Dear Calgary Cyber Safety Examiner:
Cyber Stalking- what is it? How would you spot it? And when and how do you report it? If you can answer these questions for me that would be great.
Last article we answered what Cyber Stalking is and the current rates and percentages within Canada and the Calgary market place for all computer users. When we speak of computers we do include computing devices such as: Androids, Blackberry’s and Iphones. Calgary has a high computing device market as such we have to include them as stalking happens via sms, text and messenger systems.
So how would you spot Cyber Stalking if it happened to you or a friend? Do Google and Facebook stalk you as well for your preferences?
Cyber Stalking like the more common in person stalking usually starts with something simple.
What motivates stalkers?
Love-Obsession, Hate, Revenge, Vendettas
Ego & Power Trips
Cyber Stalker profiles:
The “simple” obsessed stalker– is anything but simple. They are, characteristically, the person who refuses to believe that a relationship is over, although they have been told repeatedly that it is. Many of them were emotionally abusive and controlling during the relationship and many even have a criminal record unrelated to stalking.
This is the most common type of stalker.
The delusional stalker– they frequently have never had any contact with their victim beyond the boundaries of their own mind. They may suffer from mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or erotomania. What they have in common is a false belief that keeps them tied to their victims. In erotomania they believe that the victim loves them, even though they have never met. A good example of this is the man that stalked and killed Rebecca Schaeffer.
Another type of delusional stalker- may believe that he and the victim are destined to be together and even though they may not have met if he only just shows how much he loves her then she will love him and they will be together as it is meant to be. An example of this type of stalker is John Hinckley Jr. that shot President Reagan in order to show Jody Foster how much he loved her.
The delusional stalkers- are usually loners, unmarried, socially immature and do not possess the interpersonal ability to maintain friendships and relationships. They have had few if any sexual encounters. They most often choose victims that are unobtainable being a celebrity or a married woman, their doctor, teacher, nurse or therapist.
Delusional stalkers are very difficult to get rid of and many go on for many years fixated on one person.
The vengeful stalker– They get angry at their victim due to some slight either real or imagined. We have all heard of disgruntled employees, these are vengeful stalkers and can be just as dangerous as the delusional. They stalk to get even and believe that “they” have been victimized. Ex-partners can turn into this type of stalker and violence is all too common a result. Canada and larger centers like Calgary tend to have more vengeful stalking cases by population.
Ego & Power Trip stalkers- are the most difficult to guard against. Like a gang that wanders the streets looking for likely victims, these stalkers are out to prove that they can terrorize someone. And they don’t usually care who it is. They often choose their victims at random. Sometimes they choose someone they perceive as the weakest in the room. The ego & power trip stalkers are the bullies online. And they are looking for a fight.
High percentages of these types of stalkers arise in the tween and teens categories in Calgary’s harassment cases.
Love obsessional stalking- also takes place online. Sometimes you form a casual friendship with someone online, or even a romantic one. When you wish to withdraw from this relationship the other person becomes obsessional. Constantly messaging you or e-mailing you. Even if you have never spoken to this person in real life they may seek you out finding out your offline information so that they can telephone or try to visit or mail you gifts. They may shower you with compliments and love or bombard you with hate mail but the bottom line is the same, they are obsessed and you’re a victim of stalking.
If you feel that someone is obsessed with you, stop all communications immediately. Avoid going to the chat rooms where you meet. Change your online identity if necessary. Yes it is inconvenient, but your safety is at stake and that is more important than convenience. Unfortunately this is the highest percentile set for Cyber Staking and harassment in the Calgary and surrounding areas.
Who are typical targets of online harassment and threats?
Victims include: marital and family court disputes, battered and abused women and widows and widowers, and school-age children, especially young girls. They live with death threats, hacking attacks, Web sites that solicit sex on their behalf, and defamatory postings, sometimes daily. The current laws in Canada allow predators to easily track down their victims.
Google searches and Facebook advertisements have been tracking what you like and sending you what they think are relevant to you. Problem with these issues is that they do this behind the scenes are essentially stalking your Google search and Facebook profiles. Does this mean you’re at risk for anything? No, however, like dealing with stalkers, the less information they have on you the less chance of seeing FB ads or getting Googles versions of your search requirements.
Next: Staying Safe online and how to report Cyber Stalking when it happens