Assistant Nassau County District Attorney Jeremy Glicksman said Tuesday that the best way to prevent online bullying is for parents to teach their children that activity on social networks have real-world ramifications.
“If they know how to behave properly online, they will behave properly online, because they know,” said Glicksman, who gave a presentation at Temple Judea entitled “STOP Then Send” as part of District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s cyber-bullying awareness initiative. “The Internet is like a car, in that way. We all had to take driver’s ed. to be able to drive a car.”
Glicksman, who investigates and prosecutes child pornography crimes and internet predators as part of the office’s Economic Crimes Bureau, Organized Crime Bureau and Technology Crimes Unit, said that cyber-bullying typically takes place to out someone from a secret, trick someone into saying, doing or thinking something or exclude them socially.
Many incidents cannot be prosecuted because are not crimes and are protected under the First Amendment.
Glicksman said signs of cyber-bullying include a sudden loss of interest in using the computer or phone, uneasiness about going to school and nervousness when receiving e-mail, instant messages or text messages, in addition to being withdrawn from family.
“For kids at that age range, their social life is their world, it’s all that matters,” Glicksman said. “And being called a slut or a whore and having all their friends seeing it destroys their world.”
Glicksman said parents of children who have been cyber-bullied should not seek retaliation, keep their kids out of school or blame themselves for the bullying.
Glicksman said one should not share passwords, cell phones or personal information and only add people on social networks that they have an active relationship with offline.
In addition, Glicksman said one should not embarrass or harass others online, click on pop-up advertisements or send or post provocative images of themselves or others.
Glicksman also shared tips from the District Attorney’s office, such as keeping computers in a common area of the home and establishing consequences for bullying behavior.
“It’s very easy to say I’m going to be a DA who’s is tough on crime once it happens, but the goal for someone in my position, who’s responsible for the safety of over 1.3 million people every day, is be more proactive and you do that by doing these educational programs like STOP Then Send,” said Rice, who introduced Glicksman after arriving shortly after the presentation began after speaking at a re-election campaign stop in Hempstead.
Poor online behavior could determine whether one gets into college or lands a job, Glicksman said.
Glicksman cited a Microsoft survey that said 70 percent of companies reject applicants because of comments posted online, and 40 percent of companies fire employees because of their online activity.
Glicksman also cited data from the standardized test preparation company Kaplan, Inc. that said 38 percent of colleges who find inappropriate online activity when researching applicants use it against them in the admissions process.
“Whatever you think is hidden isn’t going to be hidden, it just doesn’t work that way,” Glicksman said. “There are too many ways around it. People ask, isn’t it private? Well, [the District Attorney’s office] can look at it, so it’s not private.