Category Archives: Social Media

Cyberbullying: Prevention and Response

The problem of school bullying was the subject of a recent post  here at Terms + Conditions. In it we noted that with increased access to and use of technology, cyberbullying is a growing concern.

An article in the New York Times over the weekend reports that as bullies go digital, parents are struggling to know the best way to respond. As the NYT states:

It is difficult enough to support one’s child through a siege of schoolyard bullying. But the lawlessness of the Internet, its potential for casual, breathtaking cruelty, and its capacity to cloak a bully’s identity all present slippery new challenges to this transitional generation of analog parents.†

According to the NYT, it’s not just about parents being technologically a step behind or failing to acknowledge the issue. Many struggle with how to supervise their children’s’ Internet activities, and how to proceed in the event their child is the victim of an attack.

Part of the problem is also that schools may be reluctant to get involved when the behavior occurs off-campus, and going the law enforcement route may involve a protracted process.

What about the legal environment? According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, at last count 44 states had laws regarding bullying, and 30 of those included some mention of electronic forms of harassment. Almost all of these laws direct school districts to have a bullying and harassment policy, though few delineate the actual content of such policies.

The Center advises educators, parents and law enforcement officers to carefully review and understand the statutes in their own state to understand the formal legal implications of participating in cyberbullying.

Check out  the Center’s  fact sheet on cyberbullying: identification, prevention and response.

Fortune 500 And Insurers Increase Use Of Twitter

Insurance companies in the Fortune 500 have increased their use of Twitter dramatically, according to an annual study from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Insurance companies are also most likely to be on Facebook, it found.

The study revealed that the number of insurance companies in the F500 with active Twitter accounts increased to 20 in 2010, up from 13 in 2009.

Overall, some 60 percent of F500 companies now have an active Twitter account, compared with 35 percent in 2009.

Size appears to influence the decision to adopt Twitter. Half of the Twitter accounts belong to the companies in the Fortune 200, while 33 percent come from those ranked in the bottom 200.

Interestingly, the F500 demonstrate a real willingness to interact on Twitter. Some 35 percent of companies consistently responded with @replies or retweets within 72 hours, many more often.

The study also found that just over half (56 percent) of the F500 are now on Facebook. Insurance companies rank first among industry sectors with 28 having a Facebook presence.

However, the use of blogs in the F500 appears to be leveling off, as 23 percent of F500 companies have a public-facing corporate blog with a post in the past 12 months – an increase of just 1 percent on 2009.

Indeed, the number of insurers in the F500 blogging dropped to three in 2010, compared to 5 in 2009.

The study concludes:

This clearly demonstrates the growing importance of social media in the business world. These large and leading companies drive the American economy and to a large extent the world economy. Their willingness to interact more transparently via these new technologies with their stakeholders is clear.†

For its part, the I.I.I. now has seven Twitter feeds (@iiiorg @Bob_Hartwig @JeanneSalvatore @LWorters @III_Research @IIIindustryblog @InsuringFLA) with a collective following of over 3,000 users and a Facebook page with over 300 “likes†.