Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more businesses started using the video conferencing app Zoom. Zoom connects team members, even in a remote environment. Unfortunately, hiding behind digital platforms also increases the risk of cyber sexual harassment.

What is cyber sexual harassment? Cyber sexual harassment is unwanted sexual conduct on a digital platform. One in four young adults face harassment and abuse through technology. This could happen between staff members on apps such as Zoom.

How can you have effective Zoom meetings without risking sexual cyber harassment? We’ll explain how to promote a safe workplace, even in a remote environment.

Know Who Is in Your Meetings

While this piece of advice seems obvious, you’ll be able to track who is in your meetings. This better manages cyber sexual harassment claims and protects your chats from uninvited guests.

The best way to track your meeting guests is by creating a waiting room. Before you start your meeting, have everyone in your staff sign-in and wait in the “waiting room.” You’ll be able to see who is in your meeting before it starts.

As an alternative, you can prevent your staff from joining the meeting before the host. This helps the host track everyone who is signing in.

It’s also essential you secure your Zoom meetings. A major hacking trend is called “zoom bombings.” This is where other parties outside of your company enter your chat. Many people report sexual harassment from these “Zoom bombers.” Your sensitive data could also become vulnerable.

You can easily secure Zoom meetings by requiring a password and/or a Zoom meeting link. After your meeting begins, lock the meeting so no new users can join.

Prevent Screen Sharing

With screen sharing, you could potentially see explicit images or media on someone else’s screen. It’s recommended you disable screen sharing for everyone or only enable this feature for the host. 

You can easily toggle this feature to “off” in the security settings.

What if you need screen sharing from all team members? Send an email to all staff members. Explain what content is considered cyber sexual harassment.

Zoom also offers different screen sharing options. You can choose to share your whole screen or only one application. If you can, limit screen sharing to one application.

Turn Off Annotations

Annotations are a useful screen sharing feature. Anyone can mark on the screen, highlighting important information and adding notes. But users can also write inappropriate text, draw obscene images, or commit other forms of cyber sexual harassment.

You can easily disable this feature in your Zoom meeting settings.

Disable File Transfers

Participants can send files to one another through Zoom. These files may include images, videos, GIFs, and even memes. This is not only distracting but certain content can be a form of cyber sexual harassment.

For best measures, disable file transfers. Only allow your staff to send files to managers through another platform, such as cloud file storage.

Remove or Silence Disruptive Participants

Is a participant making inappropriate cyber sexual harassment comments in the middle of your Zoom meeting? Zoom allows hosts to silence disruptive participants and even remove them altogether.

The best way to silence participants is by putting them “on hold.” All you have to do is click their video thumbnail and put that user on hold. This turns off their camera and mutes them. They can still see the meeting but can’t participate. 

If the user is ready to join again, just take them off hold in the participant’s list.

You can also choose to turn off either the video or the audio. If the user is making unwanted gestures or showing obscene imagery, you can turn off their video. You can also mute users who are using inappropriate language.

If necessary, you can remove disruptive staff members from meetings altogether. From the participant’s menu, just move your mouse over the user’s name and select “remove.”

Disable Private Messaging

46% of women and 26% of men say they receive sexually explicit messages and images online. 

And they can receive these cyber sexual harassment messages from any platform: text messaging, messaging apps such as Slack, social media, and even Zoom.

Zoom has a private messaging feature where you can talk to certain team members in your meetings separately. Disable this feature and make Zoom one less place where staff members could potentially be a sexual harassment victim.

Take Online Cyber Sexual Harassment Courses

Before your Zoom meetings, require your staff members to take online sexual harassment courses.

Not all states require sexual harassment training but every state highly recommends them. These courses detail the sexual harassment definition, showing examples of sexual harassment, and empowering victims to report this behavior.

There are many sexual harassment training courses available, so which one should you choose?

Find a course where all staff members can work on their course at their own pace. Online training courses are also the most convenient and secure. This is essential if your staff is still working remotely. There are also training courses for both employees and managers, so your business can stay compliant.

You’ll also want to find a course that includes whistleblower training. Whether someone is a victim of harassment or another staff member witnesses sexual harassment, this training will explain how to report this behavior in a safe manner.

Participate in Cyber Sexual Harassment Training Today

Zoom meetings are becoming popular for the remote workforce. Your staff members can still stay engaged and collaborate while everyone works from home. Video teleconferencing also makes meetings possible while your staff is out of the office.

Unfortunately, switching to digital and remote platforms also increases the likelihood of cyber sexual harassment. There are many ways to secure your Zoom meetings, but sexual harassment training will make the biggest difference.

Click here to learn more about our sexual harassment training courses.


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