Stalking has become a broad term, which is mainly understood in one of two ways. The first is where you have yet to meet someone in person, and you check their social media to get some background information on them. In this article, we’re going to deal with the second way: the isolating and often highly unpleasant experience of being stalked online.
You can protect yourself from stalkers. Enlist the help of a background check service to find out what info is available about you on social media and get it removed to keep it from being misused. Many quality service providers are available, including checkpeople.
What is Social Media Stalking?
There is a fine line between innocent and potentially dangerous behavior. Social media stalking is obsessive or unwanted behavior toward a person that is aimed at coercing or frightening them, and that is expressed through social media. We can’t be sure how often social media stalking happens before dates because people don’t always know that they’re being “stalked.” Looking at someone’s story or reacting to their posts is not problematic in and of itself. It can be a red flag if this comes from a person one has yet to go on a date with.
The Statistics Speak
True cyberstalking can be quite frightful. It’s also more common than you may think. Of course, it’s more common than stalking in-person today. 60% of all stalking cases start through social media or email. More than three-quarters of these cases move to other social networks or services. Just 37% of victims complain to the police. A quarter of all stalkers end up threatening the victim with physical violence.
According to Working to Stop Online Abuse, an organization of volunteers fighting to stop this crime, 60% of cyberstalking victims are women. Almost 40% of victims are under 30, and 30% are between 31 and 40 years of age. Just over half of all victims are single. WHOA further reports that in almost half of the cases, the stalker knew nothing about the victim except for their name.
You can stop people from stalking you on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. On Snapchat, you can block them from looking at your story. To do this, open the app. In the top right, you’ll see the “settings” icon. Click on it and go to “who can.” Under “see my story,” go to the right to “custom,” then select the user name you don’t want to see your story anymore.
As most people use their real names on Facebook, stalking on that particular medium is very easy. However, it’s equally easy to stop people from seeing your posts. Go to Settings, then to Privacy. Set “friends” as the answer to “who can see my posts.” Only your friends will see them from now on. It goes without saying you need to unfriend the person who you feel is stalking you on Facebook.
There are two steps to blocking someone on Instagram. First, you need to go to their profile page. In the top right, there are three small dots. Press on these, then on “block” to confirm. Then, change your account settings to private. You will be asked to give people permission to add you going forward, which is good because it will keep your stalker from starting to follow you again.
Go through the same steps as those above for your own profile, toggling on “private account.” Now, everyone except your followers will need your permission if they want to follow you.
As social media platforms understand the rapid increase in cybercrimes therefore they are always working on coming up with new policies to help you keep your profiles as secure as possible. It is up to you to keep you privacy settings up to date and be vigilant when choosing who you talk to on social media. You can find friends and foes that you never knew excited.
By the time people find out that the person is stalking them, it is mostly too late. Often at times, one fails to even acknowledge the fact that they are being stalked. So instead of looking for the stalker, it is best that you take the security precautions seriously and try to limit what you share on your social media accounts.
Just like anything else, social media are a tool. You can use them to keep up with people you know and like, but you shouldn’t misuse them. The line between following and true stalking is all too easy to cross. Social media have made an unprecedented degree of access to people’s personal information, including their dating history.