There is a growing trend that has been identified by the UK Safer Internet Centre that is knows as “baiting”. These usually appear on Instagram, but has been picked up on other social media platforms. Typically these pages being used to bully and harass young people. This is done by making the page private, and stating in the bio that people have to send in their pics (of ex boyfriends/girlfriends or any sexting images) to be accepted into the page, that way they obtain more images. They will then post those images with nasty and derogatory comments to accompany them.
The accounts are usually based around a geographical area or even a specific school, for example, “Essex_XXXX_baited” often the name of the accounts contain derogatory terms and highly sexualised insulting language.
There are a number of reasons why this trend is worrying, so when one of these accounts is brought to your attention, here are some simple steps on what to do;
- Report the account to Instagram – this type of behaviour is not permitted on Instagram as it breached their community guidelines. There are some instructions on the Instagram help centre on how to report, just make sure you are reporting for “bullying and harassment” https://help.instagram.com/165828726894770/
- If after leaving a reasonable amount of time the account is still active, please call the Professionals Online Safety Helpline, who can assist with the take down as they have direct reporting routes with Instagram and other social media platforms. You can contact them on 0844 381 47720844 381 4772 or visit www.saferinternet.org.uk/about/helpline
- In very serious cases, it may be that you also have to involve local law enforcement or your schools liaison officer.
- Lastly, monitor the situation so you are aware if the account springs back up.