Stalking someone via social media has become an all to common situation and is know as cyber stalking. Many social media users don't even know that they are being stalked until it's too late. Understanding the difference between stalking and simply following someone for educational reasons is something that this article will share.
Understanding social media or cyber stalking is important and the list below will help you become more familiar which how social media or cyber stalkers behave:
- Follows everything and/or documents everything that a particular person does or says online
- Can't go a day without contact with a particular person
- Makes sure that you are in constant contact with a particular person
- Gets upset if this particular person shows any favoritism to another person online or offline
- Posts information or spread rumors about a particular person on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth
- Gives unwanted gifts to a particular person
- Makes frequent unrequited contact with a particular person and gets upset when they don't respond
The list could go on and on but this gives you a general idea about stalking and can help you identify if you are being stalked or if you are a stalker. Identifying either is important and if you realize that you are being stalked or that you are a stalker, GET HELP.
For those being stalked, you can contact your local police enforcement unit to alert them to the fact that you are being stalked. Make sure that you have documentation about being stalked. Also make sure that you confide in a close friend that you trust so that you can have a supporter through the entire process. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, regarding stalking laws…
While the federal government, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories have enacted criminal laws to address stalking, the legal definition for stalking varies across jurisdictions. State laws vary regarding the element of victim fear and emotional distress, as well as the requisite intent of the stalker. Some state laws specify that the victim must have been frightened by the stalking, while others require only that the stalking behavior would have caused a reasonable person to experience fear. In addition states vary regarding what level of fear is required. Some state laws require prosecutors to establish fear of death or serious bodily harm, while others require only that prosecutors establish that the victim suffered emotional distress. Interstate stalking is defined by federal law 18 U.S.C. § 2261A.
For those who are the stalker, know that it is wrong and that laws are in place or being put in place to deal with those who stalk others via social media. Whether you think it is all innocent or not, cyber stalking or social media stalking is wrong.
- Article: Are You Being Stalked?
- Article: Cyberstalking
- PDF: Stalking Victimization in the United States
- Article: Facebook Testing a “Stalker Button”
SPECIAL QUESTION: Is social media making it easier for cyber stalkers to stalk someone (i.e., Foursquare of Facebook checkins)? Please share your thoughts.