When confronted with a cyber bully, it is important to capture evidence. In some cases the cyber bully may post comments onto sites such as Facebook and later delete them so there is no physical record. In other cases they use a live chat feature where the dialogue is not saved. Many people are unsure of how to record evidence of cyber-bullying but it is an easy process to learn. You can prove that that abusive comments were there after that in four simple steps.
Step One – Capture a Screenshot
A screenshot is like a photo of what is currently on your computer screen. Instead of just saving text or images, it saves them in their original context such as a Facebook page. This gives them more credibility if they are later used as evidence. Here are simple instructions of how to capture a screenshot:
- In the top right hand side of your keyboard is a key that says “PRTSC” on it. This is short for “print screen” and is the one you need to press to capture what is currently on your computer screen.
- Open “Paint” which you will find by going to your program list and looking under “Accessories”.
- Click on the “edit” button which will give you an option to “paste”. Click paste and the screenshot should appear in Paint.
Step Two – Storing the Screenshot
Once you have the screenshot on the screen in Paint, you need to save it as an image:
- To do this, click on the “File” button followed by the “Save as” button. This will open a list of folders on your computer and there should be one named “Pictures” or “My Pictures”.
- Click on the folder to open it. The screen will ask you for a name to save the file as and will also ask for the file type. Type in a name for the image such as Cyber1 and label subsequent ones as Cyber2, Cyber3 etc.
- If you wish, you can create a new subfolder inside pictures and label it as Cyber-bullying or Cyber Evidence. Do this by opening pictures, right clicking the mouse and clicking on “New” and then “Folder”. A folder icon will appear and you can type in the name you want to give it.
- Select JPEG as the file format as this is the best one to use.
Step Three – Finding the Stored Screenshot
Finding your stored screenshots is as easy as opening your pictures folder and then the Cyber-bullying folder within it if you decided to create one. The images can then be printed, emailed or transferred onto your camera’s SD card.
Step Four – Emailing the Screenshot
In some cases, you may need to email your captured screenshots to the police, lawyers or other people who are involved in your case. This is a simple process and can be accomplished as follows:
- Open the saved screenshot folder and decide which images you want to send by email. Make a note of their name/number.
- If your email goes through Outlook Express, select the images by holding down the “Control” key and clicking on them. The computer will highlight them for you.
- Right click on one of the pictures and a list of options will appear. Select “Send to” and the computer will open a new email with the pictures attached. All you need to do is type in the email address you want to send them to.
- If using Gmail, Hotmail or similar, open a new email. Look for the option to “Attach” or “Insert” a file and click on this. It will open a list of folders through which you can access your Picture folder. Hold down the “Control” key and click on the images you wish to send.
Providing evidence is an important step to putting an end to cyber-bullying. Get into the habit of saving all abusive communications as outlined above and this can be the difference between failing to stop a cyber-bully and nipping their actions in the bud.
There are new tools such as CanProve www.canprove.com that are being developed to automate this process and make it much easier to capture the online evidence.