Tag Archives: safety

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.


Keeping Children with Food Allergies Safe

Summer Safety tips from the Ascentive team

Food allergies are no laughing matter. People with food allergies can have serious or even life-threatening reactions after eating or coming into contact with certain foods. So how do you keep your children with food allergies safe when they’re away from home? Dropping your kid off at school, daycare, or camp means that you are giving up control over what food your child comes in contact with. Here are five important ways to keep children with food allergies safe.

1) Teach Proper Safety
Keeping children with food allergies safe starts with your child. In addition to teaching your kids to avoid foods that they are allergic to, show them how to wash their hands thoroughly before and after eating, and how to use an Epipen, an auto-Injector used for the emergency treatment of a severe allergic reaction. And remind your child to never share utensils or drinking straws with other kids, eat their friends’ snacks on the bus, or sample unusual foods brought into school.

2) Institutional Food Allergy Management Plan
Every institution that supports children in some way should have a Food Allergy Management Plan. This plan includes policies regarding the use of food throughout the day and in various activities, where medications will be kept, and protocols for contacting emergency services and parents in the event of a child having an allergic reaction. These institutions should also ensure that there is phone access in case of a severe allergic reaction that requires a call to 911.

3) Staff Training
In addition to the institution’s management plan, education about food allergies and their treatment should be provided to every staff member of the institution that supervises children. This training should also include drills for food-allergic reactions so the staff may practice implementing emergency plans and using the Epipen.

4) No Cross Contact
Avoiding cross contact requires thoroughly cleaning utensils, cookware, glassware, storage containers, and other food preparation materials used with a food allergen before the item is used to prepare or non-allergenic meals. Washing food storage containers and dishes in a dishwasher or hand washing them with hot water and liquid dish soap is generally adequate to remove these allergens.

5) Food Allergy Action Plan
Every child who has a food allergy should have a personalized Food Allergy Action Plan. This plan should include a recent photo of the child, a list of their allergies, signs and symptoms the child might experience during a reaction, appropriate treatment instructions from the child’s doctor, and emergency contact information for the child’s parents/caregivers and doctor. The plan should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in the child’s allergies as well as the age-appropriateness of medication doses.


Ten Tips to Prevent Cyber Bullying

Internet safety tips from the Ascentive team

A cyberbully uses the Internet, cell phone, or other device to send or post text or images to try to hurt or embarrass other people. Whether it’s creating a fake Facebook or MySpace page to impersonate a fellow student, repeatedly sending hurtful text messages and images, or posting cruel comments on the Internet, cyberbullying can have a seriously harmful effect on a child. Nasty comments, lies, embarrassing photos and videos, and snide polls can be spread widely through texting, and by posts on social networking sites like Facebook. Here are ten tips to preventing CyberBullying.

1) Talk to your Children:

The first and most important step to take in order to prevent CyberBullying is to talk to your children. Make sure your children know Cyberbullying is wrong, and reiterate your values and expectations for your children’s behavior. Encourage your kids to come to you quickly if anything gets out of hand online, and make sure they understand never to take revenge on anyone online.

2) Establish a Code of Conduct:

Tell your children that if they wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, they shouldn’t text it, IM it, or post it. And set guidelines for their computer and cellphone use, with consequences for inappropriate behavior.

3) Security

Remind your children to keep their passwords safe, and not to share secrets, photos, or anything online that might be embarrassing. Have them set up their email and instant messenger accounts with you, and make sure they do not put their name, age, address, or phone number in their profile or screen name.

4) If in Doubt, Don’t Open It

Train your children to delete suspicious email messages without opening them.

5) No Pretending

Tell your children never to pretend to be someone they are not in chat rooms, IM’ing, in blogs, or on social networking sites.

5) Don’t Bully Back

Tell your children that if they are ever CyberBullyied, don’t respond, save the emails or text messages to a folder for your review.

6) Auto-Filter

If your child experiences cyberbullying, you can use an email filter and arrange for all the messages from the cyberbully to go to a special folder, then forward it on to the mail provider.

7) Block

Remind your children that they can block people from their buddy list on AIM and in chat rooms by clicking the “Block Buddy” button.

8 ) Check School Policies

Contact your child’s teacher or principal and find out whether there is an official policy on cyberbullying. If there is one, read it and discuss it with your kids.

If there isn’t a written policy in place, ask about how cyberbullying is handled and whether there are any plans to create an official policy.

9) Tracking Software

Similar to an auto-filter, you can also purchase special software, such as BeAware, for your computer that can track chats and messages between your child and the bully.

10) Pay Attention

Finally, continue to pay attention to your children’s behavior. Ask them how they communicate with their friends digitally and what kinds of problems typically pop up, and remind your children to show you how they would report digital abuse if it happened to them.