ADVICE ABOUT CYBERBULLYING/INTERNET SAFETY FROM
MR. CHUCK FAVATA-INTERNET SAFETY EXPERT
If You Are The Victim of a Cyberbully What Can Be Done Now?
Don't reply to messages from cyberbullies -even though you may really want to, this is exactly what cyberbullies want. They want to know that they've got you worried and upset. They are trying to mess with your mind and control you, to put fear into you. Don't give them that pleasure.
Do not keep this to yourself! You are NOT alone and you did NOT do anything to deserve this! Tell an adult you know and trust!
Inform your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or cell phone/pager service provider (see the list of Canadian service providers and their contact information that can be found at on the "Related Resources" page on www.cyberbullying.ca).
Inform your local police
Do not erase or delete messages from cyberbullies -You don't have to read it, but keep it, it is your evidence. You may unfortunately get similar messages again, perhaps from other accounts. The police and your ISP, and/or your telephone company can use these messages to help you. You might notice certain words or phrases that are also used by people you know. These messages may reveal certain clues as to who is doing this to you, but don't try and solve this on your own, remember, tell an adult you know and trust. GET HELP!
Protect yourself -Never arrange to meet with someone you met online unless your parents go with you. If you are meeting them make sure it is in a public place.
You may need to delete your current e-mail accounts, cell phone/pager accounts and set up new ones. I am working with the Canadian Telecommunications Service Providers to support you in making such changes at no cost to you. If your cyberbullying problems persist, I would recommend that you do this as soon as possible, unless you are working with the police and your Telecommunications Provider to keep the account(s) active to try and catch the cyber bully
If you are more technically inclined, you can do a little cyber-sleuthing of your own to provide the police and your Telecommunications Provider with more information, but NEVER try and meet someone personally who you suspect might be the cyber-bully This is best left in the hands of the legal authorities.
If you receive and unsolicited harassing e-mail message from a cyber-bully, you can often use your mouse to right-click on the header of the offending message and choose the "Options" section of the menu. This will often reveal greater details about the message.
You can then look at the root-domain of the sender, which in this case is the fictitious "cyberbully.hurt". You can then go to do a "WHOIS"search with a domain name registration company such as CIRAif the last two letters of the cyberbullies e-mail address end in .ca (this means it is a Canadian domain name and was registered in Canada). If the last letters are something other than .ca, such as .com, .org, .net etc. you can do a "WHOIS" search internationally with Internic.com, This Web site was been established to provide the public information regarding Internet domain name registration services and is updated frequently.
The "WHOIS" search will often provide information as to who owns the domain name, and their contact information. Share this information with your local police and your telecommunications or Internet service provider.
You can also use software to help protect and/or find out who is sending you harassing messages. www.cyberbullying.caDOES NOT OFFICIALLY ENDORSE the products::
- eMailTrackerPro-- allows you to track Internet e-mails back to the IP Address of the sender, with country/region results displayed on a World map. Provides tight hyperlink integration with VisualRoute, allowing full Internet traces on demand.
- McAfee Parental Controls-offers chat filtering protection for both instant messaging and chat rooms. Your child won't be exposed to unsuitable discussion or send personal information inadvertently
- Security Softhas developed a new product - Predator Guard- that scans all text on the computer screen, in any software program (Microsoft Word, Outlook Express, or any IM application), "notices" when that text could be threatening to the user's well-being, and ends the IM or chat session if the user tells it to. The software also captures and logs "violations" - messages that contain language a sexual predator would use - for use as evidence by law enforcement. The product that allows it to do these things: 1) a "library" or database of about 250 terms and phrases typically used by sexual predators or pedophiles (e.g., "Are you home alone?") when they're trying to engage chatroom participants and 2) technology that monitors, detects, and logs that text, checking it against the database.
If you are receiving harassing messages from cyber bullies through Web-based mail services like Hotmail, Yahoo Mail etc., it becomes very difficult to trace such accounts as email@example.com. You may have to delete your current e-mail account and start a new one. Tell only a select few people you trust about your new e-mail account when, and if you choose to reestablish one.
If you are receiving harassing messages from cyber bullies through Instant Messaging (IM) software such as ICQ, MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger etc. such programs usually have a "Block", "Ignore" or "Ban" feature. Use this feature to try and "Block", "Ignore or "Ban" the cyber bullies
If you are the victim of a cyber bully who has set up and Web site that is defaming, or mocking you, contact the Internet Service Provider and inform them about what is happening, also inform the police. Use the "WHOIS" search tool to help you in the manner describe above.
If this is a large Web hosting company, it may take a long time to get a response and a promise of action. ISPs are often very reluctant to act in such cases. Unfortunately, some people have only received a response, or seen such cyberbullying Web sites taken down after the threat of legal action. www.cyberbullying.cais trying to work with the Canadian telecommunications Industry to act in a more responsive, proactive way.
Are You Aware of, or Are You Supporting Someone Who Is the Victim of cyberbullying?
The best defense against cyberbullying for now is a watchful, involved parent, guardian, family member or friend.
How do you know if someone is being cyberbullied? Here are some signs to look out for:
- Long hours on the computer
- Closes windows on their computer when you enter room
- Is secretive about Internet activities
- Behavioral changes
- Is always doing homework on the Internet, but always in chat groups and getting behind with school work
- May find unexplained long distance telephone call charges
- Won't say who they are talking to
- May find unexplained pictures on computer
- Trouble sleeping
- Stomach and headaches
- Lack of appetite, throwing up
- Fear of going to out of the house
- Crying for no apparent reason
- Lack of interest at social events that include other students
- Complains of illness before school or community events often
- Frequent visits to the school nurse or office complaining of feeling sick - wants to call Mom or Dad to come & get them
- Lowered self-esteem
- A marked change in attitude, dress or habits
- Unexplained broken personal possessions, loss of money, loss of personal items
- Stories that don't seem to make sense
- Acting out aggression at home
- Missing or incomplete school work, decreased success in class
- Teach your child to communicate. If an adult or a child someone is being cyber bullied, do not accept the bullying behavior as a problem your child has to live with. The bullying behavior is the responsibility of the bully, not the child being bullied