Safety brochure for parents

Safety brochure for kids and teens

Internet Safety Pledge for Parents/Guardians

Internet Safety Pledge for kids and teens

Facebook Guidelines for Parents

cyber bullying abuse

Is It Harrassment?

First you need to determine whether or not what you are experiencing is harrassment. Harrassment consists of the intentional crossing of your emotional or physical safety boundaries. You must have clear boundaries set in place in order for this to apply.

The legal definition of harrassment, according to Black's Law Dictionary is:

A course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person and serves no legitimate purpose or words, gestures, and actions which tend to annoy, alarm and abuse (verbally) another person.

This is of course a very broad definition. State and federal legislation as well as common law have narrowed and refined the definition in various ways. For our purposes, WHOA-KTD defines online harassment as:

Any actions that meet the qualifications of the above definition after the harrasser has been told to cease.

If someone simply disagrees with you, however strongly or unpleasantly, that isn't harassment. Someone who sends you a single email message that isn't overtly threatening albeit very annoying, probably hasn't harassed you. Messages from people claiming that you won a lottery or they have money that needs to be transferred and want your help (such as the notorious Nigerian spam scam) are not harassment And messages posted to any open venue, such as a newsgroup, a web-based board, an AOL discussion forum or a chat room, are seldom truly harassing unless they're forged to appear to come from you or contain direct threats or libelous statements. The same goes for things said on someone else's web site. Harassment usually involves repeated communications via email or some sort of instant messaging program after the harasser has clearly been told to go away.

Cyberstalking is a specific kind of harassment. This is defined as the use of the Internet, email or other web based or electronic communication (such as cell phone text messages) to stalk another person. Stalking involves harassing or threatening behavior that is done over and over again, such as following you, showing up at locations you're in (when they have no reason to be there), making phone calls, or leaving messages. Cyberstalking is when someone follows you around on the net, going to chat rooms, message boards or a mailing list which you're on. They may send email messages, Instant messages, or leave comments on your blog. A cyberstalker may contact and try to form friendships with those online people who are friendly with you in order to get more information.

Remember, someone disagreeing with you isn't harassment. Even if they call you a nasty name. That just makes them rude. But if they continue to try to contact you after you have asked them to stop, continue to call you names in public forums, or follow you around to other places on the Internet, then it's harassment.


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