Wednesday, January 19, 2011
With the advancement of technology, it is becoming increasingly easier for stalkers to use social networking sites and other means of technology to stalk their victims. Cyberstalking, like physical stalking, is the persistent harassment of victims. However, cyberstalking uses technology to keep track of victims.
Cyberstalkers engage in a wide range of manipulative activities to threaten and scare their victims. In many situations, cyberstalking is used in conjunction with physical stalking. Here are some examples of tactics used by cyberstalkers as stated by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:
• Sending manipulative, threatening, lewd or harassing emails from an assortment of email accounts.
• Hacking into a victim’s online accounts (such as banking or email) and changing the victim’s settings and passwords.
• Creating false online accounts on social networking and dating sites, impersonating the victim or attempting to establish contact with the victim by using a false persona.
• Posting messages to online bulletin boards and discussion groups with the victim’s personal information, such as home address, phone number or social security number. Posts may also be lewd or controversial and result in the victim receiving numerous emails, calls or visits from people who read the posts online.
• Signing up for online mailing lists and services using a victim’s name and email address.
Cyberstalking affects a wide range of demographics. It is reported by the organization, Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA), that 34% of victims are 18-34 year old, 30% are 31-40 year old, and, 32% are 41 or older. Much like physical stalking, cyberstalkers are more likely to have had a relationship with their victim. WHOA states that in 2009 61% of stalkers had a relationship with their victim, 43% of which had been their victim’s intimate partner.
Cyberstalking does not always remain an online problem. It can very quicly escalate and have violent consequences. It is recommended by the National Center for Victims of Crime and WHOA that cyberstalking be reported to authorities. One way of reporting the crime would be to contact your Internet Servie Provider (ISP). For email and social networking sites, the crime should be reported to the service providers so they can block the stalker from contacting the victim on their website.
Cyberstalking should not be ignored as it can endanger victims’ lives. It is important to know that cyberstalking is a crime punishable by law. For more information and further assistance in dealing with
cyberstalking please contact