When someone uses social media, email, blogs and other forms of electronic communication to repeatedly threaten and harass someone else. Cyberstalking is a crime, and should be taken seriously.
Cyberstalking is similar to physical stalking in that…
- The person being stalked usually knows their stalker.
- The stalkers motivation is to exert power and control over the victim.
- Cyberstalking can lead to physical violence.
- Victims suffer psychological trauma, often resulting in anxiety, depression, insomnia and even loss of employment.
Cyberstalking is different from physical stalking in that…
- The stalker and victim can be located in different geographic areas (cities, states, countries, etc.).
- The stalker relies on the internet to harass and threaten.
- The stalker can easily encourage other users to harass the victim by pretending to be a victim themselves.
- The lack of direct contact can sometimes make it difficult to arrest the offender.
Tips to prevent cyberstalking…
- Use safe sites that have an anti-harassment policy.
- Never give out your personal information.
- When online, only say things you would say to a person face to face.
- When typing things online, consider the interpretation of it without the use of sound and body language.
- Be very cautious about meeting an online acquaintance in person.
- If you are being harassed by someone, block them immediately.
If you are being cyberstalked…
- If you are under 18, immediately talk to a parent, guardian or an adult you can trust. You may be in physical danger
- Most social sites have filtering capabilities, so block the user.
- Report the person on the site you are using for harassment.
- Keep a log of all the communications you had with the stalker. Do not alter them in anyway; they could be used as evidence.
- Make it clear to the stalker that you do not want them to contact you again in any way.
- If the harassment does not stop, call 911 and contact your local police department and inform them of the situation.