Cyberstalking has become a growing problem in our overly technological world. Many people have e-mail addresses, instant messengers, chat identities and social network pages. Your life is plastered all over the internet, and unfortunately it can leave you wide open to stalkers. Beyond the internet, cyber stalkers have been known to install spyware on their victim’s computer, use GPS surveillance, post false or personal information on message boards or public chat rooms and send harassing e-mails and texts.
Psychologists are starting to believe that cyber stalking can have a greater negative effect on the victims, over in-person harassment. They believe that in-person stalking can be escaped, when the victim is in the comfort of their own home. With cyber stalking, it can feel like the stalker has evaded every aspect of the victim’s life.
The U.S. Department of Justice statistics have shown that 3.4 million adults are victims of stalking and that one out of four of them become targets of cyberstalking. Unfortunately, many stalkers and cyberstalkers are someone the victim may have once trusted. For that reason the Department of Justice has created a list of cyberstalking prevention tips:
Do not share personal information in public or online. Do not release information to strangers.
Never use your real name or nickname as a screen name or user ID.
Be very cautious about meeting online friends in real life, always meet in public and try to bring a friend.
If you do plan on sharing contact information, create a separate e-mail account with a gender and age neutral name.
Never give out your phone number, and if you plan on calling an online friend, use a call spoofing service to replace your real contact information.
If you ever feel unsafe online or in-person, contact your local law enforcement.
Hopefully, with these tips, you can avoid any cyberstalking issues. If you’re currently feel threatened by a cyberstalker, however, here are a few tips on how to handle the situation:
If you are receiving unwanted contact, make a clear assertion that you would like the contact to stop immediately.
Save all communications for evidence.
Try blocking or filtering out messages.
Contact your local law enforcement if the harassment doesn’t stop.
Cyberstalking is just as serious as in-person harassment and should be stopped as soon as possible. Don’t let your attacker get away with harassment and always keep yourself safe.