Internet stalking is often referred to as cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is a popular form of online harassment. Internet stalkers use various forms of electronic devices to locate, harass and torment their victims. There are laws in place to protect individuals from being harassed, while they are surfing the Internet.

Internet Stalking and Online Safety

These laws are enacted by various states worldwide to include all known forms of internet stalking, that online stalkers are sure to use. Cyberstalkers are smart, daring and creative. They find inventive ways to reach their victims and create havoc in their lives. Laws are designed to protect individuals who fall prey to internet stalking.

Law enforcement has improved on the different techniques they use to catch internet stalkers. They monitor various websites, chatrooms, and social media networks. These are just a few places where internet stalking can and does begin.

As of now, there are three known forms of online stalking that law enforcement monitors:

Cyberstalking. This form of stalking uses the internet to send emails, pictures and other threatening communications. The content sent to the victims is usually malicious and threatening. The language is often offensive, with threats of doing bodily harm. Of all the internet bullying around, cyberstalking is perhaps the worst, and the most feared.

Victims have no idea who is cyberstalking them, and what their intentions are. The victims are constantly looking over their shoulders and waiting for something to happen. This form of stalking keeps the victims in constant suspense. Cyberstalkers seem to know a lot about their victims.

They know what foods they like, which places they like to hang out, which type of clothing and perfumes they were, where they work, and which foods they like to eat. This is scary for the victims because a stalker knows everything personal about their behaviours and lifestyles.

Cyberharassment. While most people want to use “Cyberstalking” and “Cyberharassing” interchangeably, they are different in definition. Cyberstalking works similar to physical stalking, except the bully is using electronic devices to communicate and keep tabs on the victims. Cyberharassment is a mean and vicious act of sending annoying, and pesky email transmissions and instant messages.

Other forms of cyber harassment include posting slanderous, rude, obscene, offensive and negative remarks on websites, social media sites, blogs and chatrooms. The purpose of cyber harassment is to torment the victims and make them uncomfortable in their environment. The harassment does not stop until the stalker is exposed, and sometimes the stalking continues.

The worse type of cyber harassment comes from a supposed friend, who acts shocked and upset at the news of a friend being harassed. In actuality, the person shocked is often the same person who is sending the communications.

What Not to Do In Cyberstalking Situations

The biggest mistake internet stalking victims make is to delete any damaging cell phone and email messages and photos. When it comes time to show law enforcement the incriminating evidence, it is all gone. Without having any proof to show, it is difficult to know who sent the slanderous texts, messages, and pictures.

Electronic devices are not dangerous on their own, but they can become dangerous weapons for cyberstalkers. These devices are used to hurt people and destroy lives. Internet stalkers take their victim’s personal information and share this information with third parties. For example, they might send an obscene email to someone, using the victim’s email address or telephone number.

This is when internet stalking goes beyond the rim of the internet, by making the victim feel physically unsafe. The main purpose of internet stalking is to make victims feel helpless like a mouse in a trap. The internet stalker wants unlimited control and power over the victim. This is best done by letting the victims know that their every move is being watched, recorded or monitored.

Most internet stalking cases stem from a jilted lover, who is bitter and angry over an ended relationship. The internet stalker chooses the internet as the ultimate form of punishment. The plan is to inflict fear in his or her victim and to include some form of torment. Men usually harass women on the internet, but women are just as likely to become internet stalkers as well.

Laws and Internet Stalking

Many states have laws that protect victims of internet stalking. Repeatedly harassing someone on the internet is considered internet stalking. When individuals sign in to their social web page, they might have nasty, vicious messages posted on their home page. They might even have disgusting, obscene text messages on their cell phone, or on their online email account.

Individuals who believe they are victims of internet stalking should contact their local authorities. Once a report is filed the authorities can follow up and start an investigation. Every piece of communication from an internet stalker should be saved. The internet provider should be contacted and made aware of the situation. Victims are encouraged to file a complaint with the service provider at the time of contact. Victims should never reveal their location on any sites, especially social media sites.

Internet stalking victims need to protect themselves. By reporting the crime of internet stalking, the victims may protect themselves from any future harm. Victims who are suspicious of any person they may have come into contact with should bring this to the attention of the authorities. Internet stalking is a crime, and it is punishable according to the state laws, in which the crime is committed. Internet stalking laws may or may not be available in many states.