Experts Offer Guidance on Dealing with Online Stalkers

Experts warn of growing cyberstalking threat, citing 3.4 million US victims in 2019, and advise on recognizing signs and reporting suspicious behavior. Authorities are taking action, with over 30 alleged stalkers arrested in Northern Ireland's Derry and Strabane district in two years.

Salman Khan
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Experts Offer Guidance on Dealing with Online Stalkers

Experts Offer Guidance on Dealing with Online Stalkers

As the world becomes increasingly connected through social media and online platforms, the threat of cyberstalking has grown more prevalent. Experts are sounding the alarm about the risks of online stalking and providing advice on how to protect oneself from digital harassment.

Why this matters: The rise of online stalking has significant implications for personal safety and mental health, highlighting the need for increased awareness and education on how tothink and report suspicious behavior. Moreover, the growing prevalence of cyberstalking underscores the importance of developing effective strategies for prevention and intervention.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 3.4 million people, or about 1.3% of the U.S. population, were victims of cyberstalking in 2019. Online stalking can take many forms, including excessive messaging, suspicious knowledge of personal information, and receiving inappropriate gifts from strangers.

Trevor Cooke, an online privacy expert at EarthWeb, highlights four common signs of online stalking: excessive messaging and commenting, unusual patterns in social media interactions, receiving inappropriate gifts, and suspicious knowledge of personal information. "If you notice that a specific user is sending you messages constantly and commenting on all of your posts, this may be a red flag," Cooke warns.

Experts emphasize that online stalking can cause significant emotional and physical damage, and it's essential to report it to the authorities and take steps to safeguard oneself. Paul DelPonte, Executive Director at the National Crime Prevention Council, states,"Stalking is essentially the same, whether it's online or in person. It's a pattern of behavior designed to inflict fear."

If you suspect you are being stalked online, experts recommend reporting the behavior to the authorities, even if it's not explicitly threatening. Document all incidents of unwanted contact, take steps to secure your online presence, and reach out to trusted individuals for support.

The issue of online stalking has gained increased attention in recent years, with high-profile cases like that offormer hostLisa Robertson, who dealt with multiple stalkers throughout her career. Robertson's experience serves as a stark reminder of the impact stalking can have on an individual's life.

As part of National Stalking Awareness Week, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) released updated figures on stalking arrests and Stalking Protection Orders. Over the past two years, more than 30 alleged stalkers have been arrested in the Derry and Strabane policing district alone. The PSNI has trained thousands of officers to recognize and respond to stalking crimes, emphasizing that stalking will not be tolerated within communities.

With the growing prevalence of cyberstalking, it is crucial for individuals to remain vigilant and take proactive steps to protect themselves online. By recognizing the signs of stalking, reporting suspicious behavior, and seeking support, victims can reclaim their sense of safety and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Key Takeaways

  • 1.3% of the US population (3.4 million people) were victims of cyberstalking in 2019.
  • Common signs of online stalking include excessive messaging, suspicious knowledge, and inappropriate gifts.
  • Online stalking can cause significant emotional and physical damage.
  • Report suspicious behavior to authorities, even if it's not explicitly threatening.
  • Document incidents, secure online presence, and seek support if you're being stalked online.