Honeysuckle Estates Neighborhood Watch Tips:
Every now and then you come across disturbing postings that use the internet to try to tarnish, defraud, slander or misrepresent a person, place or area. This type of malice and unhappiness can be found everywhere, chat rooms, blogs, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and other areas on the internet.
It brings up real concerns and issues that are a part of our current society. Cyberstalking, Cyberbullying, Internet Harassment, etc...these are terms that filter through our society and occasionally touch upon our lives or someone we know.
So what is it?
- Cyberstalking is a crime in which the attacker harasses a victim using electronic communication, such as e-mail or instant messaging (IM), or messages posted to a Web site or a discussion group. A cyberstalker relies upon the anonymity afforded by the Internet to allow them to stalk their victim without being detected. Cyberstalking messages differ from ordinary spam in that a cyberstalker targets a specific victim with often threatening messages, while the spammer targets a multitude of recipients with simply annoying messages.
Cyberbullying is the use of cell phones, instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to harass, threaten or intimidate someone. Cyberbullying is often done by children, who have increasingly early access to these technologies. The problem is compounded by the fact that a bully can hide behind an electronic veil, disguising his or her true identity. This secrecy makes it difficult to trace the source and encourages bullies to behave more aggressively than they might face-to-face.
The definition of internet harassment is harassment on the Internet that can lead to prison time, and as defined by the law and the case:
http://crime.about.com/od/online/a/web_harass.htm, it is the Use of a Telecommunications Device with Intent to Annoy, Abuse, Threaten or Harass.
What can you do? You can report the sites for abuse, flag inappropriate material, if it crosses the line make a report with the local police departments/and the local FBI office. You can also report incidents that include larger threats, fraud or explotation to
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
Keep things in perspective. It is not O.K. for anyone to misuse your name, image or to make libelous statements, however, you also don't want to allow this behavior to take over your daily focus & routine. Anyone can use photo shop, video editing, tagging derogatory content with names that draw attention to an audience, and put a lot of malicious text with it if they want to hurt you or tarnish a reputation of a person, place or thing. Bullies are bullies. Treat them as such. Report, then move on. If you are really concerned you can promote yourself, or area of concern, i.e. neighborhood, school, work place, etc. online in a positive manner.
Remember when using sites not to reveal too much - do not show email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, or personal details about yourself. Upload photos in a low quality with watermark to deter copying and downloading or reprinting by others. Change passwords often - planning to change & update your passwords as often as you change the batteries in your smoke detectors is a good idea. Remember information found on the internet can be useful but it can also be as helpful as writing on a bathroom wall.
Important reminders: people who know you, co-workers, friends & family that have a true history with you are the ones who vouch for character and give references and most malicious postings can be easily revealed for what they are when put in proper context or the identity of the poster is revealed to be someone who continually targets you or has been known as a problem in other areas or other peoples lives.
Police departments and City offices, local Chamber of Commerce, neighborhood schools & churches are realiable sources for a true reflection on crime and safety of an area and can give accurate references for neighborhoods and areas to live. Don't let a disgruntled, unhappy, person take over your life community, or work place. There is at least one person in every group that can't do more than complain and cause trouble. Take a stand against it and then move on and enjoy your life!
Keep your online experience safe & act responsibly.