You just met a rather cute guy in class today. You don’t really know him personally, but you figured out his name when you eavesdropped on his conversation with a friend. Getting back home, you went on to Facebook and thought, “There’s no harm checking out what he’s up to.” You typed in his name and there appeared to be no match. You then went on to the page of someone else who seemed likely to be a mutual friend and searched through his friend list.
Aha! There you go. You found the cute guy’s page…only to discover he had his photos set to “friends only.”
I wonder if this scenario sounds familiar to you. Whether or not, you know it yourself.
Cyberstalking used to involve a cyber stalker and victim who’ve had a prior romantic relationship that went down. Now, with the help of social networking sites, cyberstalking can never be easier.
Either you are the stalker, or the one being stalked, cyberstalking must have, at some point, came up in your life. The intention of stalkers varies. It may be simple as the one in the intro, or go as far as harassing, or even blackmailing the victim.
A cyberstalker from the University of Florida once posed as a former sorority sister on Facebook and requested nude pictures from the sorority girls, threatening to kick them out of the sorority if they do not comply.
According to national figures, victims of cyberstalking tend to be females of ages 18-29, especially those at college. While you may still be cyberstalking your crush or your ex on Facebook, do remember to protect yourself from potential cyber stalkers.
When someone send you a friend request, do not accept it just yet. Check if you actually know the person, or do you guys have any mutual friends.
Some people take pride in having lots of “friends” (which I can never get why, since those are friends with quotation marks and the number of “friends” you have on Facebook is usually disproportional to the number of friends you have in real life) and they accept all friend requests. That is when you invite cyber stalkers into your life. Even if you and that person have a mutual friends, check who that mutual friends is. If that person is someone you know but never ever talk to, think before accepting the request.
Another way to protect yourself from cyber stalkers will be conducting an internet search using your name and phone number every now and then. The idea may feel a little weird, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Would you rather be doing the awkward internet search once in a while, or be sending nude pictures of yourself away? Decide for yourself.
Social networking sites often require you to expose a lot of your personal information like age, personal interests and photographs. These things may be where the fun begins, but bear in mind things posted online were often never removed.
When you think about it, the culprit of cyberstalking is probably the prevailing social networking sites. But then again, you shouldn’t expect anything less. As the saying goes, “Facebook – making things AWKWARD since 2003.”