaceBook have terms of use that forbid bullying, harassing, malicious or illegal behaviour. Contact them so they can investigate the issue or remove the offending material. Approach the police when physical threats are involved or a crime has possibly been committed.

Be Part Of The Solution. Don't Pass It On!

Even if you didn’t create an email or message, simply forwarding it to friends means you have participated in the bullying of another and are now part of the problem. If you delete it and refuse to pass it on, you become part of the solution.

Before you send an email, a message or a photo consider the following:

  • Is this hurtful? Is it intended to be hurtful? Would you find it funny if you were the subject of this message?
  • Is this message meant to hurt someone’s reputation? If so, you could be accused of libel. If found guilty, you will be responsible for paying damages to the person you hurt.
  • Is this a sexual image of an underage teen? If so, you could be found guilty of distributing child pornography, which could result in a jail sentence.

See more on the legal consequences of cyberbullying