Many employees use computers and the Internet to complete their work. Concern is being raised about internet harassment at work, as well as at home and in schools. For more information, please see the following OSH Answers documents: Occupational Bullying Internet abuse or harassment Workplace Violence and Harassment Workplace Violence and Harassment - Domestic (Family) Violence Legislation on Violence and Harassment at Work Dealing with Negative Interactions in the Face of Workplace Violence and Harassment Workplace Violence and Harassment Safety in Parking Lots Workplace Violence and Harassment: Warning Signs Working Late: Violence and Harassment in the Workplace
What are some instances of online bullying or harassment?
The use of the Internet to abuse, harass, threaten, or purposefully disgrace someone is known as internet harassment, sometimes known as ""cyberbullying."" It may involve actions like sending threatening or unsolicited emails. encouraging others to flood the victim with unwanted, threatening, or otherwise distressing emails. sending malware via email (electronic sabotage). circulating rumors. making false internet remarks about the victim. direct transmission of unfavorable messages to the victim. sending an aggressive, contentious, or alluring message online while posing as the victim in order to provoke unpleasant reactions from other people. a live chat harassing the victim. leaving offensive comments on social media platforms. sending purposefully offensive pornographic or other graphic content to the victim. creating internet information that negatively portrays the victim.
What are some recommendations for avoiding online bullying?
Although each circumstance is unique, common measures to help avoid cyberbullying can include: In the office: If you can, choose a gender-neutral email address. Create a password for your email account that is at least twelve (12) characters long, while longer passwords can be acceptable. Make sure that it has a mix of symbols, numerals, and both capital and lowercase letters. The most secure passwords lack any common words and don't make sense. Frequently change your password. Review the company's e-mail signature usage guidelines (the block of text that gets added automatically to the end of an outgoing message). It should contain just enough details about the individual to allow for identification, but not enough to reveal sensitive personal data to email recipients. To improve the security offered to email and internet use, employ encryption, privacy settings, software, or other technological solutions. There will be additional requirements about privacy settings, safety from computer viruses, dangerous malware, etc., so abide by the advice of the Internet technology specialist at your company. Observe any guidelines your company has set forth for Internet communication. With the Internet technology professional at your company, go over Internet privacy and security. Specify only the days of your absence and the people to contact in your ""out of office"" message. Do not announce that you are on vacation or business travel. Don't let your computer run while it's logged in. Other advice: Be cautious when posting. Although you might be able to delete the original post, duplicates that other people have made cannot be deleted. Be on the lookout for ""red-flags,"" such as someone asking where you live or work. If you decide to meet in person, exercise extreme caution, meet at a public location, and bring a friend or business associate. Consider creating two email accounts for personal usage. A formal one for letters and one with a different name for usage in forums, etc. If you start receiving an excessive amount of spam, you should change or cancel your secondary account. If you wish to maintain your anonymity, NEVER put your email address on any Web pages or provide it while filling out forms on Web pages. Use an anonymous web browser if at all possible. Websites gather data regarding users (e.g., what Web browser you used, """"cookies"""", your Internet Service Provider and potentially your e-mail address). Different levels of protection are offered by anonymous browsers; some are free and some are not. With your Internet service provider, go over privacy and security issues. enlist their assistance and counsel. Make that the site administrator is enforcing the Acceptable Use Policy of your Internet Service Provider (ISP), discussion groups, and chat networks (no harassment is authorized). DO NOT Never divulge your password to anyone. Never send personal information over email, not even to someone you know and trust. Never give out personal information to strangers in chat rooms or other public places on the internet. When taking part in discussion groups, refrain from insulting or attacking anyone. Clearly and truthfully convey your position if you disagree with the person.
What should you do if someone sends you harassing emails?
If the individual is a worker at your place of business, you should report the incident(s) in accordance with your company's policies and procedures on workplace bullying, harassment, and violence. If someone is generally pestering you via email: Make it known that you don't want the harasser to contact you again if you know who they are. Block or filter messages from known harassers after you've requested that they stop contacting you, or if you're getting harassing emails from people you don't know. Many e-mail programs have a filter feature that will automatically delete or place e-mails from a particular e-mail address or that contain offensive words into a separate folder. DO NOT reply to unsolicited, harassing or offensive e-mail if the harasser is not known to you. By responding, you confirm that your e-mail address is valid and active. DO NOT open attachments as they may contain viruses. Keep a log of any harassing activity. Save all offending communications for evidence, both electronically and in hard copy (print). Do not edit or alter them in any way. Using your name, conduct a Web search to find out if any information exists about you, so you are at least aware of what information about yourself is publicly available. If the harasser is known to you and harassment continues after you have asked the person to stop, contact the harassers Internet Service Provider (ISP). Most ISP's have clear policies prohibiting the use of their services to abuse another person. Often, an ISP can stop the conduct by direct contact with the harasser or by closing his or her account. The ISP domain name is identified by the information after the @ (e.g. name @ home.com). Most ISPs have an e-mail address such as postmaster @ domain name that can be used for complaints.
What can you do if someone is publicly harassing you (in a discussion group or chat situation)?
In a discussion group: Keep a log of any harassing activity. Save all offending communications for evidence, both electronically and in hard copy (print). DO NOT edit them in any way. Contact the group's administrator and provide evidence of the harassment. If they fail to respond, stop participating in the group (i.e., have your e-mail removed from the group's distribution list). In a live chat situation: Log off. If the situation causes you to fear for your safety or that of others, contact your local police or law enforcement agency. Keep a record of any harassing activity. Save all offending communications for evidence, both electronically and in hard copy (print). DO NOT edit them in any way. Contact the group's administrator and provide evidence of the harassment. If they fail to respond, stop participating in the group.
What should you do if someone is bullying or harassing you through social media sites?
Most applications (“apps”) and social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat) have published guidelines that state what is and is not okay to be posted on their sites. You can find these guidelines by looking for pages on “Terms and Conditions”, or Community Standards/Guidelines. These sites also have a mechanism for reporting abuse of these guidelines. When making a complaint, use the advice provided above about documenting your situation. Include a screenshot of the comment or a copy of the photograph as evidence when you submit your report. If you feel you are in immediate danger, contact the local police or law enforcement agency. As a user, you can also opt to take action, such as: Always think before you post – are these words or this photo something you would want everyone to see? Could your comments elicit a potentially harmful reaction? Use recommended privacy settings provided by the site. Unfriend, hide, block, or mute another user from seeing your profile. Remove tags as necessary on posts or photos, or adjust your privacy settings so that you can review tags before they are published. Keep personal details private, including your address, date of birth, phone number, school, credit card number(s), and passwords. Be aware of the details you're showing in photos, such as address numbers, street names, and work buildings. Turn off location settings that may be embedded in your device when taking photographs. Log out of your accounts when you are not using them, especially when using a public computer or device. Avoid retaliating. Most bullies are looking to get a reaction.
What should you NOT do if being harassed or bullied by e-mail?
DO NOT send or reply to e-mail when you are angry or upset. Wait until you are calm and composed; you do not want to become perceived as the harasser. DO NOT rush into a confrontation. You can risk starting a “flame war” which can rapidly escalate. DO NOT respond to flaming (provocation online). DO NOT engage in any question and answer scenarios that make you feel uncomfortable. (From: Violence in the Workplace Prevention Guide, CCOHS)"""