Online harassment victimizes 40% of Americans. The number of Americans who say they’ve been victims of cyberbullying is frightening. According to the Pew Research Center, online abuse is only getting worse.
Cyberstalking can happen to anyone, and it can damage every aspect of your life, from friendships to your future career. You can encounter many different types of nastiness: harassment, name-calling, sexual harassment, and even death threats.
Just scroll down Twitter long enough and you’re sure to see people doxxing each other. Something as innocent as a disagreement over a movie, a plate of food or the color of a dress can lead to boiling tensions. When you’re interacting with strangers through a screen, it’s easy for dissent to snowball into character assassination and worse.
Anyone can become a victim of cyberstalking – not just celebrities
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, cyberstalking refers to intense online harassment that persists over a long period of time. It’s scary because anyone can attract a stalker’s attention. One Vox reporter says a man she rejected in college stalked her for 15 years.
At first, he insulted her in emails and private messages. The abuse escalated over time. Later, he slandered her in messages to her bosses and friends. Eventually, he even went to government agencies to sabotage her career. She wasn’t famous whatsoever — but a friend turned into a stalker dedicated to destroying her life.
This was more than just cyberbullying. It was full-blown cyberstalking, and it’s the perfect example of the way modern technology makes it easier than ever to abuse others from afar. If you haven’t encountered it yet, you should create a defense strategy ahead of time.
Don’t know how to start fighting online abuse? Try this
To fight back against cyberstalkers, listen to this free episode of Kim Komando Explains. We caught up with a friend of the podcast, cybersecurity expert Ricoh Danielson. He graduated from fighting the Taliban online and on the ground to battling domestic digital threats like cyberstalkers.
You’ll get his expert opinion on the issue, as well as tips for protecting your digital world from people who want to tear you apart. Give it a listen for some essential cybersecurity strategies. It’s the best way to get creeps off your trail!