Harassment—from garden-variety name calling to more threatening behavior— is a common part of online life that colors the experiences of many web users. Fully 73% of adult internet users have seen someone be harassed in some way online and 40% have personally experienced it, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
Pew Research asked respondents about six different forms of online harassment. Those who witnessed harassment said they had seen at least one of the following occur to others online:
Internet harassment takes on many incarnations, but the core concept is fairly simple – a person uses online avenues like email, social media, apps and websites to cause emotional distress. Usually, it’s just hateful words, but sometimes it spills over into physical threats or worse.
Harassment is often focused on personal or physical characteristics; political views, gender, physical appearance and race are among the most common
So, how to really tackle & prevent yourself from this unwanted , hateful distress? Here we’re listing some 5 ways to handle & prevent cyber harassment :
5 Steps to Tackle Online Harassment
1. Recognize the situation for what it is: Online harassment.
2. It’s extremely important that you DO NOT respond to this person. Engaging with the bully often only makes matters worse.
3. Make a copy of the message, photo or video.
4. Contact the website operators by phone, email and any contact submission forms that they have available on their site.
5. File a report with your local police department, Cyber Cell of Police (if possible).
After you’ve taken these steps, and depending on the effect the following suggestion may have on your social life, you may want to consider telling your friends and family what’s going on. In most serious cases, it’s better that you let them know what’s happening before they hear it from someone else. When doing this, however, you want to be sure to keep the details private, so it’s a good idea to talk to your friends and family in person versus sharing the details online.
Following the incident, you’ll want to practice being proactive when it comes to your online safety and privacy. One way to do this is to make sure your social networking profiles are set to the maximum level of privacy so that you aren’t unintentionally providing a roadmap for the perpetrator to your whereabouts or the whereabouts of other family members. It’s a good idea to take a break from using social networks and online forums.
5 Steps to Prevent Online Harassment
If you’re not a victim but would like to proactively protect yourself and your family members, I recommend following these five steps in addition to the advice above:
1. Avoid participating on forums or sites that encourage anonymous posts
2. Buy the domains for your and your children’s names.
3. Use Google Alerts. This will facilitate email notifications being sent to you whenever you or your family member’s name appears online.
4. Avoid using any social network or online forum as your online diary.
5. Find and remove your personal information from information-aggregator sites
Finally, recognize that these steps, though helpful, are not entirely fool-proof and can’t guarantee that you or a family member won’t be harassed online. While it’s important to follow these steps, it’s equally important that you establish a dialogue with your children about why it’s never O.K. to harass or bully someone online. The key to ending cyber-harassment and cyber-stalking starts at home, and involves each of us teaching our children how to be kind, responsible digital citizens.
Infographic Source # Pew Research Center, Cnet