When it comes to the Internet many of us feel that we are safe because we are sitting behind a computer and nobody can see us, but this is not true. If you take a minute to think about it you will see that people who want to hurt others or cause trouble are thinking the same thing. They think that because nobody knows who they are that they can’t get in trouble for harassing or abusing others over the Internet, which leads us to cyberstalking.
Most often cyberstalkers find their victims in some type of online forum, such as chat rooms, bulletin boards, online groups, MySpace, etc. Once the cyberstalker finds their victim there are numerous things that they can do to them, but the key to cyberstalking is that the behavior is repeated. Cyberstalkers, like physical stalkers, will harass and abuse their victims because they enjoy scaring and harassing other people. But something to keep in mind is that cyberstalking, like stalking, is not always done by someone you know; the person stalking you can be a complete stranger that has suddenly fixed on you for some reason.
Here are some signs that you are a victim of online stalking and harassment.
One thing that you are going to need to look for is to see if the person is following you online. Most stalkers tend to follow their victims wherever they go, which in the physical world this is easy enough to determine, but not everybody knows how to figure this out online. One way to tell if the person is following you online is if they are visiting the same message boards that you are and they didn’t belong to the message board until after they met you. Or they follow you around from chat room to chat room no matter how hard you try to avoid them.
You are receiving numerous emails from the same person after you have already told that person you don’t wish to talk with them. The person basically ignores your one letter of communication and repeatedly sends you email covering all sorts of different topics. Most of the time the emails are a personal nature rather than forwards, but you need to realize that even forwards can count when it comes to unwanted emails.
Something else that you can look for when it comes to online stalking and harassment is the person not stopping the behavior. What this means is that they are constantly insulting you or threatening you regardless of what is going on. Or they can also be super nice to you and offer to help you. It doesn’t matter what it is they are doing but when they are stalking you online they are going to be repeating the unwanted behavior.
Something else that you need to look for is people who are directing things, such as comments or suggestions, directly to you. Basically you are feeling singled out because this person always comments on what you have said or makes some kind of remark in response to what you have posted. The posts can be verbally abusive, but they can also just give you a bad feeling. Either way you should take notice and be aware of what is going on because it can mean they are stalking you.
Keep in mind that just because it starts off as innocent behavior or online stalking that doesn’t mean that it will end there. You never know when the online stalker might take it to the next level. Therefore, it behooves you to be cautious and careful in all of your online dealings.