Cyberstalking is the frequent use of technology, such as social networks, emails, and text messages, to harass and threaten an individual, causing them to worry for their safety. 

Yes, you can be stalked online as this has become a recurring event. Cyberstalking, is a violation of privacy and may be emotionally damaging for people who are targeted. This is a frequent occurance to women and children/adolescants.

This article will attempt to explain the concept of online stalking or cyberstalking. Furthermore, the methods through which one can get stalked as well as the preventive measures will be discussed. 

What Is Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is often not something that can be remedied without assistance. In almost 75% of cases, cyberstalking escalates, according to data. 

Due to the anonymous nature of the internet, it usually is difficult to identify the culprit of cyberstalking against yourself or your child. Occasionally, the individual cyberstalking you will be a long-time friend or a romantic partner. Statistically it is usually someone you’ve met before in your life.

The cyberstalker might be a member of the family, a colleague, someone with an unrequited crush, or a complete stranger they have never met.

Cyberstalking can be challenging to identify, even for the victim. People who engage in cyberstalking are typically crafty in their application of online abuse, regularly inventing new ways to reach and harass their victims. 

One of the characteristics of cyberstalking is that it employs technology to post cruel, vulgar, false, or provocative online remarks.

It is very usual for cyberstalking victims to receive threatening texts or emails. The individual who is cyberstalking your child may even blackmail him or her.

Cyberstalkers prefer to follow their targets online, just as they would in person if they were physically stalking your adolescent. They may, for instance, join the same websites and communities or tag your adolescent in irrelevant posts.

To do this, people frequently establish phony accounts (sock puppet accounts) to conceal their identities. They may also send your adolescent many social media messages and remark on anything they publish online.

Occasionally, a person intent on cyberstalking will do more than simply torment their victim online. 

They may adopt highly inventive strategies to humiliate and dominate your child. Catfishing, or the effort to entice someone into a phony relationship, is a popular method employed by cyberstalkers. This is also known as “grooming,” pedofiles frequently use this method to get as close as possible to the victim, emotionally, mentally, and even physically.

They may even break into you online accounts to assume control of the identity and impersonate you online. People who are extremely intent on causing harm to you or your adolescent will share private or fabricated information about them in an effort to embarrass or disgrace them. 

See also  Can You Get Hacked By Joining A Discord Server?

Additionally, they may upload or circulate actual or phony photographs of them, as well as generate stories and rumors. In order to halt the rumors, it is also usual for them to request that you or your kid email them obscene images.

 In addition, they may transmit sexually graphic photographs of themselves. Sending unwelcome presents to the victim or doxxing them, which entails revealing their address, phone number, personally identifiable information online, or other sensitive information. 

Some cyberstalkers can also monitor a victim through GPS trackers or by accessing their electronic devices and webcams.

What Are The Signals Of Being Stalked Online?

Numerous adolescents who are being cyberstalked feel they can manage the matter on their own or they are too humiliated to tell anybody about it. 

Consequently, many stay quiet about their experiences. For this purpose, parents must be aware of the indicators of cyberstalking. If you see the following symptoms, you or your family member may be a victim of cyberstalking:

  • They spend an inordinate lot of time privately online.
  • They receive calls, text messages, and emails at odd hours.
  • They behave suspiciously when online.
  • They are getting gifts from individuals you do not recognize.
  • They are obviously distressed, terrified, or sobbing after using the Internet.
  • They have a secondary phone that they are secretive about.

Can Cyberstalking Be Avoided? 

When it comes to the dangers of cyberstalking, many adolescents do not take the steps necessary to protect themselves online. 

According to the Pew Research Center, quite as many as forty percent of younger Facebook users and sixty-four percent of young Twitter users do not enable their common privacy settings. 

Although it is impossible to totally prevent cyberstalking from occurring in your life, there really are steps you can do to lessen its risk. Here are some preventative measures you or your teen can take against cyberstalking.

The following methods can be adopted to avoid Cyberstalking:

1. Maintain Your Accounts’ Privacy And Safety Settings

Ensure that you are utilizing security settings. Ensure that your profiles on social media remain private, for example. You may also emphasize that online posts ought to be “friends only” in order for only their friends can view them.

Help establish the routine of logging off of your accounts.  Whether it’s an email or an Instagram account, you should constantly make a practice of signing out of those accounts; especially if you utlize a public, shared device (which is not reccomended)

See also  How to Stay Anonymous Online (10 Helpful Tips)

If someone were to gain access to the user’s device while the account was still active, they could simply take control of the accounts and use it inappropriately.

Try to choose a gender-neutral username or a pseudonym on social media sites. Leaving the optional sections blank, such as the birth date and hometown, on a social network profile is also a good practice.

2. Secure Your Phone And Location Access

Remind yourself to never keep your cell phone alone. Just a few minutes away from their cellphone in the breakroom can put them at risk. Someone can install malware without leaving a trail or hijack your device in seconds.

Additionally, you should ensure that your physical locations are safe. It’s alwasy wise to disable location settings in photographs. This way, if you were to upload them, it’s harder for a stalker to extract the location data from the images.

You should also avoid online check-ins and real-time location updates. This feature basically gives a stalker real-time updates on your activites and paints a picture of your habits and predictability.

3. Instruct Online Safety Practices

Ensure that you understand what it is to have safe internet behavior. In other words, you should only approve friend requests from those you have met in person. It’s also wise to do frequent social media inspections and routinely update their passwords.

Also, emphasize that passwords should be kept confidential. Users frequently dshare their credentials to their friends or family.  Even further, you may wish to consider employing anti-spyware software. This type of software will assist you in determining whether or not harmful malware has been downloaded on your devices. 

As an additional safeguard, ensure that you back up your digital information in some fashion. Thus, you would not lose any important data if you must restore the device to factory default settings. This is sometimes needed to wipe out a malware infection from your device.

What To Do If You Think You Are Being Cyberstalked?

Cyberstalking is tough to combat since it is frequently impossible to identify the perpetrator and prosecute the offender. For example, the individual cyberstalking you may be sitting beside them every day at work, located in a different state, or a regular customer.

Not only does the anonymity of the internet make it hard to figure out who is doing the stalking, it also creates difficulties for police departments to locate the perpetrator. 

In spite of this, you should nevertheless attempt to collect as much information or evidence as possible, in case law enforcement must be contacted. Here is what to do if you are being cyber stalked:

See also  How to Stop Someone from Using Your Wi-Fi Connection

1. Disengage From Interaction

It is permissible to command the stalker to cease what they’re doing, despite the fact that it is generally not advisable to interact with them. 

However, you should only perform this activity once. Any more interaction with the cyberstalker will most likely encourage them to persist. After asking the cyber stalker to cease, you should avoid connecting with them again. They should not react to texts, emails, or remarks on social media.

2. Compile A List Of Secure Sites 

 Visit only those sites. In emails, chat rooms, and online message boards, you should never reveal any personal information.

When communicating online, just type what you would genuinely say face-to-face. Consider how your words could be understood in the absence of body voice and language.

3. Conceal Your Identity

Never use a real name, a nickname, or a “suggestive” name as your screen name.

Always use extreme caution when meeting an internet friend in person. If you prefer to do so, you should always bring a companion and meet in a public area.

4. Collect Evidence

You can report the stalking events to the police but it is unlikely that they will have enough to arrest the offender (if they can even be positively identified).

In the meantime record the following items that can possibly help your stalking case:

-Take screenshots of texts, messages, social media comments

-Take pictures of license plates, physical gifts, items

-Save voicemails

-Save any physical evidence like flowers, letters etc.

Make sure you keep this evidence secured and backed up on the cloud if possible. Also, update the police on your case so they can keep a regular log of new evidence.

5. Resources for Stalking Victims

Here are some good resources for stalking victims from victimsofcrim.org and victimconnect.org. You can read about protection measures, help lines, and additional information. It is very important to educate yourself and others on these resources, they can prove priceless in a stalking situation.

Victim Resources


Stalking Victim Resources


Conclusion

Conclusively, any person can be a victim of cyberstalking. The idea of cyberstalking may be terrifying and overwhelming. It can totally change someone’s life forever. This terrible crim can severaly traumatize someone mentally, emotionally, and physically.

However, if you take the necessary steps required, you might be able to mitigate this danger. Make sure you are aware of the risks associated with the process of revealing too much info online and be aware of the signs that someone has chosen you to stalk.