12/15/2008

Cyberbullying

We are living in a world of constant, instant communication - most of which
involves the use of some form of technology. Computers, the Internet, cell
phones and other communications technology and social media are widely used -
at work, home and school. Along with the many positive aspects of these
technologies comes a downside; people who use these communication tools to
repeatedly threaten, harass, maliciously tease, or embarrass an individual or a
group. These actions are known as cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying can involve:

  • Sending or encouraging others to send unsolicited and/or threatening e-mails.

  • Spreading rumours and/or posting insulting or negative comments about someone
    on discussion boards, web pages, weblogs, or other social media outlets.

  • Impersonating the victim online and sending inflammatory or controversial
    messages that reflect negatively on the victim.

  • Harassing the victim during a live chat.

  • Sending the victim pornography or other offensive graphic material.

Tips to prevent cyberbullying

  • Wherever possible use a gender-neutral e-mail address.

  • Create a strong e-mail password with at least seven (7) characters using a
    combination of letters, symbols and numbers - and change it often. Do not share
    your password with anyone and do not use the same password for all your
    computer and website accounts.

  • Do not share personal information in e-mail (even to someone you trust), or
    public spaces anywhere online, including in chat rooms.

  • Do not use "out of office" facilities in your e-mail if you can avoid it. You
    don't want to broadcast that you are away or on vacation.

  • Set up two e-mail accounts; use one for business and another one with a
    different name for use on discussion boards etc. If you start receiving too
    much unwanted mail, you can cancel or change the account.

  • If you want to remain anonymous, DO NOT list your e-mail address on any Web
    pages or give your e-mail address when filling out online forms.

  • To prevent someone from impersonating you or reading your e-mail, use
    encryption (e.g. PGP - Pretty Good Privacy) for person-to-person e-mail. Also,
    don't leave your computer logged in and unattended. Read an FAQ document about
    PGP to learn more.

  • Watch for "red-flags", for example someone asking where you live or where you
    work.

  • Be very cautious about meeting online acquaintances in person. If you choose
    to meet, do so in a public place and take someone along with you.

  • To protect your privacy and search the Internet more securely, use an
    anonymous Web browser. Websites collect all sorts of information about you
    (e.g., what Web browser you used, your Internet Service Provider, IP address,
    and potentially your e-mail address). Anonymous browsers offer varying degrees
    of security; some are free and some are not.

  • Get help and advice regarding your safety and privacy concerns from your
    Internet Service Provider.

  • Make sure your Internet Service Provider, discussion groups and chat networks
    have an Acceptable Use Policy (no harassment permitted) and that the policy is
    enforced by the administrator of the site.


Further Information:


AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety