A guide on how to stop cyber-bullying

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36981791gh9 This post was written by Tom Wood (you know, the guy who cracked the porn filter last year). Orignally posted on his blog, The Wood Verdict, I have been given permission to repost it here on TECHGEEK.com.au. This content has been edited style-wise, and all (well, most) of the content has been preserved.

Cyber-Bullying affects at least 22% of Aussie kids. It can be 24/7, relentless, compacted by an audience reading it over and over again. But cyber-bullying isn’t the problem. The lack of knowledge on how to prevent and resolve it is. I present that knowledge to you now…

For Kids: Keep in mind, it is never your fault, and sometimes people don’t really mean what they say. Don’t let the emotion of the moment guide your actions, step back, think for a while, work through the steps below to resolve the situation so you can use the computer happily again. Finally, if you see someone else being bullied online, don’t be a silent bystander, but report the abuse yourself (but don’t intervene in the argument!), and you may well save a life.

For Adults: Do not dare overreact or punish a child if they experience cyber-bullying. 78% of kids are worried if they tell an adult; they will be disconnected from the computer, thus prohibiting them from admitting it. Kids also worry that it’ll complicate the situation, by having worried adults adding to the trauma and kids often think adults mightn’t be able to help. So firstly, don’t appear to be bothered (even if you are), and don’t disconnect a child. Let them know this. Let them know they haven’t done anything wrong, and you’ll talk to them about it, and work through the steps below to peacefully resolve the issue so they can use the computer happily again.

For Schools: Make a cyber-safety policy, and endeavour to implement student involved education programs with a cyber-bullying component comprised of something like my guide below. If students are cyber-bullied, during school time or not, you have a duty to intervene, contact the authorities and do whatever necessary to punish the offender and resolve the situation. Also, the words ‘Cyber-Bullying’ have a humorous quality often exploited by teenagers, so use the words ‘Online Harassment’ instead.

To Prevent – Tips:

  • Be extra sensitive about what you say online (what you project may be perceived differently)
  • Don’t incite any bullying, by arguing, flaming or annoying someone
  • Don’t Share Passwords with friends – they fight!
  • Make hard-to-guess secret questions so people can’t get into your accounts
  • Turn on comment moderation to stop offensive comments from ever being published
  • Tell your friends if a joke goes too far
  • Ask them to stop harassing you, and if they don’t, read on…

To Resolve – 5 Steps:

  1. Don’t respond to the bully AT ALL (It will make it worse, trust me;)
  2. Save the evidence, whether it is text, images or websites (Instructions Below)
  3. Block and Delete the bully from the service (Instructions Below)
  4. Report Abuse to the Admins of the service (Instructions Below)
  5. Tell trusted people, which may be friends, adults, teachers, parents and police if necessary – as it is a criminal offence

Saving the evidence:

Make a folder on your computer to save all the evidence in. To save text, highlight it (press Ctrl-A, or Apple-A on Macs to highlight it all), and copy it into a word document. To take a screenshot, (a picture of your computer screen) press the print screen button (above the arrow keys, top right of the keyboard), then go into the start menu, programs, accessories, paint, press Ctrl-V (copy), and click file and save. You can press apple-shift-3 to save a screenshot to the desktop on Macs. To save an image on a webpage right click on it (or control-click on Macs) and select ‘save image’. To save a YouTube video or other online video, visit this website – http://vixy.net/ post the ‘web address’ of the video into the ‘URL’ box, and then click start. It will convert the video into the .avi file type that can play on Windows & Macs, and then let you download the video onto your computer.

Blocking, Deleting and Reporting Abuse to the Administrator.

MSN – Log in, right click on contact in your contact list and select ‘delete’. When the dialogue box pops up, select ‘block’ as well and click ok. Click the ‘help’ menu, and click ‘report abuse’ – Type your name, email in – the bullies email – what type of abuse, and then paste the evidence in the box – they will take appropriate action, possibly delete the offenders account. You should also turn message history on to ensure the evidence is recorded. To do this, click ‘tools’, ‘options’, ‘messages’ and tick the box that says ‘automatically keep a history of my conversations’. If you want to, you can download messenger plus here – link – which has a function of recording your message history with password security.

MySpace – Log in, click ‘view friends’, click ‘edit friends’ – delete the bullies – then visit their profile – and click ‘block user’. Make your profile private by clicking ‘account settings’ and ‘privacy’, then select ‘my friends only’ and click save. Visit the bullies profile, scroll down to the bottom and click ‘report abuse’ and select the type of abuse. Put in your name, email, and list the offending evidence and provide links and click submit.

Facebook – Log in, click ‘friends’, and click ‘remove friend’ to delete the bully. To report abuse, click on the ‘report’ link accompanying most content. If you can’t find that, click ‘help’ down the bottom, click ‘privacy and security’, click ‘security’, and click ‘how do I report abuse’ then click to report it. Provide name and network of the offender, the evidence and provide links and send. For individual wall postings or message there will be a little ‘report abuse’ button on them for you to use.

Bebo – Login, click ‘home’, click ‘friends’, click the cross button on the offender to delete the bully. Now visit the offender’s profile, and click ‘block’ and click ‘report abuse’, then click ‘report abuse only’. Make your profile private by click on ‘profile’, ‘edit profile’ and then untick the box that says ‘make my profile public’.

YouTube – you need an account, to get one visit http://youtube.com/ – and click ‘sign up’ up the top right, and register. Login to your account, when watching any video click the ‘flag’ button, which will give you an option of selecting why you want to report it, and for cases of cyber-bullying, hover over ‘hateful or abusive content’ and click on it, and then click flag. An alert will be sent to the YouTube admins and they will look into it.

Email – Right click on message, click ‘view source’, and copy it into word document. Block the offender address. Notify your ISP, Notify the offenders ISP.

Games – Runescape, click the report abuse button down the bottom right. For others, Google search the games name and report abuse. Eg. Runescape report abuse.

Mobiles – Go into the settings and select block caller – put the bully’s number in. Contact your service provider, report it to them. Contact the offender’s service provider (if known) and report it.

Random websites/forums – Click contact admin button, send them an email or message and most likely they will take action against the bully user. For services/website’s you’re not sure about, try emailing it to abuse@thewebsite.com or admin@thewebsite.com. Eg. For Facebook – abuse@facebook.com

Finally, call your local police if you need more help.

You can find your local police here:

  • New South Wales – link
  • Victoria – link
  • Queensland – link
  • South Australia – link
  • Western Australia – link
  • Tasmania – call 131 444
  • Northern Territory – link
  • Australian Capital Territory – link

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