In honor of Spirit Day, Zoom shares tips to protect LGBTQ people from cyberbullying

Throughout an unprecedented year of social distancing, most of us have turned to web conferencing to take meetings, go to classes, and generally stay connected with the people we used to see daily. Unfortunately, cyberbullying and online harassment followed us there, targeting the most marginalized communities.

To recognize Spirit Day and fight back against cyberbullying, our friends at Zoom shared some best practices to secure your meetings and protect yourself. More detailed recommendations for security on Zoom can be found here, but we’ve pulled out the top tips to protect the LGBTQ community, who disproportionately face bullying in-person and online:

  • Never share your Zoom meeting details (meeting ID and passcode) on any public forum, such as social media. Meeting disruptors search the internet for publicly-posted meeting IDs. If you learn that someone else has posted your meeting information online, please change the meeting ID.
  • Turn on the Zoom waiting room: This allows the meeting host to manually approve every participant of the meeting or classroom, ensuring no suspicious characters join.
  • Don’t use your Personal Meeting ID for public meetings: When setting up a meeting, use a randomly-generated Personal Meeting ID so only the invited participants will know how to join.
  • Once all participants are in the meeting, lock the meeting using the Security Menu at the bottom of the screen, preventing additional people from joining.
  • If possible, disable private chat, this will stop participants from sending rude and harmful private messages to anyone at risk of being bullied.
  • As a host, be ready to mute or remove participants who might be making inappropriate remarks, and set a trusted Co-Host to help throughout the meeting.

Thank you to Zoom for sharing these tips - please comment or reach out to let us know if these helped you, or to share any more tips that you took to protect yourself or others.

About Spirit Day:

Each year, millions go purple for GLAAD’s Spirit Day to support LGBTQ youth in a united stand against bullying. Started in 2010 by high school student Brittany McMillan in response to numerous young LGBTQ lives lost to suicide, Spirit Day now draws the participation of celebrities, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, and advocates around the world, all joining together to stand against bullying and support LGBTQ youth.

Presenting partners Delta Air Lines, Kellogg Company, and Target, official partners Amazon, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development and the New York City Council, and Skittles, as well as community partners Kirkland & Ellis, NBA & WNBA will all participate in 2020 Spirit Day.

In 2020, Spirit Day takes on a renewed importance due to the unprecedented challenges facing LGBTQ youth. This year, many LGBTQ youth are beginning the school year at home and are unable to attend in-person meetings of Gay-Straight Alliances, Gender-Sexuality Alliances or on-campus college LGBTQ organizations. Some LGBTQ youth may be confined to a home environment that may be unsupportive or abusive. Calls to The Trevor Project’s hotline for LGBTQ youth have at times more than doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

This year, Spirit Day is on October 15, 2020. Take the Spirit Day pledge to show LGBTQ youth you've got their backs at glaad.org/spiritday. Follow @GLAAD on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep up to date with #SpiritDay news.