If there were no such thing like cyberstalking, there would be sunshine all the way.
People have freedom what they love to share with family and friends.
People openly share their opinion on online communities without having any fear of being harass.
Everything would be full of goodness in an online world that there is only gain and no pain.
But it would be too abnormal for this cruel world we live in because of online psychopaths and online molesters who rejoice to see others in depression and anxiety just like Alfred defines Joker’s character:
“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They cannot be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
The existence of cyberstalker is exponentially capturing the grounds of the online world.
This is true that cyberstalking is a taboo and painful reality of today’s world.
Therefore, I believe every online user should know how to keep yourself away from cyberstalkers.
So, let’s dig into how to identify it, avoid it, and what you should do if you find yourself in cyberstalker’s radar.
What is Cyberstalking?
Cyberstalking definition is very similar to stalking definition is when a person gets possessive attention from any individual.
The only difference between stalking and cyberstalking definition that one is physical and other requires internet to do so respectively with the aim of harassing and to abuse individuals.
Cyberstalkers aims to harass, embarrass or threaten their victims by using online technologies.
Physical stalkers, on the other hand, harass their victims by the anonymous monitoring, continuously calling, texting and find other ways to turn their life into hell.
On the other side, cyberstalker harasses their victims by using online mediums including emails, social networks, and online data.
In short, cyberstalkers could use everything that is available on the internet relevant to their target person.
Moreover, since the online world is exponentially growing, these cyberstalkers are finding new ways to target their victims.
Difference Between Social Media Stalking and Cyberstalking
Searching regarding new classmates or new colleagues on social media like Instagram or Facebook does not come under cyberstalking.
Alternatively, in other case exploring a new employee to get insights regarding what of the kind of person he or she is without interfering in their life doesn’t count as cyberstalking.
These kind of acts are socially acceptable, and there is nothing bad about it. Cyberstalking is a life-and-death scenario since it involves evil intentions, defamation, sexual abuse, and false acquisitions.
Moreover, there is a scenario where physical and cyber stalking merges, making it more terrifying.
Is Cyberstalking a Crime?
Any act with the intent of harassing or threatening someone is a crime globally. However, cyberstalking or cyber harassment relatively new form of crime.
Since the dependence on the internet is increasing daily, cyberstalking is one of the fastest growing crime.
Although not every part of the world offers officially recognize cyberstalking as a crime since they are struggling with technology.
However, the USA and European countries are officially offer cyberstalking laws and policies that I will discuss later.
But still, there are several cyberstalking incidents where security sectors have no clue how to deal with the situation. And they don’t have any idea of how to save the victim.
Is Cyber Stalking Illegal?
If you compare cyberstalking with other forms of crime, it is relatively new form of crime. However, it does not mean that it is legal to do at all.
Even though cyberstalking is a kind of crime that requires online platforms to commit it but still punishable under the legislation form for that purpose.
Although in the majority of countries the laws and regulations use in cyberstalking cases are the existing ones, similar to the laws for physical apply on physical stalkers cases.
This is why the law authorities struggle in finding appropriate punishment since existing laws can’t go that far to solve the case.
Thus, new laws and regulations are in need to handle cyberstalking incidents.
But not every country is taking cyberstalking that lightly and also forms policies for every state such as US and European countries.
Are There Any Cyberstalking laws?
Till now, one thing is confirm about cyberstalking that it is a pure crime and illegal too. However, when we talk about regarding cyber harassment official laws, we rarely find any.
And those laws and regulations that are already available seem to be problematic. Moreover, this is because confrontations in the online world are different from real world.
Some countries are still using old laws to tackle cyberstalking cases.
Meanwhile, modern countries like the US, Australia, New Zealand, and some developing countries form new policies for cyber harassment and cyberbullying.
Types of Cyberstalking
Tracking Location and Activities on Online Platforms
Cyberstalkers are always looking for victim’s locations and check-ins on Facebook and Instagram.
So if you are very keen to share your location and check-ins on social media, it would be handy for cyberstalker to track you.
In that case, cyberstalker will know everything about you by scrolling down into your profile. And keep threatening you since location and check-in could tell very much about your behavior.
Monitoring You via Google Maps
If you post anything on social media regarding your home address, cyberstalkers can easily track it by using Google Maps.
And since Google Maps offers street view option, online abusers could see exactly how your home looks like. So even without stepping into your house, they can tell you where you live-which terrifying.
Moreover, these online abusers can figure out the surrounding around your home like a number of houses, neighbors, cameras, and distance from the police station.
In this way, they could plot a perfect plan to target you.
Hack Your Electronic Devices
Hacking devices nowadays are one of the easiest ways for cyberstalkers to destroy your online privacy.
Dark online entities would trick you in clicking on massive discount on your favorite product that contains malware.
Moreover, this malware would help them to hack your device camera without letting you know. So you could lose your privacy in seconds, and they get the visual of everything you do even in your private time.
Isn’t gives you stagger even just think that some stranger is watching you through your device camera?
Sending Countless Threatening Emails
Most of us never bother to give our emails on different forums on social media like Facebook. At this moment, cyberstalkers already keep an eye on your online activities.
Hence, they get your email and send you threatening countless messages that will haunt you.
Placing GPS Device in Your Car to Track Your Movement
If online abusers can figure out where you live, then it could be very easy for them to notice your car. So to stalk you, they could set a GPS device in your car to track your movement.
Maybe you are not aware of this term before. Catfishing happens on online social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram when a cyberstalker creates tons of fake profiles of your friend and shows interest in you.
This might happen to you that the cyberstalker creates a fake profile of someone you like. This makes cyberstalker job easy to entice you immediately.
Dogpiling is also very fast-growing type of cyberstalking where hundreds or thousands of offensive comments bombard your social post by a group of online abusers.
It happens when an online abusers see any comment, and they don’t like it. Thus, they start trashing you to take back your opinion or scare you by posting humiliating comments.
Cyberbullying is the most chronic kind of online harassment. This is because it includes almost all types of cyberstalking that I mention above.
And the most terrible thing about it is that the majority of victims are school and college going, kids. It gives me shiver when I only thought about it.
Find more about cyberstalking statistics by looking into this phenomenal infographics
Real Time Examples of Cyberstalking
- Between January and April 2017, a rejected lover has been jailed for using hidden devices to monitor his ex-lover. The act of stalker pledged as “sinister, sophisticated and plan. For this, he gets three and a half year punishment at Bradford Crown Court.
- A journalist in New York was online harassing his girlfriend and terrorizing Jewish group with bomb threats was sentenced five years prison on 20th December 2017.
- Twenty-nine-year-old man was arrested for allegedly cyberstalking a woman by aggressively messaging and stalking on social media.
- In Massachusetts, a man jailed for almost 17 years for cyberstalking former mate and family members by hacking into their devices, sending child pornography and sending bomb threats.
What to do if Someone is Cyber-Harassing You?
If you are the one who is the victim of cyberstalking, the following tips can help you greatly:
- If the cyberstalker puts you in a situation where you see yourself in immediate danger, call 911. Most of the people do not know how to report cyberstalking to police in such scenarios. Simple tell the exact location to the police and find a safe place to go.
- If the situation is not critical at that time call your close friend or partner to go to the police station. File a complaint with the police and tell all the threats and incidents without hiding anything.
- Have you ever heard about a restraining order? No? Well, a restraining order is a kind of agreement that requires the online abuser to stay away from you and not contact you by any means. You can take restraining order from your country’s police, violence shelter or official authority.
- Cyberstalking is something that can’t be proved without any solid evidence. Thus, document everything including time, date, messages, voice mails, images and everything you can.
- Witnesses play a vital role to make your claim strong. So, discuss your scenario with your friends and family and ask them to become a witness for you to file your case.
- Another thing you can do is to register your case to domestic violence hotlines.
- Put alarming and secure lock devices in your home and always turn it on.
- Consider to change your number and block cyberstalker from social platforms.
I hope the above mention points would help you in how to report cyber stalking and how to deal with a cyberstalker.
If yes, post your comment below “Yes” and if “No,” post your query in the comment section so I can help you.
Cyberstalking Prevention Tips
Following are some prevention tips to protect yourself from Facebook stalking and cyberstalkers:
- The very first step you should take reviews of your social platforms privacy settings. These are the open grounds for online abusers to target their victims, make sure that your profile is not public. Moreover, also make sure that you are not oversharing that includes your location or address.
- I know it is hard when you are at a fancy place and really want to share your location on Facebook? Try to stop yourself. Also, you can go a step further and turn off geotagging so that no location-disclosing metadata in your photo files.
- Creating events is a great tool on Facebook but a nightmare in terms of maintaining your privacy. If you are still using the event calendar on Facebook, it will be greatly helpful for cyberstalker to track your location and where to find you.
- Online users just for the sake of convenience do not bother to use strong passwords. Moreover, this is where you provide open space to cyberstalkers to easily target you. Therefore, set strong passwords for your online accounts. If remembering strong passwords difficult for you, use a reliable password manager for it.
- When you have limited data at the moment you are traveling somewhere; public Wi-Fi works could be your savior. But remember since public Wi-Fi is open for all, they are very low in security. Thus, make sure to avoid sending your emails or login into your online accounts. Alternatively, use reliable VPN services, that will encrypt your online activity and make your identity unapproachable for online stalkers.
- Check how much information one can find about you online, or, in other words, check your “googleability.” If you see that there’s too much a cyberstalker will find out about you by simply running a search on Google, try to take some information down.
- in case of catfishing, These steps will help you in finding fake profile: (1) see the friend list, catfishers have friends for not more than 100. (2) Download the display picture and put it on reverse image on Google. If you get links to multiple profiles, it’s a warning sign of an online abuser. (3) Review user’s photos. If there are only selfies, single-person shots or stock-style pictures, it is likely they aren’t real. (4) Ask them to come on video call and observe their reaction. if they start making excuses, there is a high chance you are talking with catfisher.
Believe me or not Cyberstalking has all the potential to make your life happy to worst in minutes. Cyberstalkers have no fears and any soft side in their heart.
They are similar to psychopaths and serial killer like Ted Bundy who pleased to destroy the lives of others without any reason.
Moreover, the way we heavily get dependent on online services, this makes cyberstalkers to find more ways to change our lives into hell.
Although leaving the online world due to fear of online abusers is not the solution.
The tips and guidelines I mentioned above in this article will help you to protect your self from cyberstalkers.
Apart from tips and guidelines, I believe that the world in need of international laws and policies regarding modern crime like cyberstalking.
By making standardize cyberstalking laws and policies globally, it would be far easy to control it as compared to the current situation, where most of the countries police do not have any clue to how to help the victim.
I hope this article would help you in getting all the queries relevant to cyberstalking.
But if you still have any question or want to ask something feel to contact with us by shouting out your comment below.