Cyber-bullying in the Workplace

Internet safety tips from the Ascentive team

Parents all over the world are aware of the growing threat of cyber-bullying. Cyberbullying is the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others. Approximately half of U.S. students are impacted by bullying each school day on buses, in the cafeteria, gym, hallways, playground, and in classrooms. But you may be surprised to know that cyber-bullying has discovered a whole new arena: the workplace. Unfortunately, Cyber-bullying has taken workplace bullying to a new level.

We all know how quickly an email can spread information or an idea. Imagine the impact when an email or even a text messages broadcasts an unverified rumor about a target.

Even worse, whereas cyber-bullying is usually the act of one person attacking a single target, there’s also the possibility of cyber-bullying mutating into cyber-mobbing, which is an instance of multiple people attacking someone. All a workplace cyber-bully needs to know is your email address or phone number. These cyber-bullies can remain anonymous under an assumed email identity, or even block their number when calling you.

Luckily, there a few things you can do to curb cyber-bullying:

•    Save emails that contain any type of bullying messages. Your company may have a way to find out who owns that account, and you can then block that email address from sending you anything. In addition, the email can serve as evidence that you are being bullied. And if you have received a bullying email from a fellow employee, forward it to your Human Resources department.

•    Never use your work email account for personal matters. Always use a completely separate email account for personal use.

•   Never tell your online connections (people you have never met in real life) your company’s name or where it is located. If you do, you run the risk of someone learning the email address that you use for work.

•   Use an email program that filters out anyone that’s not list in your “safe” list. For extra security you can download an email verification program from the Internet that ensures you are in control of who sends you emails. With these programs an unidentified sender has to first apply to you, then you can accept or decline the request.

•    For Cyber-bullies who use text messages to attack, you can also block identified phone numbers. Just call your cell phone company to arrange the block on the number.

Although Cyber-bullying is a passive form of bullying, it’s as serious as any other form of bullying at work. Just remember that you can always take the steps above to block and verify who contacts you in order to regain control.

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