Protection against cyerstalking: an editorial

By SARAH SMAGUR

As the number of people online is increasing, steps should be taken to protect your cyber profile. 

The main place people are being harassed, hacked and stalked is on social media, namely Facebook. 

‘Facebook Stalking’ has become a 21st century phenomenon, but it’s not anything to be taken lightly. 

The first step is to understand what being ‘stalked’ on Facebook might constitute. 

While stalking on Facebook doesn’t have the physical elements of being stalked in the real world, such as being followed or watched, the creep factor tends to feel the same. 

Through Facebook alone, people can garner enough information about you to create alternate profiles, personally attack you and even steal your identity. 

There are five simple signs that may indicate cyber-stalking activities happening on Facebook: 

1. A person failing to leave you alone by posting unwanted wall and photo comments despite your many attempts to ask them to stop messaging you should raise a red flag.

2. Leaving lots of comments suggesting you two spend more time, or even the rest of your lives together, can suggest unhealthy behavior.

3. The use of intimidating or abusive language should not be tolerated. 

4. A person leaving threatening messages should be reported.

5. If you are experiencing a case where someone simply will not leave you alone and keeps posting or sending messages every time you are online, tell someone.

While they may not be nasty or mean, this does constitute obsessive behavior. 

If they won’t take your hints or direct messages seriously, don’t be afraid to block them. 

You can delete them from your friends list, block them from your chat, or block them entirely. 

My advice is that you never respond to a stalker. It encourages them. We all want to be big and bad, but sometimes it better to let your blockin’ to the talkin’. 

Report them to Facebook, and be sure to tell someone, a friend, an RA or an RD. 

Document every single detail, even if you think it’s irrelevant. 

It is recommended that you only add people to your friends list whom you know. 

By doing this, you will eliminate stalkers almost completely. 

Also consider making your profile private so only friends can see your content. Finally, assume the best before assuming the worst. 

They may just have poor Facebook etiquette, or are trying to make a friend in the most awkward way possible. 

Just because someone likes every single selfie you post, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are stalking you. 

The Internet is a vast, magical place we should all be able to enjoy. No one should feel unsafe online.