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Cyberbullying is a Serious Issue Everywhere

Cyberbullying is a Serious Issue Everywhere

As technology has evolved, so have our capabilities of using it. While this has led to great improvements in how we can live our lives, it has also made it much easier for us to torment and harass one another. This is a huge problem, and growing, so it is important to know how to take a stand against it - both at home, and in the workplace.


The Cybersmile Foundation was formed on June 17th, 2012, to help spread awareness of this problem and promote online inclusivity over toxic harassment and abuse. Unfortunately, their efforts are very much needed, as cyberbullying is still a pervasive problem.

What is a Cyberbully?

A cyberbully is pretty much what it sounds like: they are someone who torments others, causing them pain and angst, over a digital medium. Common media for a cyberbully to leverage include social media, online forums, and even texting and instant messaging. Since this form of harassment doesn’t require the bully and their target to be in the same place, there is a much greater timeframe of opportunity for this kind of bullying to take place. While many cyberbullies work alone, it isn’t uncommon for groups of people to engage in such activities cooperatively. Not only can this kind of bullying be very public, it can more insidiously be kept private, and many cyberbullies act anonymously to protect their own identities. Even worse, a total stranger may be the one to target someone as a victim of their attacks.

What possibly makes cyberbullying so insidious, is the fact that the target may not even be aware that it is going on. If, for instance, nasty things are being said on a social media platform or profile that the target cannot access, the only way they will find out is if someone says something - which doesn’t always happen.

Workplace Cyberbullying

While it may be known best as something that kids and adolescents have to contend with, cyberbullying has been seen among all age groups. This has only become more true in an increasingly digital workplace, where tools like email, instant messaging, and social media are leveraged for their productivity benefits. Considering this increase, it comes as no surprise that the workplace is becoming prime hunting grounds for cyberbullies. A study that polled almost 3,000 people found that 96 percent - yes, 96 - had been on the receiving end of workplace bullying.

Whether this cyberbullying takes the shape of gossip over instant messages between conspiring coworkers or a manager that sends abusive and unpleasant emails at intentionally inconvenient times, it creates a hostile work environment that erodes motivation and engagement and makes collaboration effectively impossible.

What Can Be Done

There are actions that both the recipient of cyberbullying and their employer can take to discourage this kind of unprofessional and hurtful behavior from occurring.

First, if the recipient of this kind of abuse is aware of the situation, they need to keep a cooler head and speak up for themselves. Calmly, rationally, and politely, the recipient should inform the perpetrating coworker that the behavior is to stop. Taking the high road, as it is with most interpersonal confrontations, is the best option when harassment is involved.

The receiving employee should also start collecting evidence. This will help them support their position if the time should come that they need to lodge a formal complaint. Keeping emails, social media posts, and other instances that they feel constitute abusive and hurtful behavior will give them what they need. Furthermore, they should also educate themselves on their rights as they pertain to their personal information. If some has been shared by the cyberbully, there could have been some laws broken. Neither defamation nor data protection are laughing matters.

An employer should want to create a working environment that runs smoothly, making it more likely to be productive. Harassment and cyberbullying throw a wrench in operations, so it only makes sense that an employer would want it to stop. Furthermore, the employer needs to make it clear to their employees that cyberbullying will not be tolerated. To do this, there should be a policy prepared that informs their employees what conduct will (and what conduct will not) be tolerated between employees, inside and outside of the office and work hours. This policy should be introduced during a new employee orientation, and if the issue was widespread enough, reviewed among the staff after an instance of workplace cyberbullying.

For more information about cyberbullying and additional resources, visit the official Stop Cyberbullying Day website. Technology is meant to help us grow as businesses, as people, and ultimately, as a society - not to tear each other down. Together, we can work to make that more the case.

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How Does the A.I. in Reality Measure Up to Hollywood’s?

How Does the A.I. in Reality Measure Up to Hollywood’s?

Figuring out how to utilize platforms that depend on machine learning to boost an organization’s bottom line is one of the biggest puzzles for every modern business owner. After all, seemingly every new technology concept can be leveraged into enhanced profitability if it is rolled out right. In this case, many organizations have found ways to use human-created machines to learn how to do tasks that would be deemed too expensive if humans were to do them.

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What Star Wars can Teach About Mentorship

What Star Wars can Teach About Mentorship

The Star Wars saga has many recurring themes - the struggle between desire and destiny, good and evil, impulse and discipline. However, a theme that particularly stands out throughout the series is the examination of the relationship between student and teacher. This theme is similar to the relationship that an IT provider should strive to have with their clients.


For today’s Star Wars Day blog, we’ll review some of the lessons that a professional can learn from the Star Wars films, as well as what the insights that the relationships shared by the characters can reveal about being a mentor, as well as the mentored. To do so, we’ll examine some moments and characters from the complete series thus far - Episodes I through VIII - and the stand-alone Rogue One.

WARNING: this article may spoil a few key moments from the series, so continue at your own caution.

How to Be a Mentor, According to Star Wars
There is no shortage of those who could be considered mentors throughout the series. From Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan/Old Ben Kenobi, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, and finally, Yoda, many characters accept the mantle of mentor… albeit begrudgingly, at times.

In order to be a mentor, there are two requirements that each of these characters present during the series. Likewise, many characters also exhibit just one or the other characteristic. Yet, as they do not exemplify both qualities, they don’t quite qualify as a true mentor. We will explore these characters in more detail later.

These two requirements are to be a committed educator, as well as an equally committed leader. Each of the mentors listed above have had the opportunity to be both, and rose to the occasion. Qui-Gon took the initiative to take a young slave into his care, campaigning to the Jedi Council for the ability to teach him. When Qui-Gon was dispatched by Darth Maul, Obi-Wan rose to the occasion and took up Anakin Skywalker as his padawan learner.

Years after Anakin succumbed to his fear and hubris to be reborn as Darth Vader, Obi-Wan continued to be a mentor under the name Ben Kenobi, teaching the Skywalker of the next generation how to embody the principles of the Jedi. Once this Skywalker, Luke, had learned to be a leader, he teamed up with his long lost sister, Princess Leia Organa, to defeat the Empire. While Leia continued to lead an underground organization committed to fighting the Empire’s last remnants, Luke retreated to a sanctuary to ensure he was able to train the next worthy Jedi.

Finally, we would be amiss if we neglected to mention Yoda’s involvement as a leader throughout the saga. From the very beginning of the story, Yoda was a respected leader of the Jedi Order, proving his worth on the battlefield and in the Senate. When the Empire rose, he retreated to his home planet in wait of the next generation of Jedi to train. He then passed on, but returned as a Force ghost to impart his wisdom again, later in the series’ timeline.

Lining Up Star Wars Mentorship with Our Own (and with The Odyssey)
As one might imagine, the concept of mentorship has been around for much longer than Star Wars has been. In fact, we get the word “mentor” from a character in Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. Mentor was entrusted by the protagonist, Odysseus, to care for his son in his absence, and later assisted the young prince Telemachus in reuniting with his long-lost father by serving as his guide and, well, mentor.

In this way, Mentor serves a very similar purpose as many of the characters from Star Wars. By teaching another character and acting as a leader, he allows the protagonists to succeed in their quest - or, in the terminology more likely to be used in Star Wars, their mission. Furthermore, like the mentors to be found in Star Wars, Mentor shares a few characteristics with the mentors we see in the business world.

What Makes a Mentor, a Mentor
We’ve already established that a mentor should be a sort of amalgamation of a teacher, and a leader. This is admittedly a tricky balance to find, until you describe what kind of leader and teacher makes a mentor.

First, as a leader, you have to be able to be supportive as you take charge. As you work with a mentee, commit the time that the mentee needs to grow and devote your full attention to them. Just as Ben Kenobi understood Luke’s rage and bitterness after his aunt and uncle were slaughtered by the Empire’s stormtroopers, you need to be able to emphasize with your acolyte and guide them towards the higher purpose you can see them achieving.

As a teacher, it is important to also challenge those who you mentor. Not only should you assign tasks for your student to complete, these tasks should test the limits of their ability and set a standard that you expect them to meet. As Yoda challenged Luke to lift his X-wing fighter out of the swamps of Dagobah, he wasn’t coddling his student. Neither should you.

It is also important that, as their teacher, you review the lessons that have been imparted. These discussions will not only help ensure the information is retained, it will also encourage your mentee to draw their own conclusions. Remember, teachable moments happen all the time - it’s up to you to embrace them.

Finding Poor Examples in Rogue One
Alternatively, Rogue One offers a few examples of how to very much not be a positive leader. At the very beginning of the film, protagonist Jyn Urso’s father, Galen, is pressured into returning into the Empire’s service and designing the ultimate superweapon: the planet-destroying Death Star. In addition to being forced to work on a project he detests, he is stuck in a thoroughly unpleasant work environment. Oh, and did we mention that his wife was murdered and his daughter lost to him during the attack?

It should be no wonder, then, that instead of being loyal to his ‘employers,’ Galen instead decides to sabotage their operation from the inside. Hiding a critical weakness in the Death Star and sending word of it to the Rebel Alliance, Galen embodies the corporate espionage that a disgruntled employee could leverage against your business. A good leader sees the value in keeping an employee happy in two ways - first, it helps to keep that employee engaged and productive, and secondly, it reduces, if not eliminates, any ill will toward the organization.

In another example of the Empire’s failings in Rogue One, the antagonists of the film also leverage shady office politics to get a leg up on their superiors. For instance, Director Krennic elects to go over his commander’s head and out of the traditional chain of command, reporting directly to Darth Vader. As a commanding officer himself, Krennic serves as an example of what happens when office politics supersede the typical chain of command - and winds up being Force-choked into oblivion for his troubles. While it is highly unlikely that deviating from the chain of command will get you strangled like Krennic, it certainly doesn’t reflect well on you and shows a distinct lack of leadership and respect for the chain of command.

All this only goes to show that lessons in leadership can be found anywhere you look - even in a galaxy far, far away. Do you have any Jedi masters or mentors in your life? What have you learned from them? Share your thoughts in the comments, and may the Fourth be with you!

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Perpetrators of Three Major Cyber Crimes Have Pled Guilty

Perpetrators of Three Major Cyber Crimes Have Pled Guilty

Every so often, it’s nice to hear about when the good guys win and cybercriminals get their comeuppance. Three such cybercriminals have entered guilty pleas to charges related to major cybersecurity events.

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Upgrading Your Technology? Be Careful of What You Do with the Old

Upgrading Your Technology? Be Careful of What You Do with the Old

Take a moment to look around you and take in the amount of technology surrounding you. How often do you think this technology is replaced, and what do you think happens to the old tech? There needs to be more thought and effort put into its disposal than just throwing out a hard drive that no longer seems to function. Unfortunately, the amount of e-waste shows that may be the preferred method of disposal.

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Using Cortana Gets Better with Customization

Using Cortana Gets Better with Customization

As Cortana has more and more added to its functionality, it gradually becomes more of a utility to all. Those who prefer to use Google’s applications are now able to use Cortana to augment their use of Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar. Today, we’ll go through how you can set these programs up to play nice with Cortana.

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Tip of the Week: Netflix Now Lets You Download Videos for Offline Viewing

Tip of the Week: Netflix Now Lets You Download Videos for Offline Viewing

The development of Netflix was revolutionary for its time, allowing users to stream a plethora of great television shows and movies on a whim. Nowadays, Netflix continues to innovate and create ways for users to take their services to places where they never thought possible. One example is taking Netflix on a flight, where the Wi-Fi is either completely unavailable, or too slow or expensive to be worth using. Netflix now allows users to download videos for offline viewing via its mobile app.

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How Vizio Got Busted for Spying on Its Customers

How Vizio Got Busted for Spying on Its Customers

What have you watched on TV lately? Actually, never mind; if you don’t want to tell us, we can just ask Vizio. Relax--we’re not actually going through with this, but the fact remains that 11 million owners of Vizio televisions had their viewing habits tracked by the manufacturer. Were you one of them?

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