As Web Use Soars, So Does Online Harassment

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jane Hitchcock knows firsthand how damaging online harassment can be. In 1996, after a fake literary agency tried to con her, she tried to put a stop to its scam. The scammers didn't appreciate her efforts and came after her — virtually and physically.

"In January of 1997, they began posting controversial messages ... and listed my home phone number and home address and it went from there," she says.

Hitchcock, who is now president of the volunteer organization Working to Halt Online Abuse, reports about 75 cases of online harassment a week. She says that a large number of the victims range in age between 18 and 30. Most are women, and the harassers are largely men, she says.

Listen to it all from NPR.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet

Posted January 28, 2008 at 8:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Alice Linsley wrote:

People and sites are harrassed for holding an opposing position.  Look what happened to CaNNet. That kind of serious hacking isn’t kids playing around.  It is spiteful aggression with the intent to destroy.

January 28, 7:25 pm | [comment link]
2. libraryjim wrote:

I noticed a young girl (12 perhaps?) using the library computers teh other day.  When I made a routine round of the computer area, I noticed she was on a chat room.  she minimized the chat as I got closer but not before I noticed some explicit language (rated R) and that she was answering the question:
“what color are your nipples?”
I informed her that she was in the family/children computer area, and that type of chat room was not appropriate, and please close down the site. 

Her mom called me over (first off, this was a surprise, most moms drop the children off at the computer and then go to the adult computer area to play solitare or visit their own social areas) and asked what the problem was. So I told her what I saw.  “Oh, so it was just inappropriate to the area?” Yes. And that was the end of it, she made no move to talk to her daughter at all.

I was later told by the director that the mother made a complaint against me for ‘embarassing her daughter’ in front of the whole library!  Poor child doesn’t want to come back in so she can finish her ‘report’.  In the future, if I notice inappropriate material on a child’s computer screen I am to ask, “excuse me, where can I find your mother?” before saying ANYTHING else to the child.  rolleyes

So, don’t talk to me about computers and children getting into trouble.  If the parents don’t want to notice, there is nothing I can do about it without getting written up.

January 29, 6:05 pm | [comment link]
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