Introducing a new blog series… The Lowdown with Lou!
We’ve got a new friend!
Meet Lou, an online investigator with personal experience of bullying. In our new series The Lowdown with Lou, she’ll be giving you lovely Cybersmilers some expert advice on all things internet! Welcome on board!
A number of times I’ve sat down to write a blog piece for Cybersmile, but each time I’ve thought, what can I talk about? Personally, I haven’t experienced online bullying, only face to face bullying back when I was at school (many moons ago, before the days of broadband Internet connection and social media) for having what seemed at the time to be the most unfortunate combination of ginger hair and glasses. Now I’m often told my hair is a “beautiful colour!” and personally, I love my glasses (so many styles to choose from!) but back then it was a real life changer for me, and when I was old enough to leave school, I left as quick as I could and went straight into the working world where I could hide from my tormentors and be safe among adults.
When I was a bit older, I decided it was the right time for me to go back into education, and I went to University and studied Digital Forensics, a degree covering all kinds of Internet investigations and online activity. This is where I found I had a particular interest in online vulnerability, what causes it and who it affects. Now, if my 30-something year old self could go back and talk to my teenage self during the soul destroying school years, I would tell young Louise (among other things) that these people are only out for a reaction, and to listen to my mother who was in fact speaking sense when she said that if I ignored these people, they’d leave me alone.
“What’s this got to do with Cybersmile?” I hear you ask. Well. Having thought about my bullying experience as a child, (which in comparison to some of the stories I’ve read on these blog pages is extremely mild), and how it affected me and made me feel, I got to thinking about how different I’d be feeling if it was happening to me now. The Internet on the whole, is a great place – you can learn so much and do so many enjoyable things with it, however with 24-hour access to pretty much anywhere in the world, it opens up doors that weren’t there before. When I was at school, my bullying stopped at 3.30pm when the school bell rang and I went home, and generally didn’t start again until 9am the next day. It was also a Monday to Friday thing, so I got a break from it at the weekends. Now, with the Internet, I’m sure many feel that there is no escape from online tormentors, who can do and say nasty things, anytime, anywhere, to anyone.
But is that true?
No, would be my answer. Although it may feel that way for someone experiencing it, there are lots of options out there. Through my full time work as an Investigator of all things Internet, I see a whole range of online problems, many of which could be avoided, with just a little knowledge, thought and education. Prevention is always going to be better than cure, but for those that are past the stage of prevention, that doesn’t matter, as there is always a cure! No matter what your situation is, there is ALWAYS something that can be done and someone who can help you, and it’s important you know, but more importantly believe that. Over the next few weeks I’ll be blogging some advice on how to stay safe online, along with other general stuff I’ve either seen, or experienced that I think might be useful/interesting to readers of the Cybersmile blog :) Until then, stay safe!
Stay tuned for all sorts of useful advice from Lou! Follow us on @CybersmileHQ to keep up to date with our latest blog posts – and let us know what you think of Lou’s advice over the next few weeks!