Cyberstalking can have a detrimental impact on a person’s life. It can be the catalyst for huge unwanted changes, such as moving home, and it can leave the victim in constant fear. It’s difficult to know what to do when you are being cyberstalked. This article will tell you a few ways that you safely deal with online stalkers:
What Is Cyberstalking?
Cyberstalking can be defined as ‘the repeated use of electronic communications to harass or frighten someone, for example by sending threatening emails.’ In most cases, a stalker is known to their victim. It is typically an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, a work colleague, or an acquaintance from school. Cyberstalkers, however, are usually complete strangers.
What Do You Do?
It’s crucially important to your safety that you do not engage with your stalker. A stalker’s behavior is aimed at cultivating a behavior with you. If you do not respond, there is a chance, albeit small, that they might go away. If you do engage them, then they will persist and wrongly believe that you feel the same way as them.
Which platform does your stalker harass you on? Do you have an Insta Stalker, a Snapchat stalker, or a Facebook stalker? It’s important to recognize where your stalker pursues you. If you can identify their platform of choice, you can stop using it temporarily until they go away.
Contact the Police
Stalking is not something that law enforcement takes lightly, especially considering all of the cyberstalking cases that have fed into real-world violence over the last few years. They also have a lot of experience in investigating them. Contact the police and explain to them everything that has happened. Do not omit any details.
Constantly document your stalker. Whilst it is easy to put your fingers in your ears and hope that your stalker goes away, in most cases, they won’t. Every single time you notice that they are trying to talk to you, document it through screenshots and videos. That does not mean, however, that you should not block and delete them. You absolutely should! If they contact you on alternative accounts and alternative platforms, keep records. If their obsession spills over into the real world and they begin turning up at your work or school, then take photos and videos of them where possible.
With an online stalker, generally, they are limited to the amount of information that you digitally publish about yourself. Because of this, give online security high priority. Do not publish locations you frequent, your school, or your place of work. Make your passwords as strong as possible and turn on two-factor authentication so that nobody can get into your accounts. Make all of your accounts private.
Tell Your Friends and Family
Notifying your friends and family that somebody is stalking you is also very important. This gives them the opportunity to watch after you and to keep you safe. It is unlikely that, unless things turn violent, that the police will have a car sitting outside your house. This can leave you feeling scared and alone. Your friends and family, however, will be able to stay with you, or conversely, you will be able to stay with them.
Online security shouldn’t be your only concern. Offline security deserves attention too. Do as much as you can to secure your home and your person. Set up cameras, an alarm, and if possible, install a panic button that goes directly to the police. The more you focus on your offline security, the safer you will feel at home.
On your social media accounts, you should lock them down (as previously mentioned) and if you are able to, you should remove everybody from them that is not a close friend or family. In some cases, stalkers have been known to use fake profiles to target their victims. Your stalker could be an old forgotten friend that’s still on your social media.
Cutting back digitally and reducing your online footprint can also protect you. The more you use the internet, the easier it will be for your stalker to harass you. If you stop using the internet, however, then they will not be able to contact you. Turn your location settings off and don’t post your location on social media posts. Location tagging can be a very easy way for your stalker to find you.
Cyberstalking is a big problem. It can ruin lives. All of the tips here can be used to deter a stalker and to protect you from them. Remember: You should always tell somebody when you feel like you are being stalked. Never suffer silently.