Preventing Cyberbullying: Top Ten Tips for Adults Who Are Being Harassed Online Cyberbullying Research Center

By Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin
(For a formatted .pdf version of this article for distribution, click on the image above [or click here]).

1. Stay up to date with privacy settings Social networking sites and programs are modifying and updating their privacy settings frequently. Make sure that you’re familiar with the new profile options, and keep as much information as possible restricted to those you trust.

2. Restrict access to your contact information. Do not give out your email or phone number to people that you do not know. Also, keep your email and phone number off of social media sites. You never know who might have access to them, and you cannot trust everyone who is a “friend” or “follower.”

3. Learn Internet etiquette. To prevent potential problems with other Internet users, learn social conventions related to interaction in cyber- space. For example, do not write in all CAPS. This can be perceived as yelling to some. Also resist using sarcasm online as it can be easily misinterpreted.

4. Don’t send inappropriate pictures or videos. Remember that today’s boyfriend or girlfriend can be tomorrow’s scorned lover. You do not want someone with inappropriate pictures or videos of you posting them online and sharing them with the rest of the world. Don’t put yourself in the position of being worried about this.

5. Google yourself. You should always know what is being said about you online. It is often surprising to find information you thought was private show up in public databases, news articles, or on social networking pages that have been indexed by search engines.

6. Do not accept friend requests from strangers. If you do not know the person who is sending you a friend request, ignore it. Most social media sites and programs also give you the option to block the user if you like.

7. Use site-based controls. Disable search options on certain social media sites to prevent anyone from searching for you or messaging you. This allows you to have more control over who you inter- act with online, as you are the only one who can initiate it.

8. Keep your information protected. If using a public computer, be sure to log off of any site you are on when you walk away from that computer – even for a minute. In fact, do it on your other portable devices too if there is a chance that someone might come by and use your account to be funny or mischievous. Do not give passwords out to anyone and change your pass- word frequently. Also, make sure your phone has a passcode or password.

9. Be skeptical in online interactions. Even among people you trust, it is risky to reveal too much information because you never know for sure if the person you think you are communicating with is really there — or if they are alone.

10. Guard against mean people. Remember that some people have a lot of time on their hands and all they want to do is make life miserable for others. Don’t let them. Resist putting too much personal or private information online that could be used to harass or humiliate you.

This Top Ten List provides specific guidance for adults who want to protect themselves from those who cyberbully.

Citation information: Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. (2013). Preventing Cyberbullying: Top Ten Tips for Adults Who Are Being Harassed Online. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved [insert date], from

Keywords: prevent, cyberbullying, prevention, adult, harassment, online

  1. Debbie Young

    The 1st step would be to block the bully. 2nd would be to not antagonize the people that you think of as bullies. Just leave them alone and most likely you will be left alone.

  2. Sandra Thompson

    I have a neighbor who is continually bullying my husband and I through trying to access my computer,my internet modem, cable modem, and my home security modem. They are hackers just to discredit people and the police here do not care about this. These people are young and need to be put in their place. But apparently the law states they can do what ever whenever to everyone and anyone. No one is protected anymore. These people have taken money from me. They try and hsck not just my system but everyone else around them so they can get free everything. They bully everyone back here that condons what they do. They play loud music, shoot weapons, drink lots of alchol,and do drugs. But they always hang out in the streets to harrass everyone around them. They are criminals and we have no police protection against these bullies. They have been stealing cable and everything which is the same as stealing money. But I just can not get comcast to file charges against them. For some reason my husband and I is the prime target. Because they hack into everything we own on a daily basis.

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