Mar 6, 2012

Cyber Stalking.....

I am flattered by your fascination with me...
I noticed how haters have the same qualites as stalkers they obsess over u, don't know when to stop and dont stop til they get wat they want, to annoy the crap outa u....!

Could this be you or someone you know? 

One day as I was sitting in the waiting room of the dentists office, (have been going there almost twice a week it seems was just there again today...sigh), I overheard two ladies talking.  No one is quiet these days so I figure they did not mind me nor the others overhearing what they were saying.  At some point typical of me, I even joined in the "chat" and gave my point of view on the subject.  Before you know it we were chatting away like old friends until it was my turn to see the dentist.

The conversation was mainly about a friend of a friend being "stalked" online.  This was not unusual to hear.  I see this a lot on TV, but the curious thing about this was that the so called stalker was a family member.  I started to get more and more interested as to where this was leading.

To sum it up it seems like the friend was being harassed by email.  I got more curious to hear what this was leading up to.  The lady telling the story said that her friend kept getting some very unpleasant emails.  At first she thought nothing of it.  She responded in a joking way, but eventually the emails just kept coming and coming.  At some point the friend decided to just ignore them thinking this would just put an end to the harassment.

From what I heard this did not work.  Seems like the more she ignored it the more the "stalker" kept sending it.  Demanding to know what was going on, why aren't you answering my email, what's wrong with you and stuff like that. The "stalker" just seemed to get more and more angry when being ignored.

When I got home I was curious to know if this really was something legit.  Is there such a thing as being stalked this way?  So what do I do?  Like everyone with use of a computer I fired up my Google Search.   I actually found this:

Cyber Stalking: A Global Menace in the Information Super Highwa
By K. Jaishankar** and V. Uma Sankary

Cyber stalking is a new form of computer related crime occurring in our society. Cyber stalking is when a person is followed and pursued on line. Their privacy is invaded, their every move watched. It is a form of harassment that can disrupt the life of the victim and leave them feeling very afraid and threatened. Cyber Stalking usually occurs with women, who are stalked by men, or children who are stalked by adult predators or pedophiles. Not all stalking is done by total strangers.  Cyber stalkers need not have to leave their home to find, or harass their targets, and has no fear of physical violence since they believe that they cannot be physically touched in cyberspace.

 They may be on the other side of the earth or a neighbor or even a relative. Their main targets are mostly females, and children. It is believed that over 75% of the victims are female, but sometimes men are also stalked. The figures are more on assumed basis and the actual figures can really never be known since most crimes of such natures go unreported. This theoretical analysis focuses on the typology of cyber stalking, typology of perpetrators and victims and research in cyber stalking.

I remember once talking to Arvid and asking him what would he do if he was ever "stalked" in this way.  Without thinking he said I would just ignore it, delete the email and just act as if I never got it.  Well that seems like a pretty easy way out of the situation, but I wonder if it is actually the solution.

In many ways, stalking via email represents the closest replication of traditional stalking patterns. Given that the most common forms of stalking behavior are telephoning and sending mail, the adoption of email by stalkers is not surprising. As a medium, email incorporates the immediacy of a phone call and introduces the degree of separation entailed in a letter. It might be argued that email stalking is actually less invasive than phone calls because the victim can undermine the interaction by deleting, without opening, any suspicious or unsolicited messages. This argument does, however, deny the social meaning of email communication. As with telephone stalking, email harassment constitutes an uninvited and arguably threatening incursion into private space. As with stalking in the physical world, email stalking can result from an attempt to initiate a relationship, repair a relationship, or threaten and traumatize a person. Interestingly though, those cases which have been prosecuted have tended to fall into the latter category.

After reading the article I realize that it is a serious problem.  If you think you are a victim of any kind of stalking do not hesitate to report it and to make sure you have the right protection.  No one deserves to be in this situation.
Cyberstalking is a recent form of criminal behavoir involving persistent threats or unwanted attention using the Internet and other means of computer communications.  Cyberstalking is a real threat. Due to limited laws, the only real defense is to use caution when revealing personal information on the Internet. The less, the better.  Be careful of what information you "put" out on your profiles on these different Social Networking sites for instance.   Like I said the less you tell the better off you are. 

There is a fine line between serendipity and stalking...