6 Need-To-Know Tips For Stopping Cyberstalking and Online Harassment
Though the Internet has transformed our lives in many positive ways, no one can deny that it also has its dark, and dangerous sides. In an online world in which millions of anonymous strangers can see so much about us and our lives, it is no surprise that email address hacking, online harassment, and cyberstalking have become a disturbing new problem.
These days, it's not uncommon to hear about people receiving unwanted or obscene messages from strangers to their email address, or even to hear horror stories about a friend's personal information getting posted onto online message boards and communities by angry acquaintances or co-workers.
Luckily, you have the power to protect yourself. By following a few simple guidelines, you will be well prepared to protect yourself from even the worst forms of online harassment, and to surf the web without fear:
- If you are the victim of online harassment, break contact immediately, and do not respond to any of the aggressor's provocations. Very often, cyberstalkers, especially those writing in chat rooms and internet forums, will stop if you do not pay any notice to them.
- Save all communications that the harasser sends to you. Should the situation worsen, this will be your best weapon to take to the proper authorities.
- In most contexts, the easiest and most effective way to eliminate the problem is to "block" the perpetrator's messages. Nearly all social networking, chat and email programs have a block feature, which will systematically filter out any messages from the email address or screen name you specify.
- If, after the above actions, the harassment somehow still continues, you may consider sending the aggressor one clear and direct warning message, explaining that you are preparing to pursue legal action. After this message, discontinue communication once again.
- In order to learn the identity of an online stalker, the best strategy is to use an email search service to conduct a reverse email lookup. If you input an email into one of these services, they can find for you the identity and location of the email address's owner.
- As a final measure, you may wish to contact the perpetrator's Internet service provider and report the behavior (remember, you have all the records to prove it!) They may then take action to stop the aggression, by canceling the stalker's Internet service or reporting them to law enforcement.
And of course, in addition to these strategies, there is one even more basic one: be sure to carefully choose the websites you frequent, and the people you deal with online. With common sense and vigilance, and knowledge of what to do in an emergency situation, you will be able to forget about online harassment once and for all.