Tag Archives: Reclaim the Internet

What HR Can Do About Cyberbullying in the Workplace

Last month’s discovery of the body of a 31-year-old firefighter in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park after a near week-long search led to the determination that she had committed suicide and that she had been the victim of cyberbullying—likely by her co-workers—for years.

An investigation into the anonymous online postings, in which the Fairfax County firefighter was called derogatory names, is now underway.

Nicole Mittendorff’s supervisors said they were unaware if her co-workers were bullying her on an online community forum. Her supervisors have not said whether she was bullied in person at work.

Teresa Daniel is the Dean of the Human Resource Leadership Program at Sullivan University in Louisville. “Cyberbullying is bullying behavior in the form of intimidation, threats, humiliation and harassment that takes place through the use of computers, cellphones or other electronic devices,” she said. “The idea to trash people we don’t particularly like is not new, but cellphones, computers and social media make it so much easier to inflict widespread damage through the spread of rumors, outright lies or compromising photos.
It is hard to imagine that working adults operate this way, but with the growing use of technology and social media, the sad reality is that the problem does exist and is only likely to get worse unless American organizations get serious about dealing with the problem at work.

Bully Legislation Pending

Daniel is an advocate of the Healthy Workplace Bill, proposed state legislation which would, among other things, provide “an avenue for legal redress for health-harming cruelty at work; allow people to individually sue bullies; hold employers accountable for bullying and compel employers to prevent and correct future instances of bullying,” according to a website promoting the bill.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center (CRC), 25 states currently have laws against cyberbullying and three have proposed legislation that would make it illegal.

The Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey found that 6.5 million workers said they were affected by bullying in the workplace. Sixty-one percent of respondents said their employer failed to react to abusive conduct. As a result, the bullying stopped once those targeted either quit, were forced out or were fired. Twenty-nine percent reported that they contemplated suicide.

Bullying can lead to more than the loss of a job. People experience neurological changes when they’re bullied at work. Robyn Bartlett is a crisis transition coach and founder and CEO of Life Transition Experts in an interview with SHRM Online. And she and other experts say bullying hurts a business as well. “While I have not yet seen any stand-alone statistics about the costs of adult cyberbullying, bullying in the aggregate results in lost productivity, increased absences, higher turnover and increased medical costs due to the increased stress at work,” Daniel said. “It is a form of psychological violence that can and does seriously damage the health and well-being of affected employees. It can also poison an organization by undermining employee morale and by eroding any sense of loyalty, trust or teamwork.

In 2008, the American Psychological Association estimated that U.S. businesses lose a staggering $300 billion per year due to incidences of workplace bullying, Daniel added. More recently, the Harvard School of Public Health reported that one-third of American workers suffer from chronic stress and estimated that the number of workdays lost to mental-health-related absences adds up to $27 billion each year. “Either way you look at it, it’s a big number that is impacting U.S. businesses negatively—and on a significant scale,” Daniel said.

What Can HR Do?

Experts say there is no one approach to ending or preventing cyberbullying. The most promising strategies generally fall into four major categories:

  1. Changes to the organization and its culture.
  2. Strategies to help strengthen individual managers and leaders.
  3. Support services for the targets of bullying.
  4. Accountability measures to coach, counsel and discipline bullies.

HR is usually the first point of contact for a complaint of bullying, and it is important for HR to help targets strategize about how to handle the bully’s negative behavior and guide them to available resources,” Daniel said. Employees “need clear policies about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior,” Bartlett added. “Educate and train staff and upper management,” about bullying and cyberbullying.

And when there is a bullying issue in the workplace: “In addition to taking steps to investigate and resolve the problem, [offer the person who is the target of the bullying] help with coping and stress management strategies; support via the company’s employee assistance program; and access to counseling, coaching and employee benefits,” Daniel said.

As for the bully, it’s important for HR and the employee’s manager to intervene early. “With the help of an experienced coach, the research evidence suggests that is possible for abrasive [individuals] to overcome their personal limitations or blind spots—if they are personally willing to accept the fact that they need to change. However, when coaching and confronting the bully fail to change that person’s behavior, it is critical for the organization to ensure that the bully is held accountable for his or her misconduct and disciplined according to the organization’s policies,” Daniel said.

That may include termination.

To help prevent these situations from occurring, “Be proactive and ensure that there are clear policies in place to protect employees from bullying. But most importantly, if an employee comes to you with a complaint, listen carefully, take it seriously, and investigate the situation quickly and thoroughly,” Daniel said.

Further Information

Based on a news release from the Society for Human Resource Management.

To ‘Friend’ or Not to ‘Friend’?

For HR professionals, “friending” employees on Facebook or connecting on other social media sites is far from a simple decision.

I posted the question “Do any of you accept friend requests on social media from employees?” to the HR Department of One group on SHRM Connect, the Society for Human Resource Management’s online community.

I was prompted to pose the question by the recent friend requests I was getting from employees at the company I work for. I’ve been building good rapport with many of them, and now they’ve been requesting me on Facebook. My gut told me it was not a good idea to accept their friend requests, but I wanted insight from fellow HR professionals.

Others said it’s better to invite those employees to connect on LinkedIn instead because that platform is more professional. Concerns about connecting on Facebook—and retaining those connections after a promotion—ranged from finding out too much information about employees to being accused of favoritism or impropriety.

Most people who commented recommended against accepting a friend request from an employee, and employment attorneys generally agree. That’s because people tend to share very personal details about themselves and others on social media, and what you see may create conflict. For example, one person wrote that an employee who was supposed to be teleworking had posted on Facebook that they were actually partying in Las Vegas.

I will not be friending the employees who requested me, and will take the advice of those who responded to my question of communicating why I will be rejecting their friend requests.

Further Information

This article is based on a news release from the Society for Human Resource Management on behalf of Chelsea Wheeler.

Don’t knock clicktivism: it represents the political participation aspirations of the modern citizen

How do we define political participation? What does it mean to say an action is ‘political’? Is an action only ‘political’ if it takes place in the mainstream political arena; involving government, politicians or voting? Or is political participation something that we find in the most unassuming of places, in sports, home and work? This question, ‘what is politics’ is one that political scientists seem to have a lot of trouble dealing with, and with good reason.

If we use an arena definition of politics, then we marginalise the politics of the everyday; the forms of participation and expression that develop between the cracks, through need and ingenuity. However, if we broaden our approach as so to adopt what is usually termed a process definition, then everything can become political. The problem here is that saying that everything is political is akin to saying nothing is political, and that doesn’t help anyone.

Over the years, this debate has plodded steadily along, with scholars on both ends of the spectrum fighting furiously to establish a working understanding. Then, the Internet came along and drew up new battle lines. The Internet is at its best when it provides a home for the disenfranchised, an environment where like-minded individuals can wipe free the dust of societal disassociation and connect and share content. However, the Internet brought with it a shift in power, particularly in how individuals conceptualised society and their role within it. The Internet, in addition to this role, provided a plethora of new and customisable modes of political participation. From the onset, a lot of these new forms of engagement were extensions of existing forms, broadening the everyday citizen’s participatory repertoire. There was a move from voting to e-voting, petitions to e-petitions, face-to-face communities to online communities; the Internet took what was already there and streamlined it, removing those pesky elements of time, space and identity.

Yet, as the Internet continues to develop, and we move into the ultra-heightened communicative landscape of the social web, new and unique forms of political participation take root, drawing upon those customisable environments and organic cyber migrations. The most prominent of these is clicktivism, sometimes also, unfairly, referred to as slacktivism. Clicktivism takes the fundamental features of browsing culture and turns them into a means of political expression. Quite simply, clicktivism refers to the simplification of online participatory processes: one-click online petitions, content sharing, social buttons (e.g. Facebook’s ‘Like’ button) etc.

For the most part, clicktivism is seen in derogatory terms, with the idea that the streamlining of online processes has created a societal disposition towards feel-good, ‘easy’ activism. From this perspective, clicktivism is a lazy or overly-convenient alternative to the effort and legitimacy of traditional engagement. Here, individuals engaging in clicktivism may derive some sense of moral gratification from their actions, but clicktivism’s capacity to incite genuine political change is severely limited. Some would go so far as to say that clicktivism has a negative impact on democratic systems, as it undermines an individual’s desire and need to participate in traditional forms of engagement; those established modes which mainstream political scholars understand as the backbone of a healthy, functioning democracy.

This idea that clicktivism isn’t ‘legitimate’ activism is fuelled by a general lack of understanding about what clicktivism actually involves. As a recent development in observed political action, clicktivism has received its fair share of attention in the political participation literature. However, for the most part, this literature has done a poor job of actually defining clicktivism. As such, clicktivism is not so much a contested notion, as an ill-defined one. The extant work continues to describe clicktivism in broad terms, failing to effectively establish what it does, and does not, involve. Indeed, as highlighted, the mainstream political participation literature saw clicktivism not as a specific form of online action, but rather as a limited and unimportant mode of online engagement.

However, to disregard emerging forms of engagement such as clicktivism because they are at odds with long-held notions of what constitutes meaningful ‘political’ engagement is a misguided and dangerous road to travel. Here, it is important that we acknowledge that a political act, even if it requires limited effort, has relevance for the individual, and, as such, carries worth. And this is where we see clicktivism challenging these traditional notions of political participation. To date, we have looked at clicktivism through an outdated lens; an approach rooted in traditional notions of democracy. However, the Internet has fundamentally changed how people understand politics, and, consequently, it is forcing us to broaden our understanding of the ‘political’, and of what constitutes political participation.

The Internet, in no small part, has created a more reflexive political citizen, one who has been given the tools to express dissatisfaction throughout all facets of their life, not just those tied to the political arena. Collective action underpinned by a developed ideology has been replaced by project orientated identities and connective action. Here, an individual’s desire to engage does not derive from the collective action frames of political parties, but rather from the individual’s self-evaluation of a project’s worth and their personal action frames.

Simply put, people now pick and choose what projects they participate in and feel little generalised commitment to continued involvement. And it is clicktivism which is leading the vanguard here. Clicktivism, as an impulsive, non-committed online political gesture, which can be easily replicated and that does not require any specialised knowledge, is shaped by, and reinforces, this change. It affords the project-oriented individual an efficient means of political participation, without the hassles involved with traditional engagement.

This is not to say, however, that clicktivism serves the same functions as traditional forms. Indeed, much more work is needed to understand the impact and effect that clicktivist techniques can have on social movements and political issues. However, and this is the most important point, clicktivism is forcing us to reconsider what we define as political participation. It does not overtly engage with the political arena, but provides avenues through which to do so. It does not incite genuine political change, but it makes people feel as if they are contributing. It does not politicise issues, but it fuels discursive practices. It may not function in the same way as traditional forms of engagement, but it represents the political participation aspirations of the modern citizen. Clicktivism has been bridging the dualism between the traditional and contemporary forms of political participation, and in its place establishing a participatory duality.

Clicktivism, and similar contemporary forms of engagement, are challenging how we understand political participation, and to ignore them because of what they don’t embody, rather than what they do, is to move forward with eyes closed.

More information

Democratic Audit UK is a democratic rights organization operating in UK and overseas, made up of a consortium of scholars, lawyers and others. Their website is: http://www.democraticaudit.com/

Combating Cyberbullying

How should teachers tackle the pernicious problem of cyberbullying? In this program, we’ll be providing you with ideas to raise awareness of the issues and dangers in both primary and secondary school. Including examples of how you can use the curriculum to confront the threats posed by cyberbullying. We’ll also be taking an overview where teachers and schools can find help to deal with the problem. The program’s being filmed at two schools which have developed internet safety policies with support from the organizations Childnet and Beatbullying. A third of all 11-18 year old in the UK have been victims of cyberbullying. Beatbullying Survey, 2009

NARRATOR A courtroom drama is about to unfold in this PSHE lesson. The accused admits that she filmed a friend dancing at a party and posted the images online. The court must decide if she’s also guilty of being a cyberbully. It’s a completely fictional scenario that has been created by the pupils themselves. After being asked to consider different forms of cyberbullying.

Rosyln Hawley So can we have some ideas, then?

UNKNOWN We could try somebody for sending rude text messages.

Rosyln Hawley Rude text messages, that’s a good one.

UNKNOWN Um, bullying on chat rooms?

Rosyln Hawley Bullying on chat rooms, yes.

UNKNOWN Posting a video on an online video library.

Rosyln Hawley ICT Teacher

Rosyln Hawley An online video library, that’s a really good one isn’t it, because we’re gonna have a massive audience. So should we focus on that one? Right, I think the next thing we need to do is allocate our roles, so we’ll all sit ’round this table here, getting them to move around in a room is good for a start, secondly if they’re all sitting together around a table, and they’re actually, um, thinking about issues, and they’re bouncing off one another, they’re generating ideas, and it’s sort of scaffolding and learning.

UNKNOWN What about, um, the prosecutioner?

UNKNOWN She gave no consent to put, to be put on the website. And, it isn’t a joke to her, because she got picked on for what was posted.

Rosyln Hawley We try to deliver lessons in sort of engaging ways, and to get them to think about it and to talk about it, to-, to do some personal thinking, and learning, um, and we feel that this is a very good way of, of helping them to do that, really.

UNKNOWN Your charges are that you put an inappropriate video on an online video library of your friend, Sophie, how do you plead?

UNKNOWN Not guilty.

UNKNOWN Good afternoon your honors. My client, Sophie, was a victim of her friend’s silly behavior. It wasn’t a joke at all, it was just mean on her, and she got picked on after school. Can I call my first witness please? Did she know she was gonna go online? Did she know that everybody in the whole world could see her dancing?

UNKNOWN Well I think she saw the camera, but I don’t think it was a joke. It was mean what she did.

UNKNOWN Can the defense present their case now?

UNKNOWN It’s ridiculous as being labeled a cyberbullying, it was a simple joke. I’d like to call in a witness. Would you like to tell us how you came across the video?

UNKNOWN Well, I saw it on the web, and it was like the top one there, it was really funny.

UNKNOWN So, you found it funny, you could see that this was a joke?

UNKNOWN Well, yeah, it looked like it from what I saw.

UNKNOWN Would you like to have been my client? Would you like to have been laughed at? Would you like to be on the, um, on the online library?

UNKNOWN Actually, if I was that person, I wouldn’t really like that, but, it was funny.

UNKNOWN No more questions.

NARRATOR Although this decision is being made by pupil magistrates, a judge and jury could be appointed in larger classes.

UNKNOWN I think she’s guilty. I mean it’s not gonna harm her is it, because she’s just taking a video? She’s not the one being bullied about it.

UNKNOWN I agree with you.


UNKNOWN We have come to our decision, and we find you guilty.

One in 5 of 10 and 11 year-olds say they have been subjected to taunts, threats and insults via the internet and mobile phones Anti-Bullying Alliance Survey, 2009


Curriculum Integration

NARRATOR Schools are being encouraged to highlight issues surrounding cyberbullying in subject across the curriculum. Rather than relying only on opportunities presented by PSHE or citizenship. In this ICT lesson, pupils are being taught how to create storyboards using stories about cyberbullying.

Karen Shaw Head of Business Education

Karen Shaw The IT they’re using is to create a storyboard using a word document, creating text boxes to combine pictures and text about the story they’re telling. IT is a very good way of getting cyberbullying message across, because they can actually show visually how cyberbullying happens, and they can talk about and explore ways it can be resolved. Tell us your story!

UNKNOWN A little boy from San Francisco has, um, had a lot of question in his class, he’s got, he’s gettin’ bullied on a mess of text messages.

Karen Shaw So, you know we’re doing cyberbullying. You know we’re using drama as a means, so we’re gonna create these improvisations.

NARRATOR In drama, meanwhile, pupils are being asked to act out the impact of cyberbullying. It makes them think about the issues. And it helps them stretch their performance skills.

UNKNOWN Why’d you put this picture of me on Facebook?

UNKNOWN What pictures?

UNKNOWN You know what I’m on about.

UNKNOWN No, I don’t.

Claire Parsloe Drama Teacher

Claire Parsloe Oh it’s great as a drama teacher, because we want them to find other techniques to show cyberbullying. There’s a group who came up with an idea of, this person who’s at home in their own room where they’re meant to feel safe, is actually feeling trapped. And haunted by these messages that keep popping up on his social sites.

UNKNOWN You have no idea who’s sending them?

UNKNOWN No, I don’t know what to do.

UNKNOWN Better sleep with one eye open, eh?

UNKNOWN I don’t know what I’ve done to them.

Claire Parsloe They’ve come up with some powerful pieces of drama. Watching them, I actually felt really that my stomach had sunk, and it was a horrible situation. Because that’s exactly what they were meant to recreate. Because that’s exactly how it feels.

UNKNOWN I wish there was somebody I could tell.


Almost 60% of young people have not considered that what they put online now could still be accessed years to come. Information Commissioner’s Office 2007


NARRATOR This primary class is focusing on the different forms and effects of cyberbullying using role-play.

Danielle Derrick I’ll give you each a scenario, and I want you to spend just a few minutes discussing your role-play idea.

NARRATOR Here the teacher guides the pupils to particular areas of concern, but then leaves them to think for themselves.

UNKNOWN And we could put up mean and nasty pictures of her, maybe edited once, make her look even worse.

UNKNOWN Someone walks home, and then they keep gettin’ prank calls, and the first time someone’s giggling-

UNKNOWN And the next time it could be silent.

UNKNOWN So we’ll start off laughin’ at the phone because it’s a picture.

UNKNOWN Cuz-, cuz we’re bein’ nasty, and, yeah.

Danielle Derrick Year 6 Teacher

Danielle Derrick Drama is really effective because it engages the children, it’s a really creative way from learnin’. They’ve involved, they’ve all involved with their, they have great ideas, and it just gives them that that insight into cyberbullying. Okay, group two, could you show us your role-play please?

UNKNOWN Hey, we should prank call those girls over there.

UNKNOWN Hello? Hello?

Danielle Derrick If it were to happen to them, they would know what to do, who to tell, and what forms the cyberbullying could take place.

UNKNOWN I’m going to get you.

UNKNOWN They’re coming to get us? What are we going to do?

NARRATOR It’s also suggested that role-plays could be developed into presentations for the whole school, and also for parents.

UNKNOWN Look, you’ve got a message.

UNKNOWN Oh yeah, so I have.

UNKNOWN What does it say?

UNKNOWN I’m watching you, be very afraid. We should-, we should report this straight away.

Danielle Derrick It may appear at first as though it’s a joke, or it’s not harmin’ them in any way, but actually, you know, that mental impact, you know, it really can affect children.

Nearly a quarter of young people have been sent a video clip or image of some else being bullied. Beatbullying Survey, 2009


Cyber Charters

NARRATOR Cyber charters are a way of encouraging pupils of any age to think through how they use online and text communication. It’s an approach that’s especially useful for highlighting the importance of privacy, and the dangers of inadvertent cyberbullying. The lesson involves class and group discussion.

Ruth Wright You’ll notice that you’ve got a sheet on your table, and there’s two questions on that sheet. The first question says when you’re using ICT to communicate with others, what are your rights? And the other one says what are your responsibilities?

UNKNOWN I think it’s like one of our rights to like, have, to like be safe and to feel safe and comfortable on the internet.

Ruth Wright Are there any responsibilities you can think of?

UNKNOWN I, to make sure that we don’t put any photos of ourself.

UNKNOWN Tell your parents what’s goin’ on on the web.

Ruth Wright Year 6 Teacher

Ruth Wright Yes, that’s right, it’s your responsibility to tell your parents what you’re using online, that’s right, well done. We’re thinking about how they-, they could be exposed to cyberbullying, um, but also how they might end up being part of cyberbullying by passing on other thi-, other information.

UNKNOWN If you respect other people, and their property, so like their pictures, like don’t send them to other people so it gets all around.

NARRATOR The groups feedback their ideas for the class charter.

Ruth Wright What are our rights? What do you think Skyanne?

Skyanne It’s our right to be safe on the internet.

Ruth Wright Let’s put that down.

UNKNOWN To not be forced to do anything you don’t want to do.

UNKNOWN How our parents have a right to know what’s going on.

Ruth Wright Now I want you to start thinking about what your responsibilities are.

UNKNOWN Keep your personal details locked up and to never give anybody any.

UNKNOWN It’s your responsibility to tell an adult and, um, see if they can sort it out.

Ruth Wright I think it’s a good way to um, get the children really thinking about it, and without doing the focus lesson, they don’t really have those kinds of opportunities for discussion. Um, and sharing their ideas with other children.

NARRATOR Charters could also form the basis of a cyber contract, which is signed by every pupil.


More than a fifth of 10 and 11 year-olds said they did not know how to protect themselves against cyberbullying. Beatbullying Survey, 2008

Beatbullying Childnet International

Finding Support

NARRATOR Support for schools and teachers is readily available from groups such as Beatbullying and Childnet. We asked Childnet’s education manager to highlight some of the action that can be taken to protect children from cyberbullying.

Ellen Furguson Education Manager, Childnet International

Ellen Furguson In terms of resources that teachers can use, um, there is safe to learn that goes into cyberbullying in great detail. Um, what schools can do to prevent cyberbullying, the law that relates to it, and how they can prevent cyberbullying as well. I highly recommend and encouraging your pupils to become a little bit more technical explore the safety features that are available on their favorite services. On the Childnet kid smart website, we’ve got a skill school, where pupils, adults, uh parents or teachers can skill themselves up. They can learn how to block people on MSN, they can also check their privacy settings on social networking sites, so they’re not allowing anonymous people onto their accounts. I’d also really encourage teachers to let their pupils know about the click-clever, click-safe code, which is zip it, block it, flag it. First think that I teach anyone to do if a child is reported bullying via a mobile phone is to tell them they’ve done the right thing, in reporting to them in the first instance. Um, secondly, um, teachers need to be aware of any policies in place in school if they need to, for example, contact the child protection officer. Um, but what we need to make sure that children do if they’re being bullied via mobile phone is to keep hold of the evidence. Um, you know, so they’ve got a record of what’s been happening so that they’re able to show somebody exactly what’s goin’ on. And of course, you know, perhaps uh, a teacher might recommend a child report through to the their, um, their network provider.

NARRATOR Bradon Forest School has been awarded top marks for e-safety after reviewing its policies for an online system designed by the Southwest Group for Learning.

David Wright Head of ICT

David Wright It’s called 360 safe, and what it’s enabled us to do is to really check all the work that we’ve been doing across the board, with our youngsters, with our parents, with our teachers. Really fit the bill. For example, the policy section makes sure that you’ve got a policy that has been developed with a whole school ownership in mind, so everyone is involved.


NARRATOR You can find more resources via the teachers TV website, including dramatizations that you could use as lesson starters in both secondary and primary schools.


With thanks to the staff and pupils of Bradon Forest School, Purton St Mary’s C of E Primary School, Purton Music Audio Network Cameraman Steve Saunderson Editor Bernard Pearson Dubbing Mixer Matt Morris Production Secretary Pardeep Johal Assistant Producer Greg Giani Production Manager Tonia Solly Unit Manager Helen Jenks

Executive Producer Jonnie Turpie Produced & Directed by Andrew Fox on ALLMEDIA company A MAVEREX TELEVISION PRODUCTION FOR TEACHERS TV Copyright TEACHERS TV MMX

NARRATOR Charters could also form the basis of a cyber contract, which is signed by every pupil.


More than a fifth of 10 and 11 year-olds said they did not know how to protect themselves against cyberbullying. Beatbullying Survey, 2008

Beatbullying Childnet International

Finding Support

NARRATOR Support for schools and teachers is readily available from groups such as Beatbullying and Childnet. We asked Childnet’s education manager to highlight some of the action that can be taken to protect children from cyberbullying.

Ellen Furguson Education Manager, Childnet International

Retweeting Flames – Do celebrities make trollers ‘chewtoys’?

There is some little known fact about Twitter – that is that it is difficult for people to see what someone has tweeted you if it is a direct post unless you retweet it (i.e. share it with your followers). It is sometimes possible, however, to see it in context if someone has responded to one of your tweets.

The word, ‘chewtoy’, means to most people, a toy that they give to their pet dog to, well, chew! This is of course true, but online there is a different meaning. Online a chewtoy is a person who has been chosen by another to be the target of a flame-war (a long series of abusive messages).

Celebrities, who complain of being flame trolled on Twitter, are all too often to blame, because they retweet an abusive post meaning the person who posts it becomes a chewtoy. Their mistake is that there are people who might support the user who they have set up for abuse, and they will then become the target of more abuse. I discussed this with Heather Scott as you can see in the video below.

The most notable example of retweeting and creating a flamewar was with Tom Daley (@TomDaley1995), the Olympic diver who failed to get a medal at one of his early diving contests. He has a tweet sent to him by Reece Messer (@Rileyy_69) telling him he let his father down by failing to win a medal.

Daley retweeted this, which led to further abuse against him and Messer. In one instance a Welsh sports personality allegedly made a homophobic reference to him. All of this could have been avoided if Daley had not retweeted the message from Messer to his over 1 million followers.

I have been targeted as a chewtoy on Twitter, by no less than Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais). Having a lot of experience of trolling I was able to have fun fending off the people who targeted me. I actually found  Twitter to be a better platform for being embroiled in a flame war. This is because with the ‘interaction’ tab means you can easily see the responses directly to you, meaning you can prioritise which to respond to, and when things have calmed down, you can still respond to those you left out. Not responding to people who troll you, like Tom Daley did when Messer tried to apologise, can in fact make the situation worse. In fact, by Daley not accepting Messer’s apology, made Messer resentful and then he posted a non-credible threat to drown him.

Should it therefore be the case that as with defamation, where someone has no claim if they contributed to the distribution of a message about them they said was unlawful by retweeting it? In other words, should someone have a defence from flame trolling if the other person started a flame-war from reposting their original message, thus making them a ‘chewtoy’ open to abuse?

Can We Blame Facebook? – Has Social Media Made Us All Online Jerks?

It’s no surprise that the social networking world can be a mean and spiteful place, just like how any large gathering of people can turn out that way.

There are vain and shallow people. Also some very dumb people, who love to revel in their reckless ignorance. For every funny status update or tweet, there are just as many if not more condemnations. For every kind comment, there’s at least one smart ass insult. For every wise kernel of wisdom, there’s a braggart boasting about their day. So are the various social networks to blame? Did they make us more shallow, vain, impatient, and judgmental?

Stone Age Jerks

Social networking is like the new elementary school recess, and because of that I think of cyber-bullying. It can ruin reputations, divide social groups, and even lead to depression or worse. Because it can be done anonymously and asynchronously, it can be done by anyone at anytime. It’s a terrible thing.

But it’s not new. Bullying has existed in “real life” long before computers were ever in households. Having access to a victim on Facebook though has admittedly made the act of bullying far easier.

Gossip has existed as long as there’s been scandalous rumor to spread. What took hours by word of mouth to spread now only takes minutes, even seconds, by reading someone’s status update and sharing it.

Vanity has always been with us, but before we took photos of ourselves and posted them for everyone to see we just admired ourselves in the mirror.

Our bad sides have always been there. The development of online social networking hasn’t changed any of that behavior at their core, because before we had online technologies we “social networked” amongst ourselves in person, and to all the same detriments. All Facebook and Twitter did were make things easier and faster to spread. And because anything online can gain exposure so much faster than in person, anything for good or bad gets that same rapid limelight.

Don’t Feed The Trolls

But what about trolling? The anonymity of the Web is purported to have encouraged more of this obnoxious and annoying behavior and heckling. So has it?

Well, being able to troll with impunity definitely gives an incentive, because who likes to get caught? But considering that trolling has not abated with the advent of social networking, which sought to de-anonymize the Web by having us use our real identities, perhaps such is not the case. People troll because they can, jerks will act like jerks because they are jerks. And since trolling has continued even after the protective shade of secrecy has been removed, impunity cannot be the sole cause of this malicious behavior.

Political enemies and pundits used to insult each other all the time through published pamphlets and treatises, usually written under pseudonyms. Sound familiar? At least back then it took a few weeks for the papers to go to press and then get distributed. Online, it takes but an instant click.

So has the Web made us, as a people, worse off? I beg to differ; all it has done is give our worst aspects a quicker venue with an even bigger audience. It’s like adding fuel to the flames. But inside they were always there, that fire was always burning inside.

Social networking, like all technology from cars to guns to hammers, is inherently neutral. It is a tool. What determines the “ethics” of the tool are the ethics, or lack thereof, in the wielder.

More information

What’s your opinion? Do you think social networks, or even the Web itself, have fanned our flames for the worst? What are your thoughts on the matter? Comment on my blog and add your voice to the discussion: http://corsairmediaservices.com/index.php/blog. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Vince_Ginsburg

10 Most Used Cyber Bullying Tactics

Cyber bullying is a term used to define recurrent and sustained verbal and/or physical attacks by one or more children towards another child who is unable or unwilling to diffuse the engagement using information and communication technology. Like classic bullying, cyber bullying is harmful, repeated and hostile behavior intended to deprecate and disparage a targeted child.

Bullying used to be confined to schools, neighborhoods or some small geographic location that the bullied child could leave and seek respite. With cyber bullying, the target child has no escape from the taunting and harassment afforded by the internet and mobile digital technology. Given the variety of methodologies cyber bullies use, which continues to expand, provided below are the ten most common.

1. Exclusion

Exclusion is a cyber bullying tactic that is highly effective and indirectly sends a provocative message to the victim child without the need for actual verbal deprecation. As its well-known children and teens are developmentally fixated on being recognized by their peers, the process of designating who is a member of the peer group and who is not included can be devastating to the child.

2. Flaming

Flaming is a term describing an online passionate argument that frequently includes profane or vulgar language, that typically occurs in public communication environments for peer bystanders to witness including discussion boards and groups, chat rooms and newsgroups. Flaming may have features of a normal message, but its intent if designed differently.

3. Outing

Outing is a term that includes the public display, posting, or forwarding of personal communication or images by the cyber bully personal to the target child. Outing becomes even more detrimental to the child when the communications posted and displayed publicly contains sensitive personal information or images that are sexual in nature.

4. E-mail Threats and Dissemination

E-mail Threats and Dissemination is a cyber bully tactic used to inspire fear in the victim child and then informing other members in the peer group of the alleged threat. The cyber bully sends a threatening e-mail to the target child and then forwards or copy & pastes the threatening message to others of the implied threat.

5. Harassment

Harassment is sending hurtful messages to the victim child that is worded in a severe, persistent or pervasive manner causing the respondent undue concern. These threatening messages are hurtful, frequent and very serious. Although sending constant and endless hurtful and insulting messages to someone may be included in cyber stalking, the implied threats in harassment does not lead the child to believe the potential exists the bully may actually be engaged in offline stalking of the target child.

6. Phishing

Phishing is a tactic that requires tricking, persuading or manipulating the target child into revealing personal and/or financial information about themselves and/or their loved ones. Once the cyber bully acquires this information, they begin to use the information to access their profiles if it may be the target child’s password, purchasing unauthorized items with the child’s or parents credit cards.

7. Impersonation

Impersonation or “imping” as a tactic can only occur with the “veil of anonymity” offered by digital technology. Cyber bullies impersonate the target child and make unpopular online comments on social networking sites and in chat rooms. Using impersonation, cyber bullies set up websites that include vitriolic information leading to the victim child being ostracized or victimized in more classic bullying ways.

8. Denigration

Denigration is used in both classic and cyber bullying. Denigration is a term used to describe when bullies send, post or publish cruel rumors, gossip and untrue statements about a child to intentionally damage their reputation or friendships. Also known as “dissing,” this method is a common element and layer involved in most all of the cyber bullying tactics listed.

9. E-mail and Cell Phone Image Dissemination

Not only a tactic used in cyber bullying, but a form of information exchange that can be a criminal act if the images are pornographic or graphic enough depicting under aged children. Children can receive images directly on their phones and then send them to everyone in their address books. Of all cyber bullying methods, this tactic, which serves to embarrass a victim child, can lead to serious criminal charges.

10. Images and Videos

Briefly described in Happy Slapping, the usage of images and video recording has become a growing concern that many communities, law enforcement agencies and schools are taking seriously. Due in part to the prevalence and accessibility of camera cell phones, photographs and videos of unsuspecting victims, taken in bathrooms, locker rooms or in other compromising situations, are being distributed electronically. Some images and videos are emailed to peers, while others are published on video sites.

More information

This article was written by Dr Michael Nuccitelli, whose entry in the Who’s Who of Internet Trolling can be found at this link. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6820469

How Schools and Parents can help to stop Cyberbullying

Gone are the days when bullying was limited to just part of being a kid. In today’s world, kids and teenagers use various technological forms to bully each other including social media sites, text messages, online communities and other multimedia tools to bully their fellow classmates. This is often referred to as cyberbullying. Parents, Teachers, Principals and other school professionals are completely aware of traditional bullying on the playground and classroom and may take serious steps to intervene, but often what goes on in cyberspace is much harder to monitor, leaving children alone to deal with a cyberbully’s online taunts.

Bring Awareness

First and foremost steps that can bring a stop to Byberbullying are to spread awareness among students and parents. Make sure to set time aside for a special discussion in the classroom and during parent teacher meetings to raise awareness and discourage cyberbullying. You should also mention that the pain of cyber bullying is real, and focus on early intervention and the risks of cyberbullying. These steps not only spread awareness, but also stop students from cyber bullying others and help start a discussion about the cyber bullying problems they are facing.

Use Internet monitoring software to monitor online activities

Since neither the parents nor teachers can stay with a child 24/7, the best way to ensure a child is safe online is to use Internet monitoring software to monitor their online activities, reputation, and safety. Parents and teachers both can use such software like safetyweb to keep an eye on a child’s online activities. These software tools help keep track of what the kids are saying and what’s being said about them on the World Wide Web, it can also help alert parents and teachers to possible cyberbullying.

Have a School Counselor on Campus

Whether a young child or a teenager, students often hesitate to discuss the cyber bullying problems they are facing with their teachers or parents. Having a qualified counselor on campus to assist the students can prove to be a great help in discussing any problems students are having regarding cyberbullying. Children who have opened up to a counselor about bullying may be more capable of raising the issues with their parents as well.

Provide Interventions and Mediation

If the cyber bullying happens regularly at your school, find a way to provide intervention between the victims and the cyber bullies through a mediator or a counselor. Give each child a chance to share their feelings, discuss how they could repair the relationship, and be sure to discuss why cyberbullying is harmful. Parents should also be informed so they can open a dialog with the child and keep an eye on their online activities.

More information

Joy Maili recommends using Safetyweb to protect kids and teens from Cyberbullying and other online dangers. Safetyweb is a web based Internet monitoring software that automatically monitors a child’s online activities & alerts parents and teachers to any potential threat to the child.