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Behind that username is a real person. Let’s think before we post - Check, please!

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Cyber Bullying

Cyber-bullying is the act of using the Internet or digital devices with the intent of hurting a person or group.

1. I am being cyber-bullied. What can I do?

- Don’t respond or retaliate to the cyber-bully: they might use it against you
- Save the evidence: keep the text messages, save the photos, take screenshots of the chat, and print them out
- Tell someone you trust: like a parent, teacher, friend, or an online counsellor at Help123
- Block the bully: mobile phones and most social networking sites have the option to block someone
- Report the bully: most social networking sites have the option to report content if you find it abusive
- Don’t blame yourself: remember that you did not ask to be bullied, and it’s not your fault

2. What are examples of cyber-bullying?

  • Hurtful messages, texts, or emails
  • Embarrassing photos or videos-
  • Excluding someone online
  • Spreading false rumours about someone online

3. My friend is being cyber-bullied. What can I do?

  • Don’t bully: don’t share messages, posts, photos, or videos that are hurtful or humiliating
  • Save the evidence: keep the text messages, save the photos, take screenshots of the chat, and print them out
  • Tell someone you trust: report the bullying to someone who can help, like a parent or teacher
  • Speak up: if you feel safe and confident doing so, call out the bully for their hurtful actions and say, “this isn’t funny, take down the post”
  • Support your friend: speak to your friend personally so that they know they are not alone, and remind them that they are not to blame

 

 

4. The cyber-bullying material is still online!

  • Report all hurtful or embarrassing messages, posts, photos, and videos on the social media site that it happened on: the social media sites should remove these posts within 2 days
  • Save the evidence of the cyber-bullying: save messages, keep screenshots of chats, and download photos and videos for evidence if you later make a complaint
  • Block the cyber-bully: block them on all sites that they can contact you so that, while the material is being removed, they cannot reach you
  • Report the cyber-bully to the authorities: speak to a parent or teacher about the option of contacting law enforcement or a lawyer

Download Tip Sheet for Cyber Bullying

POV cyberbullying victim

 

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Digital footprints

Your digital footprint is everything in the digital world that is about you.

1. What are examples of digital footprints?

  • Your search history
  • Text messages, including deleted messages
  • Photos and videos, including deleted ones
  • Tagged photos, even those you never wanted online
  • Likes/loves on sites like Facebook and Instagram
  • Browser history, even when you are on ‘Incognito’ mode

2. Why does my digital footprint matter?

  • Once information is online, it can be difficult (or impossible) to remove
  • People’s digital footprint determines their digital reputation, which is now as important as their offline reputation
  • Words and photos can be easily misinterpreted and altered, causing unintentional insult
  • Content intended for a private group can easily spread to a broader circle, hurting relationships and friendships
  • Most employers check their potential employees’ digital footprints before hiring them

3. them What can I do to leave better digital footprints?

  • Stop and think before you post, forward, or reply to something
  • Remember to treat others like you want to be treated
  • Set your settings on social media sites to ‘Private’, and check and update this regularly
  • Check the content you are being tagged in, and remove those that are offensive or inappropriate

 

To leave less digital footprints, use encrypted, privacy-friendly app alternatives such as Signal, Telegram, and Wire.

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Fake news

Fake news is any information that is deliberately or accidentally false, often published with the intention of misleading the public, damaging an entity, or gaining financially.

1. What are examples of fake news?

  • Satire, funny stories based off some truth, that are then spread as the truth
  • News alleging negative things about someone’s character
  • Advertisements trying to gain profit by lying about their costs

 

2. Why is it dangerous to spread fake news?

  • Public panic may be caused
  • Resources are wasted as the authorities check the validity of claims
  • Reputations are hurt when false allegations are made

3. How can I spot fake news?

  • Check the source: try find your news from credible sources that have a good reputation, not just through your friends or social media
  • Look at the About Us or Contact Us pages: fake websites often don’t have these pages, or have very little helpful information on them
  • Confirm with other reliable sources: check other news sites to see if the same story is running on multiple credible sources
  • Go to the experts: websites such as Snopes and FactCheck have teams who verify whether popular news stories are true or fake, and locally, we have Factually and AskST to check the truth of Singapore-based information

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Online harassment

Online harassment is online behaviour that goes out of the way to cause trouble for someone by intimidating, threatening, or humiliating them, and can have serious social, psychological, or even physical consequences.

1. What are examples of online harassment?

  • Posting defamatory or derogatory online statements for the purpose of hurting or humiliating a person, such as by targeting their appearance, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability
  • Creating and sharing false information about a person for the purpose of ruining their reputation, such as by making false allegations about a person on social media
  • Sharing personal information about a person online, such as sharing their contact details with lewd comments in a forum or chatroom so that the victim receives unwanted attention from strangers
  • Sending offensive or obscene material, such as explicit messages to a person or their friends
  • Sharing intimate or sexual messages, photos, or videos online without consent, to shame a person
  • Encouraging a vulnerable person to self-harm or commit suicide

2. I am being harassed online. What can I do?

  • Report the harasser to the social media site or mobile service: if they find a different platform from which to approach you, or use a different number, continue to report them
  • Keep all information providing evidence of the harassment: take screenshots as the service provider might remove flagged content and the harasser might delete the evidence
  • Do not respond to the harasser
  • Create safe spaces for yourself: if possible, try to have physical spaces or times of the day where you can distance yourself from digital devices and create a space where you will not face harassment, for example, not using your devices at night
  • Talk to someone you trust: tell your partner, a friend, or a counsellor about what is happening
  • Create a support system: tell friends and family members who can support you online and make you feel safe in your daily life
  • Contact the authorities: consider involving law enforcement or a lawyer. Most forms of severe online harassment are illegal in Singapore under the Protection from Harassment Act, and if you have been sexually harassed, you can contact the Sexual Assault Care Centre

3. There is a threat to my safety.

  • Call the local police if you feel:
    •  There are threats to your safety
    • There are threats to visit you, your family members, or friends

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Personal information

Personal information is anything that can be used to identify you in real life.

1. What are examples of personal information?

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Photos
  • Date of birth
  • NRIC number
  • School
  • Email address

2. When might I share personal information?

There are several activities online which require some disclosure of your personal information, including:

  • Registering: signing up for sites often requires a name and email address, but you may sometimes be asked for your gender, date of birth, and more, but a red asterisk (*) often marks out the fields you must enter to register
  • Shopping: sites may ask for further details to verify your identity, process payments, and make deliveries
  • Contests: these often require you to share extensive personal information, including your interests, which are then used by sellers to promote their goods or services

3. What happens if someone has my personal information?

There are many possible consequences of sharing personal information, including:

  • Spam emails
  • Scams
  • Fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Damage to reputation

4. How can I protect my personal information?

  • Only use secure websites when sharing personal, and especially financial, information: look at the URL bar and check that it begins with https:// and has a ‘locked’ padlock symbol on the left, which indicates that your data is encrypted
  • Make sure that the websites are authentic by checking the URL address: there are many fake government websites trying to get your NRIC or passport number, and fake banking websites trying to get your financial information
  • Read user agreements and privacy policies: try not to give your email address to organisations that sell your information so as to prevent spam emails from flooding your inbox
  • Never share your password with anyone
  • Use a different password for each online account, and change them regularly
  • Set a strong password, which are more than 8 characters long, and include numbers, symbols, and both lowercase and uppercase letters. Here is how you can create a strong password:
    •  Think of a sentence with at least 8 words (Jack and Jill went up the hill)
    • Take the first letter of each word (jajwuth)
    • Change some letters to uppercase (JajwUth)
    • Change some letters to symbols (J&jwUth)
    • Add some numbers (J&jwUth2)

5. Someone has used my information. What can I do?

  • If someone has stolen your password, change it on all affected platforms immediately
  • If you are constantly receiving spam emails, try to block the senders of the emails, but if the problem persists, you may have to create a new email address
  • If someone has used your personal information to harm you – such as by stealing your identity, or threatening to visit and harm you or your family – contact the authorities at 999

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Screen time management

Screen time is the amount of time spent on digital devices and media for fun.

1. How much screen time is too much?

There are no hard and fast rules for young people when it comes to screen time, as it varies from person to person. It is important stay aware of how much time you’re spending online, and the impact this has on both your school life – making sure that your grades are not suffering – and your social life – making sure that your relationships with your friends and family are not being impacted. If any of these areas are being affected, then you probably need to cut back on how much time you spend online.

2. What are the effects of too much screen time?

  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Being unable to sleep restfully every night
  • Constantly talking about something from your online life, such as a game or website
  • Thinking that your online activities and friends are more important than anything else
  • Disconnecting from the ‘real world’ and losing touch with your friends and family
  • School work suffering, e.g., constantly being late to school, missing deadlines

This does not mean there are no benefits to having screen time. There are websites, games, and apps that can help you gain literary skills, test your problem-solving skills, and more. However, the key is to find a good balance between your online and offline life and practice good self-control.

 

3. What can I do to reduce my screen time use?

  • Be aware of how much time you spend on your phone: apps like Moment can help you track your online usage – not only might the numbers shock you into cutting down your time online, but the app lets you set daily limits on yourself with notifications if you go over them
  • Keep yourself busy with other activities that do not rely on digital devices, such as active sports, playing a musical instrument, or reading a book (but not on your Kindle!)
  • Have specific times of day where you, and your family members, put down your devices, such as during meal times or for an hour before you go to sleep
  • Talk to your family about having specific times of day where you all put down your devices, such as meal time or during family parties
  • If you game too often, remember the 3-2-1 rule: play games less than 3 times a week, limit your total screen time to less than 2 hours a day, and play games for less than 1 hour a day

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Sexting

Sexting is the creation of sexually explicit content, usually through messages, photos, and videos, which are sent between people.

1. Is sexting illegal?

Since sexting via digital devices is only a recent phenomenon, with online dating apps like Tinder becoming more popular, there are no laws on ‘sexting’ in Singapore at the moment.

However, there are laws that act as a deterrent to stop youth and children from being sexually exploited. For example, the Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA) makes it illegal for anyone to try make children under the age of 16 perform any sexual act. If texts and photos sent to someone under 16 urge them to have sex, the child is protected by the law.

2. Is sexting dangerous?

There are risks to sharing any personal information online, and the same applies to sexting. Recently, several dangers of sexting have become more prominent, such as:

  • Pictures accidentally being viewed by someone else
  • Young people, especially men, circulating the material to ‘show off’
  • Sexts being used as blackmail to coerce young people into other sexual acts
  • Releasing sexts as revenge after a break-up

3. Someone is sharing my personal photos. What can I do?

  • Don’t blame yourself: remember that you have the right to privacy, did not ask or give your consent for the material to be shared, and that it is not your fault
  • Tell someone you trust: being in such a situation is emotionally distressing, so talk about it with a friend, parent, teacher, or counsellor
  • Create safe spaces for yourself: if possible, try to have physical spaces or times of the day where you can distance yourself from digital devices and create a space where you will not face such harassment
  • Save the evidence: if you see your photos anywhere, take screenshots and download the photos or videos for evidence if you later make a complaint
  • Report the material: most sites have the option to report offensive content
  • Go to the authorities: speak to your parents or school counsellor about the involvement of the police or a lawyer