What is cyberstalking?
Cyberstalking is a criminal practice in which a person uses the internet to systematically harass or threaten someone. This crime can be committed through email, social media, chat rooms, instant messaging clients, and other online media. Cyberstalking can also occur in conjunction with the more traditional form of stalking, in which the perpetrator harasses the victim offline. There is no single legal approach to cyberstalking, but many governments have made this practice criminal.
Cyberstalking is sometimes referred to as internet stalking, e-stalking, or online stalking.
Cyberstalking is one of several cyber criminals made possible by the internet. It overlaps with Cyberbullying and cyberluring using many of the same techniques. Social media, blogs, photo sharing sites, and many other commonly used online sharing activities provide cyberstalkers with a wealth of information to help them plan their harassment. By collecting personal data (profile pages) and taking notes on places visited (photo tags, blog posts), the cyberstalker can begin to keep an eye on a person's everyday life.
The National Center for Crime Victims (NCVC) suggests that victims of cyberstalking take the following steps:
In the case of minors, inform parents or a trustworthy adult
File a complaint with Cyberstalker's ISP
Gather evidence, document instances, and keep a log of attempts to stop the harassment
Present the documentation to local law enforcement agencies and explore legal avenues
Get a new email address and increase privacy settings on public websites
Purchase privacy software
Request removal from online directories
The NCVC also emphasizes that a cyber stalk victim should never agree to meet the stalker in person.