My business offers me the opportunity to help businesses as well as help families deal with hacking on a more personal level. Internet safety and what to do about it wasn’t something anybody considered with regards to sitting behind a machine, or using something as simple as an IPhone, yet nowadays it isn’t anything anybody is taking for granted. Cyber bullying, one of the biggest online abuses with today’s Internet, is peaking the attention of Internet safety experts and law enforcement agencies.
Bullying someone online is a bit different from what we know as schoolyard bullying, at least in the beginning. What we have to understand is that there is a difference between the traditional bullying, which is often associated with power struggles between the bully and the victim, a dedicated targeting of a victim with ongoing aggression; and online bullying, a form of bullying less obvious than the traditional face-face abuse.
Information from a large-scale University of British Columbia study in 2012 found 95 percent of the youth surveyed said that what happened online was initially meant to be a joke and about five percent was actually meant to harm someone.
What this study is indicating is that children don’t connect online bullying with traditional bullying. This joking, intended or not to be harmful, can spiral out of control. For example, teenagers posting vile messages on a free social networking site AskFM has reportedly linked to several suicides. This case remains before the courts, and what is important here is how does one prevent online bullying and the horrible consequences?
Let’s start at home. An open and honest relationship between parents and children is one of the best ways to protect from these online risks. It sounds easy, but only one in ten children report online abuse to their parents.
Next we can consider the web cam. Often overlooked this camera can be a spy camera in the hands of a clever person. Cam chatting reveals what is in the background from the name of a school on a uniform, or even your teen’s name tag on a sports jersey. By piecing together a few items in the view of the camera, someone posing as a teen, but much older, could learn a few things about your teen. All someone with bad intentions needs is a few pieces of information to start an investigation.
Schedules. Sometimes forgotten in parental supervision are the differences in schedules. While you’re asleep, they text and chat, and this accounts for why your teen may be tired at school. They are texting or chatting between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., while you sleep. That is the best time to take their hand held devices and lock their computers.
It may seem like these methods are intrusive, and they are meant to be that way. The Internet cyber bullies are intruding and it is our job, as parents, to put an end to this.
Terry Cutler is a trained professional in cyber bullying issues and offers training courses, such as Internet Safety for Parents, as well as internet Safety for Kids
- Cyber bulling is at an all time high
- Internet safety experts are concerned
- University of British Columbia (UBC) did a 2012 study showing 95% of youth said that what happened online started as a joke, 5% actually meant harm
- The solution starts at home. Only 1 in 10 children report online abuse to parents.
- Web cams can become spy cams which is an intrusion.
- Scheduling conflict. When you are asleep, teens will stay up and text/chat. Monitoring helps to reduce risk. Blocking all access at certain hours goes a long way to reduce risk.
I’m a government cleared cybersecurity expert (a Certified Ethical Hacker), and the Vice-President of Cyber at SIRCO, an investigations and protections firm in Montréal, Canada.
I’m also a frequent contributor to National & Global media reportage about cyber-crime, spying, security failures, internet scams, and the real social network dangers that families and individuals face every day.
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