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10. When it goes wrong 

This section at a glance:

  • we look at the ways in which social media can be used to perpetrate particular types of bullying, harassment and other crimes and offer tips on staying safe online;
  • we look at some examples of bullying and harassment in the academic environment
  • we explore the institution's duty of care and offer good practice guidance on fulfilling that duty in relation to social media.

The UUK (2011) principles set out in section 9, Legal issues, are a good example of a proactive approach to developing desirable behaviours both on campus and in virtual space. Many other institutions have adapted text from the UCISA (2014a) Model regulations for the use of institutional IT facilities and systems to encourage appropriate online conduct from students, staff and others associated with the University. However, despite the enormous benefits of social media in many aspects of everyday life, the tools, like so many others, have the potential to be misused. The BBC in June 2014 reported that 50% of calls passed on to front-line police now involve crimes originating from misuse of social media . Other forms of cybercrime are also on the increase (and are indeed opening up as a whole new subject area in many universities). Institutions need to understand the issues and be proactive about preventing them.

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