In an online article, Cyber-stalking: the Regulation of Harassment on the Internet, Ellison and Akdeniz explain how the government has had difficulty regulating cyberstalking. Because anyone with a computer and modem can obtain the use of the internet, being anonymous is an easy thing to achieve in the cyber world. This can create challenges for our law enforcement. But what about the other 49% of victims that do know their attackers? Some argue that the solution could be to prohibit the choice of being anonymous. Without that choice, offenders would have to answer for their actions and would be responsible for the consequences. On the other hand, others say that that solution would be harming our freedom of speech. Because people can be anonymous, they can post and share whatever opinions they have without the fear of being reprimanded for their actions. It is understandable that people want to keep their privacy. But at what cost on our society and these cyberstalking victims? There has to be some form of government regulation that can decrease the abuse of the internet.
People who are using the internet, should always be cautious of protecting themselves and their personal information. Ellison and Akdeniz also explain that there are ways to prevent yourself from being a victim. Women should always use a gender neutral name, personal information given over the internet should be kept to a minimum, and to regularly check your profiles to see what information is available for potential stalkers.
These statistics provided by the WHOA (Working to Halt Online Abuse) can tell us a lot about cyberstalking, such as where it generates, why it happens, and who is most likely to become the victim. As society becomes more and more involved with technology, it also increases the ability for people to abuse it. These statistics show that predators can be a person that the victim has encountered, or just a random infatuation. But something that the statistics do prove is that cyberstalking is continuing to increase year after year. Knowing that the problem is not just going to go away over time, there needs to be some type of laws and regulations so that cyberstalkers will face a penalty that they truly deserve instead of a slap on the wrist and their computers being taken away from them.
In this video, a woman tells her story about being stalked and harassed by a former college classmate. Even though this form of harassment happens over a computer, she is still worried for her life. In this particular instance, the man is not anonymous. She knows exactly who he is; and since he was not physically hurting her, the most she could do to protect herself is to get a restraining order. That is why cyberstalking is a problem over the internet. In the video, the legal consultant, Dan Abrams, explains that the lines are blurred on cyberstalking and that the judge just took away his “weapon”, or his computer, thinking that this will solve the problem. People who are cyberstalkers are looking to hurt the victim and boosts their egos. It may seem like the stalkers are physically harmless, and that taking away their computers is the answer, but these victims are scared for their lives as this video shows. Cyberstalkers should receive the same repercussions that other predators receive.
Cyber Stalking: A Global Menace in the Information Super Highway
There are many different motivations that stalkers can have to partake in cyberstalking.
First, and the most common, is sexual harassment. Like I have mentioned before, the internet allows people to be antonymous and makes it easier to stalk.
Another motivation is obsession for love. People begin many relationships via the internet, which can involve people giving away personal information to the other which makes for easy harassment. People can become obsessed with getting into relationships and breaking hearts, which leads to further cyberstalking. In the given article it is said that, “Obsession stalkers are usually jealous and possessive people. Death threats via email or through live chat messages are a manifestation of obsession stalking.”
A third motvation for cyberstalking is revenge and hate. This type of motivation can start with any social media used today such as Facebook and Twitter. If someone posts something hateful or offensive, people can hold a vendetta and begin their revenge through the internet. Individuals post their opinions all over the internet, but that does not come without a price. A person can easily access that information and decide to get revenge and harass a person in an antonymous manner.
Finally, according to the article, ego and power trips are also a common motivation for cyberstalkers. These people are simply “showing off” to their peers and friends and using the victim as an example. They do not exactly have a vendetta against said person, but want to roll with their power trip. These threats can come from anyone like a child, or a grown man. These threats are mainly for show, but can still be emotionally traumatizing for the victim.
Cyberstalking is used by the internet to stalk an individual. It can interfere with friendships and careers. It occurs when a person or person is pursued online by a predator. Most victims of cyberstalking are women stalked by men, or children stalked by predators and pedophiles. Although most targets of cyberstalking are women, men can also be targeted through cyberstalking. Stalkers mainly seek out woman and children who are weak and insecure for easier targets. Cyberstalkers have become a major issue on the internet because it is so easy to partake in. A predator can stalk a person across the world, or a person who lives right next to them. According to this article, Cyber Stalking: A Global Menace in the Information Super Highway, Jaishankar and Sankary define cyberstalking as:
“A group of behaviours in which an individual, group of individuals or organisation, uses information and communications technology to harass another individual, group of individuals or organisation. Such behaviours may include, but are not limited to, the transmission of threats and false accusations, damage to data or equipment, identity theft, data theft, computer monitoring, the solicitation of minors for sexual purposes and any form of aggression. Harassment is defined as a course of action that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would think causes another reasonable person to suffer emotional distress.”
It is also easy for one to access a chat room or email under a false alias, making it virtually impossible to find the true identity of a predator. According to the previously mentioned article, cyberstalkers find and target their victims through websites, chat rooms, discussion forums, open publishing websites and email. The ability to stat antonymous makes cyberstalking such a huge problem in today’s society.
One thing I dislike about the internet is the ability for predators to use it to stalk or harass people. If I could change one thing about the internet it would be to eliminate cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is a form of online stalking that can result in physical and emotional harm. The internet can be a very positive asset to society, but with every new technological advancement comes some negative aspects. In this online article, Straight Talk About Cyberstalking, Marian Merritt expresses that online stalking can include false accusations, monitoring, threats, identity theft, and data destruction or manipulation. There are so many types of ways predators can accomplish cyberstalking. Through emails, social media, and instant messages, it is easy for a person to manipulate another on the internet.
Cyberstalkers use all of these mediums on the internet in order to stalk individuals.