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Criminal Justice Articles

Fighting Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is a very serious situation for anybody who finds themselves involved in it.  It is also a crime and something that is not allowed by law or acceptable to its victims.  It takes the Internet and other technologies that are based off of that and uses it as a forum to hurt victims for a variety of reasons.  It could be revenge or an obsession but the results will be detrimental to the victim none the less.  The only thing a cyberstalker really cares about is the reaction they draw from their victim.  With people wanting and demanding more from technology every day it is important to remember some good common sense.  When you put too much of you out there online you can end up having a serious situation on your hands that is harmful to you emotionally and possibly physically.  In order to understand what it takes to stop cyberstalking in its tracks you need to understand how you can become a victim, what a cyberstalker may try to do, and how you can protect yourself by fighting cyberstalking with common sense.

Without trying, you can become a victim

Depending on the intentions of the person who may start stalking you, they could be out for revenge or have an obsession with you.  If you use all the popular social media forums like Facebook or MySpace you will make yourself more susceptible to people who may wish you harm.  When you divulge too much information you open yourself up to the possibilities of people using that information in a harmful manner.  If you do something silly for a person whom you trust that information can often be used against you at some point – and without warning.  Make sure you use common sense and do not divulge everything about you and your life on the Internet.  Once it is on the Internet it will be able to be retrieved for the rest of your life.

Cyberstalkers turn their victims’ lives upside down

The intent of a cyberstalker is never good.  They are focused on disrupting your life and getting you to recognize or wonder who they are.  Many victims of this type of stalking never learn who their stalker is but the damage can be done emotionally just the same.  Some of the more common things that a cyberstalker will do to their victims are:

  • Harass with private pictures
  • Harass with text messages
  • Instill fear by having personal knowledge
  • Threaten to make life worse by doing even more

Nobody can say for certain what makes a person go to the point of stalking with technology but everybody can say for certain that is unacceptable and terrifying.

Protect yourself from becoming a victim

We covered some common sense strategies above to help you avoid becoming a victim to a cyberstalker.   They do bear repeating though:

  • Do not let photos of you be taken if you would not like them to be seen.  You have no control over what the picture taker will do with those photos over the long run – friend or not.
  • Make sure that you are not laying out detailed schedules and information on public domain territory.  If you are going to talk about where you’ve been, what you’re doing, and where you’re going to be doing only people you know and trust should have access to that information.

Plus:

  • Remember that not all of your private information needs to be shared with everybody.
  • You could lose job opportunities because future employers have started checking the “real” side of people through their social media profiles.

There is no acceptable excuse for cyberstalking.  Those who do it are intent on inflicting harm and emotional damage to another.  Make sure you do what you can to stay protected and reduce the chances of being targeted in such an invasive way.

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