Cyberstalking statistics indicate that cyber bullying and cyberstalking is becoming increasingly popular. The use of the Internet and electronic devices makes it easier to carry out this crime without much physical effort form the perpetrator. As opposed to stalking, that involved following an individual among other monitoring activities, the cyber stalker now follows the individual by showing up on different social media sites that the victim is a part of, sending multiple emails and instant messages and seeking to gain personal information. The culprit may even post embarrassing pictures and videos obtained by legal or illegal means, post false information or accusations all in an effort to damage the person’s reputation. As a result of the nature of the Internet, this information is disseminated quickly.
Cyberstalking statistics indicate that more than half of America’s students may be victims of online stalking. When children are involved in this type of mental abuse, it is referred to as cyber bullying, akin somewhat to bullying that takes place at schools, with generally similar outcomes. A child victim may entertain thoughts of suicide. Therefore, it is essential that parents keep an eye out for any indications that their child might be a victim online stalking.
Statistics from a Supplementary Victimization Survey indicates that 83 percent of Internet stalking was done through emails and 35% through instant messages that were sent to the victims.
Cyber stalking is a crime and there are federal and state laws against it. While all states in the US have laws in relation to stalking, not every state has enacted laws against cyber bullying. The information can be found under, 47 U.S.C. 223 of federal legislation and the crime should be reported as soon as it is identified. Cyberstalking laws may provide some help to victims. A part of the problem that may affect how often the crime is reported is sometimes the inability of the victims to identify what they are facing as stalking.
How do you know you are being stalked?
- If a person contacts you repeatedly through instant messages and email without your consent
- If you are being questioned in an effort to obtain private information
- If the person has knowledge of information, they should not
- If negative, untrue information is being circulated on the internet about you, you may need to cancel all accounts to which the stalker has access or change your user name. There are, however, several things that can be done to ensure that some level of security is enjoyed when online.
- Never share personal information over the web. There are many social media sites that offer the option to share your middle name, and date of birth, mobile numbers and even where you live. However, this information should be handled with care, as it could be used to contact you in person or steal your identity. Identity theft though usually done with the intention to steal money may also be done to use your name and other personal information to sign up on sites or to purchase items that you would not normally purchase and for which your reputation may be affected. To protect yourself you can put in place measures detect any activity that may be as a result of identity fraud. In this instance prevention is key, or at least early detection.
- Passwords should remain secret and should also be strong and not easily guessed. Passwords should not be saved on public computers neither should accounts be left open when leaving a public terminal.
- The use of photos and videos should be limited
- Online profiles in their nature can provide anonymity to the user. Not all information placed online is true therefore you should not agree to meet anyone offline, unless you are sure you know the individual personally.
- Purchasing products online may be convenient; however, it may provide a way for hackers and stalkers to gain access to personal information. Therefore, only reputable sites should be used.
- Downloads in many forms including email attachments may be a hacker’s attempt to gain access to information on computers or devices in your network.
Facts about stalking online
- Many believe that online stalking is easier to perpetrate and that detection can be easily avoided.
- Many individuals who see the assault on someone else’s reputation either ignore it or even assist in circulating the information by also sharing videos and pictures posted to hurt the victim.
- Women are more likely to experience it.
- The act is usually perpetrated at least once a week.
- It is mostly done by someone known to the victim.
- There is generally more than one approach taken.
Stalking is a serious crime that can result in a violent act against the victim. Therefore, it should be addressed immediately.
A victim of stalking may have false information circulating on the World Wide Web. A simple Internet search may turn up embarrassing information that may prove detrimental to their personal and business relationships. It may not be possible to have this information removed, however, it can be concealed on the internet. This is a welcomed reprieve for professionals who will be greatly affected by having their reputation smeared over the Internet.
It is essential that these measures be put in place immediately or better yet, before any of the above unfortunate events take place. Prevention is key put thankfully, even if you fall short making use of preventative measures, you may still be able to have some piece of mind by tracking the internet for negative references made to you and hiding the.