What is Cyberstalking?

As technology advances, it is important to know how to keep yourself safe while you’re managing social media pages online. It is also important to keep your personal information confidential. This blog post will cover some good tips on how to stay protected online.

October 28, 2020Authors: Emily Glazier and Henry Kenyon

How Does it Start?

Cyberstalking can come in many different forms. These can include, but are not limited to: catfishing, posting one’s private information online, and sending threatening or explicit messages. This can be through unfamiliar followers, or impersonation. Catfishing is when a stalker pretends to be someone else than who they actually are to convince you to communicate with them. Someone may post your information, such as passwords, legal information, or other things you may not want online. A stalker also may send threatening messages, such as threats of bodily harm, or explicit messages or images to disturb or scare you. Some stalkers may try and connect with you by following you on unfamiliar accounts, especially if you personally blocked your cyberstalker. Finally, a cyberstalker may pretend to be you online through impersonation, to steal your information, or to threaten and harass others by portraying the abuser as you.

Psychological Effects of Cyberstalking

There can be a lot of different psychological effects that you could experience while you’re being stalked. It can be really draining and hard for you to resume your daily activities while you are dealing with this situation. It is really important to make sure you reach out to your friends, family, or guidance counselor if you start feeling symptoms of depression. You cannot ignore those feelings as they’re only going to get stronger and hard to deal with as time goes on. You can start to feel separated from life or as if your actions are not as important as they used to be. You can start feeling distanced from others. You might not want to talk to others as much but, you need to make sure you’re maintaining good relationships.

Social Relations

There may be implications to social relationships when you are stalked. There are ways to maintain relationships and stay positive throughout being stalked. You should remain hopeful that the situation will improve, and that you feel comfortable around your friends and those you surround yourself with. You should not feel apologetic or responsible for actions that are not your fault, and you should not isolate yourself from friends, family, and other forms of interaction.

Who Can You Contact?

While being cyberstalked is a terrifying experience, it is very important to reach out to a trusted adult or another person who can handle the situation. You can report content and users to the social media human relations department or report and flag a post/user. You can also report the situation to a parent or guardian, guidance counselor, or school official. Finally, if needed, you can contact local police, state police, or federal law enforcement.

How To Secure Your Online Information

It is nice to have a social media presence, but it is not nice to have your identity stolen. It is important to know what kind of information is being posted on your social media. If you have your school, last name, and phone number on your page where others can see it, it can put you in a vulnerable position. People can use the information provided by you from your page to stalk you and get more information about you. This can be used to harass or blackmail you into doing something you wouldn’t want to do.

Stop Communicating With Your Stalker

When you are being stalked online, there are ways to communicate with your cyberstalker, and there are things to avoid. Primarily, make sure to tell the stalker that you are not interested in a conversation, then stop communicating with them. Make sure to inform a point of contact about the experience. Avoid engaging with the stalker or furthering communication. Do not let the stalker harass you and let them impact your daily routines.

How Do You Get Help?

There are a lot of different resources that can be utilized when you feel like you’re the victim of being cyberstalked. Begin by talking to a parent or guardian to let them know what is going on and so that they can help you through this situation. A positive next step would be to work with your parents to get the police involved to launch an investigation. There are several resources you can reach out to if you are being cyberstalked, such as,

  • Guidance counselors

  • Counselors

  • Parents/Guardians

  • School resource officers

  • Local police

  • State police

  • Federal law enforcement agencies (such as the FBI)

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