Communicating with others in annoying or offensive ways is not only in bad taste but it is a crime as well. In New York State any communication that meets the following standard is a crime punishable by up to one year in jail and $1000 fine:
"with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, he or she: 1. Communicates, or causes a communication to be initiated by mechanical or electronic means..." (NYS Penal Law Sect 240.30)
Tips in handling annoyance electronic communication
- If you engage in communication with someone and it becomes harassing or annoying, *tell him so*, then do not reply to his communications. If he persists see the remainder of this list.
- Do not respond. The subject is attempting to get some kind of response from you. If he does not get a response he will probably give up or move on to someone else.
- Don't talk to strangers. Be careful when the subject says he is taking a survey. If you have any concern about the legitimacy of a survey, ask the person his name, firm or university name, and telephone number. Say that you will reply after you verify the authenticity of the survey.
- Don't play detective. Don't extend the communication trying to figure out who the subject is. This or any type of reaction is exactly what the caller wants and needs.
- Keep cool. Don't let the subject know you are upset or angry.
- Don't try to be clever. A witty response may be interpreted as a sign of encouragement.
- Don't try to be a counselor. The annoyance or obscene message originator certainly needs professional help, but he will only be encouraged by your concern and will continue the calls.
- Don't tell everyone about your messages. Many messages of this type are actually made by friends, family members, even your closest girlfriend or boyfriend.
- Report annoyance communication to the System Administrator and/or to the University Police. Report all threats against your physical safety to the police.
We can help.