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Cyber bullying – no child’s play

Scott Robertson | Dec. 19, 2012
Cyber bullies are far more dangerous to children than real-life bullies, causing long-term emotional and psychological harm.

Possible interim solutions?

While the implementation of anti cyber-bullying laws are failing to keep pace with the rise in the incidences of cyber bullying, the big question is if there are any preventative measures that can be implemented in order to protect our children before they become victims.  The answer is, yes.

Although there are no specific laws against cyber bullying in Singapore currently, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean, there are existing laws that can be applied as the act itself may amount to criminal intimidation under the Penal Code.

In addition, the government is also contemplating granting victims interim judicial injunctions, prior to the conclusion of any pending criminal proceedings. Furthermore, civil injunction can also be obtained from the court to restrain the perpetrator.

Yes these injunctions are available after someone is victimised, but at least something can be done legally before the actual laws can take effect.

Aside from that, fortunately there are solutions and technologies available that can help monitor, block and report malicious content from email and the Web without the need to deprive youths access to these mediums.

Email and Web security solutions are available to schools and educational institutions to help prevent the occurrence of cyber bullying which is a recommended action, rather than trying to fix the problem after such activity has taken place.  The key, however, is to ensure that these security solutions don't just focus on the in-bound content to protect the internal environment, but also focus on the outbound traffic.

As the messaging landscape continues to expand beyond just email to include messaging across Web protocols and applications, it is more important than ever to have a unified solution to block threats, and holistic visibility to monitor and control content from a single point of administration.

Just the thought of monitoring and controlling content across email, Web, social networks, and the host of Internet tools used by the digital generation can be daunting. Where does a school start, and how can it provide effective protection with a limited budget?

Here are some tips:

  • Look for a solution that provides the ability to monitor and block malicious or slanderous messaging across email and Web in a single solution and intelligently finds the threats, categorises them, and takes the appropriate remediation action defined by the school or district policies.
  • Ensure that the solution you choose extends email and Web protection beyond anti-spam, anti-malware, and URL filtering with the integrated ability to scan all inbound and outbound content and attachments using granular content controls, such as objectionable content filtering. By monitoring and blocking malicious messages from reaching their intended recipients, schools can stop cyber bullying in its tracks.
  • Check that your technology allows you to define and enforce acceptable use and objectionable content policies for email and Web to block, quarantine or reroute slanderous and harmful content.
  • The best solutions are unified solutions that enable access control to certain websites, monitor email usage, provide notification of policy violations, monitor SMTP and webmail traffic, provide consolidated reporting for holistic visibility into cyber bullying actions, block offensive content from being uploaded onto websites and help you identify gaps through which students may be trying to bypass system measures.


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