How Can You Protect Yourself From Harassment and Bullying Online?

Social media is a great way for businesses and individuals to connect with a much wider network and community. Businesses are able to advertise their products and services beyond the traditional methods of the shop front, newspapers and television. Similarly, individuals are now visible to a much wider audience, that are from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. These are the upsides as to why you would interact with social media.

However there is a darker and more troubling side which deters businesses and individuals from having any online presence. Harassment and Bullying are now commonplace on social media sites. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 73% of respondents said they’ve seen someone else being harassed online, whereas 40% of people say they experienced it for themselves.

A recent and worrying example where social media has become a new weapon to target, criticise and bully individuals is towards the Gardai. Delegates at the GRA conference in April 2016 were told by the President Dermot O’Brien that money was being offered for personal information about Gardaí who are powerless in the face of such social media campaigns.

He further said, “When social media is used to target, criticise, and bully our members some Garda Management have been lacking in openly defending us. We are left powerless in the face of such social media campaigns. Action needs to be taken. Management needs to urgently provide us with support guidance and most importantly of all, protection… “

Protecting Yourself From Cyber Bullying and Harassment

There are some straight forward common sense steps that can be taken to help mitigate the problem of online bullying and harassment. In the first instance remember never to share any personal information online and to privatize all your accounts. Should you be contacted in any way online and you feel it is abusive or harassing, the first thing to remember is NOT to reply to the abuser. You don’t need to read the content of the message, but you should definitely keep it as evidence for future investigations. Immediately block the sender to prevent further interactions with them.

Report the problem to the site administrator. All reputable sites have a mechanism for reporting abusive or harassing content. Beyond reporting to the site administrator, tell someone else. Being able to remove the secrecy and stigma associated with it removes any authenticity from the abuser. In the example of the Gardai being targeted for malicious purposes online, it will be imperative that all mentions are monitored 24/7 and immediate action is taken to remove the threat. RiskEye provides an end to end solution that tackles these specific types of threats. RiskEye will cover you from monitoring, to take down, to rebuilding.