How to Deal with a CyberBully.

How to Deal with a CyberBully.

If you’re a parent, you’ve undoubtedly heard about cyberbullying in the media. If you’re a student, there’s a good chance you’ve not only heard about it, you may have been the victim of a cyberbully, or maybe one of your friends has been the target of an attack. The fact is, with the explosive growth the Internet has had since the early 1990’s, cyberbullying has become more and more prevalent and no one seems to be immune.

Just like bullies in the real world, cyberbullies get pleasure from tormenting their victims and the feeling of power from doing it. The reasons for their actions vary, but the end result is almost always the same for the victim: pain, hurt, revulsion, broken confidence, and in the worst cases, death. There’s no guarantee that you, a friend, or a loved one won’t be bullied online, but there are steps that you can take to help lessen their effect and maybe even get them to stop altogether.

Keeping in mind that every case is different, here are some tips that parents, students, and anyone else who may be dealing with a bully can use to help diffuse the situation. With any luck the days of dealing with threatening and/or harassing people will be short lived.

  • Block any cyberbully you meet online:

    If they can’t contact you, it’s much harder to annoy you. Most services and/or social networking websites have a way to block another user, and if you or someone you know is being bothered, don’t be afraid of blocking them.

  • Remember that cyberbullying is a big deal:

    It’s never OK for anyone to harass you, belittle you, or threaten to harm you. If you’re dealing with a bully, make sure to tell a trusted person like a parent, guardian, or teacher. The quicker a responsible adult knows about the situation, the quicker it can be resolved.

  • Don’t delete any threatening or harassing messages:

    In many cases bullying comes down to a “he said/she said” scenario. If you’ve been bullied and you have hard evidence, keep it to prove your case. Without it, you’ll have a hard time convincing anyone else otherwise.

  • Don’t pass along cyberbullying messages:

    If a friend or relative asks you to forward anything harassing to someone else, or if they ask you to join in harassing someone, just say no. Don’t be a part of the problem, be part of the solution.

  • Don’t open or read messages from a cyberbully:

    It may be hard to do, but if someone continually sends you emails, instant messages, or phone calls that threaten or harass you, don’t respond. Most bullies thrive on your reaction, and not letting them get to you lessens the likelihood that they’ll continue.

  • Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult:

    Friends, parents, teachers, law enforcement officials… any of these people can help you if you’re being cyberbullied. And if you’re threatened with physical harm, inform the local police immediately.

Keeping safe from cyberbullies is often a matter of removing their ability to bother you and/or just ignoring them. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to get other people involved. Don’t be a victim, stand up for your rights, and be safe!

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StopSign Review: 5 Cow Rating from Tucows.com

StopSign Review: 5 Cow Rating from Tucows.com

We’re thrilled to announce that our StopSign® Internet Security software has received a “5 Cows” rating by the download site Tucows in a recent review.

StopSign received favorable ratings in all categories of the rigorous Tucows evaluation process, and we could not be more honored by this spectacular review from one of the most venerable download and Internet services sites online. The Tucows.com review of StopSign is definitely one of our proudest moments in recent history.

Tucows is a well known and trusted Internet services company which hosts over 40,000 software titles that are all tested to be virus and spyware free. Their Tucows Rating Guide details the stringent requirements needed for a positive rating, and sets the bar to which reviewed products must reach for in order to get a good review.

StopSign's 5-cow review from Tucows.com

Image courtesy of Tucows.com

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

Census Scams Strike at Citizens.

Census Scams Strike at Citizens.

If you live in the United States, you’ve probably already heard that the 2010 US Census is making its way across the country. What you may not know, however, is that with the Census comes a legion of fraudsters trying to pull a fast one on folks like you and I.

We’d like to remind everyone that the 2010 US Census will only arrive in a physical mail box, and not your email inbox or anywhere online! Scammers are already hard at work sending phishing emails and setting up fake web sites, trying to get people to reveal personal and/or financial information for the Census. Do not respond to these US Census scam emails and web sites! They’ll only lead to scams, phishing, and worse.

The US Census Bureau has a Fraudulent Activity and Scams web page that gives more information on how they’ll contact you:

  • The Census Bureau does NOT conduct the 2010 Census via the Internet
  • The Census Bureau does not send emails about participating in the 2010 Census
  • The Census Bureau never:
    • Asks for your full social security number
    • Asks for money or a donation
    • Sends requests on behalf of a political party
    • Requests PIN codes, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

For more details on official US Census policy, visit the US Census web site.

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10 Twitter Safety Tips.

10 Twitter Safety Tips.

If you’re looking for a site that really puts the “social” in social media then look no further than Twitter. In our experience the majority of people on Twitter are super friendly, but every now and again you’ll run into a creep who feels it’s his or her mission in life to make you miserable, whether it’s harassing your or sending you spam. It’s usually enough to block unwanted Twitter followers, but some people step over a line and you might need to do more than just block them from your account.

We’ve come up with a list of 10 Twitter safety tips to help you avoid the less-than-scrupulous people and navigate around some of the other hassles that come with social media.

  • Keep personal info personal.

    Don’t share any personal information like telephone, email address, the location of your home, etc. The more you give out, the more likely you’ll find yourself with a cyberstalker, and we feel that this is an especially important Twitter safety tip. Also, be careful with any geolocation service you use (even Twitter’s own), and never tweet your location from home!

  • Careful who you follow.

    It’s not necessary to follow everyone who follows you. First off it’ll start to clog up your Twitter feed when you have hundreds or thousands of followers, but secondly you’ll open the door to people who are looking for an easy mark instead of a new friend. Follow, and be followed, with caution.

  • Beware of phishing.

    Phishing attacks make their rounds through DMs (or “Direct Messages”) all the time. Before you respond to a DM, make sure it’s legit.

  • Only use trusted Twitter apps.

    Limit which Twitter applications you use, and try to only use those which use the OAuth method of connecting to Twitter. And before you give a Twitter application a thumbs up to connect to your account, do some quick research and make sure that any app you use is reputable.

  • Strong password, secure account.

    Change your password regularly and use a strong password. This is probably the easiest, as well as one of the most effective, Twitter safety tips we can give.

  • What did you click on?

    Shortened URLs are great for keeping in the 140 characters, but that makes it harder to tell where the link takes you. Some Twitter clients, like TweetDeck, allow you to preview the destination URL before you click through. There are also several Firefox addons that will reveal the final destination of a shortened URL. And if worse comes to worse, you can always add a “+” to the end of any bit.ly URL to see its information page.

  • Don’t believe everything you read.

    Mama always said there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and it goes doubly so on Twitter and other social media sites. Scammers and spammers abound, and they’d love to get their hooks on you, so be wary of any offers, contests, or messages that promise the world.

  • Parental guidance suggested.

    Parents need to educate themselves about Twitter and pass that knowledge to their children. We recommend that parents set limits on when their children can use Twitter, as well as appropriate ages to use social media without parental supervision.

  • Report threats and cyberbullying.

    If you receive a threatening message on Twitter, contact your local law enforcement agencies as well as Twitter support. Cyberbullying and harassment is a growing problem online, and there’s no good reason to stand for it.

  • Don’t go it alone.

    A tweetup is a great way to meet local tweeps, but do it smart. Never arrange to meet someone alone in real life through Twitter. Always go with a friend, and in a public place.

Using these Twitter safety tips should help keep you less likely to be bothered with the down side of social media and enjoy the great things that Twitter has to offer.

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Moms Guide to Online Safety.

Moms Guide to Online Safety.

Remember all of those pearls of wisdom your mom would use whenever you got into trouble? Well if your mom is anything like ours, she rarely even touches a computer, but you can put her advice to good use and use them to help avoid online scams and to stay safe online.

  • If it sounds too good to be true…:

    If there really was a miracle cure for something, or if there were a legitimate way to make $5,000 by sitting at home with no products to sell and no calls to make, everyone would be doing it. This is probably the single-most important lesson to remember because in this life, nothing comes free. Or easy.

  • Don’t take candy from strangers.:

    Candy, toys, $150 books or videos detailing how to flip residential properties for no money down and no risk… pretty much anything from a stranger is dangerous because A) they’re a stranger, and B) you don’t know their intentions. Sadly there are a lot of bad people out there who want to take advantage of and/or hurt you in some way, so avoid them if at all possible. Mom knew it, and you should take it to heart.

  • If your friends all jumped off a bridge…:

    A lot of web sites use testimonials as an indication of trust by other people, but any fool can find a picture of someone online and add a fake quote underneath. Use your judgment when reading testimonials and ask yourself if they read like something a real person would say, or like a speech from a corporate shill.

  • Your room computer is a pig sty.:

    Keeping your computer clean is just as important as keeping your kitchen clean. Keeping old software up to date, deleting unused files, and wiping out any junk will help keep things more organized and easier to keep up with. And if you keep it clean all the time then you won’t have to rush when company comes over. ;)

Do yourself a favor… listen to your mother. Sure, she doesn’t get your friends, or your music, but she knows how to keep you safe. And if nothing else, you can tell her you listened and that’ll make her feel better. :)

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.