Online stalking – What can you do to prevent it?
Paul Bocij, author of the book Cyberstalking: Harassment in the Internet Age and how to protect your family from cyberspace threats, states that cyberstalking is another form of aggressive and alternative behaviour that is conducted through technological avenues in order to hassle and harass individuals. In recent years, individual’s dependence on technology, such as the Internet, has increased dramatically. With the need to engage in online activities such as e-mail, instant messaging and searching, it is clear to see why cyber-stalking is on the rise.
Cyberstalking and online harassment affects people worldwide and is a social problem that can have serious consequences for those involved. Alexandra Katehakis, writer at the Huffington Post and author of the article protect yourself from cyberstalking notes that individuals that are victims of cyber-stalking may find the attention flattering at first, however the effects of cyberstalking could be devastating. Katehakis posits that “the eroding of boundaries and losing power over one’s consent is terrifying whether in person or online. It’s the psychological harm that these patterns incur not where the perpetration happens”.
Advice for protecting your loved ones
Cyberstalking should be taken very seriously and it is crucial to take note of how to protect yourself or your loved ones when engaging in online dating or in chat rooms. Katehakis states that “the aim of the cyberstalker is to make the victim feel humiliated, powerless or degraded”. Cyberstalking is compulsive and due to its nature it is very unlikely that the perpetrator will stop his or her behaviour. Preventative measures need to be taken in order to have boundaries where you and your loved ones feel safe and protected in the virtual world.
Follow these guidelines below in order to prevent and decrease the risk of cyberstalking
- Do not give out your full name and personal details as this can assist a perpetrator in tracking you
Communication is essential. Speak to your loved ones about cyberstalking and the risks that are involved in entertaining such activities
- Change your password every month for online sites in order to stay protected from hacking and stalkers
- Do not accept friend requests if you do not know the person or have never met them
- Set security settings on your social media accounts
- Remember that you have the option to block anyone that is displaying unwanted behaviour online
- Do not share personal details about where you live