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To Sam

My number is all over social media- what do I do?

Hi Sam,

For some stupid reason, I keep being added to group chats on Instagram where nobody is nice to eachother (especially towards me.) Someone in the group goes to my school and also has my number. She decided to give it to the ringleader of the group chats. Then she posted it on the group chat and a few minutes later, I got a phone call from an unrecognised number which I rejected. My number is also on a few websites. The ringleader threatened to post my number onto her Instagram page and Snapchat page. Since she threatened to do that, she has done it and I have received 3 calls from numbers with caller id that I don't recognise and one call from a private number which was the ringleader of the group chats. I am really worried that my number will be spread even further and that I will get even more phone calls. Apparently the ringleader also knows my address because she is friends with someone who lives round the corner from me. I am annoyed that the girl from school gave the ringleader my number. I am upset and worried because of all the phone calls. All I want is for the phone calls to be stopped and for my number to be deleted from all social media. What do I do?

Thank you for reading my super long letter (please try and actually reply this time.)

From K

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

It’s really important to be careful about who has personal details like your phone number. Once someone has something like your phone number or home address you can’t take that back. Friends should respect each other and shouldn’t give out hurtful or personal information.

It’s important to keep yourself safe online by not replying to any bullying messages you receive and to keep a screen shot of the messages in a safe place so that you can show someone if you choose to report it.  Keeping safe also includes not answering calls that are from people you don’t know or from withheld numbers.  It can help to stop bullying by following some simple rules like making sure your profile is private so that if anyone wants to follow you or see your contact they have to make a request which you can approve or deny.

It’s always okay to leave chats that are making you feel bad and there might be ways to stop yourself being added to other groups in the future. Most of the different sites and apps have ways to control who can add you as friends and whether you can be invited to groups. This is usually called something like privacy settings.

If someone is harassing you, posting hurtful things online or is sharing naked pictures you can report it to the website where it appears. You can also block someone who is sending you messages or comments that are making you feel uncomfortable, angry or upset. To completely stop people contacting you by phone, you could talk to your phone company and get a new number. This would mean that only people who you trust with your new number like close friends and family would be able to contact you.

And remember, if you want more help and support you can always speak to a Childline counsellor.

Take care for now.

Sam

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