According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, "cyber stalking" is threatening communication or unwanted advances directed at another person using the Internet and other forms of online and computer communications. It can involve the use of email, instant messaging, chat rooms, bulletin boards and/or other electronic communication devices to repeatedly harass or threaten another person.
The process of stalking a person in real life generally requires that the perpetrator and victim be in close physical proximity. Cyber stalkers can be across the street, the country, or the globe from their victims. Cyber stalking can cause the same kind of trauma to its victims as "traditional" forms of stalking. Cloaked behind a username, stalkers can be difficult to identify. Some repeatedly change usernames and accounts to slow down or deter the identification process. The anonymity of the Internet makes it easier for perpetrators to carry out their attacks against their victims.
How Cyber Stalking Can Happen -
Cyber stalkers are generally motivated by a desire to control their victims. Statistically, most cyber stalkers are men; however, there are reported cases of women cyber stalking men and same-
Sophisticated cyber stalkers have been known to use computer programs to send messages at random or regular intervals without the cyber stalker even being at their computer terminal. Some impersonate the victim and post personal information along with controversial or suggestive messages on bulletin boards or in chat rooms.
Information for Victims -
Documenting all communication with the offender and any organizations you contact for help in stopping the harassment may be of assistance should the harassment continue. Saved documentation can include all emails, postings, or other communications including log files from IM and chat clients in both electronic and hardcopy format that are not altered or edited in any way. You may want to explore whether you can block the offender through your email program or chat room. If the behavior continues, you may also file a complaint with your Internet service provider (ISP) and your harasser's Internet service provider (ISP). Most ISP's have a department that is available to speak with you.
If the harassment continues, or if at any time you fear for your personal safety, contact your local police department. If the local police are unable to assist you, the Massachusetts State Police, your local District Attorney's office, or the Attorney General's may be able to provide assistance.
For further information about cyber stalking and how to protect visit: www.haltabuse.org, www.nnedv.org andwww.ncvc.org.
According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, "cyber stalking" is threatening communication or unwanted advances directed at another person using the Internet and other forms of online and computer communications.
ARTICLES | BY REMUS HOLLAND
MAY 1, 2014
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