Wednesday 24 November 2010

Cyber stalking

This article contains a detailed look inside the criminal profile of the cyber criminals, known as Internet stalkers. As the twenty-first century expands online, so does social media communication, with this the incidents of stalking via the Internet is increasing. This article also contains details on what to do in the event of cyber stalking.

In the midst of a global technological revolution, in this twenty-first century, connective devices have become a daily part of our lives. With the birth of social networking, users now have become their own media; publicly sharing opinions, debating in subjective accordance, communicating with other users within a diverse Internet community, publishing experiences through personal blogging, or appeasing the thirst for knowledge by means of unlimited Web content. With the Internet becoming increasingly public, societies adaption to social media has also lead to the increase of cyber crimes; the most common form Internet stalking/bullying.  Stalkers use their technological connections to harass a person or group of people through a variety of methods that are not limited to; false accusations, obsessive monitoring, mimicking or stealing ones identity, threatening, soliciting sexual activities, plagiarism of the victim’s content and unique ideas, gathering information for future attacks, and/or breeching computer security to hack or gain IP address. The drive of the cyber stalker is to cause distress to their victim(s) while gaining personal pleasures through unreasonable justifications.  While most novice cyber stalkers pose no threat, other than that of annoyance; the criminal actions of cyber stalking have lead to sexually motivated crimes, kidnapping, and death.   
Cyber stalkers find their victims through various mediums such as social networking sites, search engines, online forums, message boards, chat rooms, or through electronic mail. These cyber stalkers behave with vile mannerisms such as the defaming of character to damage the victim’s reputation, contacting those connected with the victim in attempts to falsely accuse them with the hope that others turn against their victim, and/or creating fictitious accusations that are publicly posted on various social mediums online. Mostly associated with mental illness, a cyber stalker may choose to live vicariously through the victim by stealing content, parroting actions, or mimicking behaviors. This plagiarism happens after the stalker compulsively monitors the victim so to gather information – this monitoring usually takes place without the victim’s knowledge. A great deal, if not all, of that gained information is later used to satisfy the stalker’s unreasonable needs. In the attempt to gain information, the Internet stalker seeks out victim’s friends and/or family members to obtain personal information; such as photos, addresses, employment information, information about known traumatic life experiences, and other forms of private information. While most cyber stalkers act on their own, to appease their egos and gain satisfaction of their crimes; some encourage third parties to add to the distress and to continue the harassment. The Internet stalker then creates a tangled web of lies when the victim tries to put an end to the cruelty; these falsifications are usually done to place the blame on the victim. The stalker will seek attention by claiming it is the victim who is burdening them in the same ways that they are doing to the victim.
As diverse as mankind, in this newly defined technologically advanced world, so is the cyber stalker. Not limited to age, sex, or race; the cyber stalker’s profile is varied. The psychological profile, of the cyber stalker, is not limited to; living in a small or single room apartment, having bad personal hygiene, having very poor social skills so that they may have a limited number or no friends, knowing no life outside of the Internet due to insecurities that make them fear the real world, or having unique traits such abnormal beliefs about concrete facts. It is fairly common for the Internet stalker to take no pride in their appearance; often having facial hair, unmanaged or matted hair, body odor, dirty fingernails, unshaven areas of hair, and an overall unclean look due to their failure to bathe regularly.  These cyber criminals may live in a filthy environment; sleep on crusty unclean sheets, use a grimy bathroom, urinate and defecate in pots or buckets, and may live on quick fix foods; such as pizza, soda, microwave dinners, or crock pot experiments. These illicit individuals usually have not held down a job in months, work from home, or talk wildly about a job they do not have. Internet stalkers may also have varying unpleasant personal characteristics such as a lack of intimacy, tormented sexual fantasies that may involve causing pain to others, a troubled existence, criminal background, sexual inadequacies, varying untreated mental illnesses, a heightened ego, or fail to understand the personal needs of others. Cyber stalkers have little to no control over their abusive behaviors. Leading to more mystery, the cyber stalker will falsely claim one or more of these common profile descriptions in a method to appear normal to others. New-aged cyber bullies usually have more than a single victim; these stalkers are referred to by police and mental health councilors as serial cyber stalkers. Serial cyber stalkers may resort to violence or profane actions to seek attention, behaving as a small child having an attention orientated tantrum. These criminals may threaten the life of the victim, attempt to lessen the victims self esteem, degrade the victim, attempt to defame the victim publicly, wish death upon the victim and the family of the victim, and even gain personal information through IP address. Based on the skill of the criminal, a single Internet Provider (IP) address can reveal the given name and exact address of the victim. Internet stalkers will often blather of their IP successes to their victim(s). With this information the stalker may take his/her sickening obsession from the Internet and into the real world -– increasing the danger. It is these Internet to real world stalkers that are wanted in criminal cases; such as sexual assaults, kidnappings, and even murders. With online harassment increasing, and growing in technological dangers, it is very important for victims to protect themselves.
Those who find themselves as the victim of an individual with any of the above described behaviors should know they are not alone, as the influences of technology increases so does the crime of twenty-first century cyber bullying. Some Internet stalkers will keep more than one victim as their own trophies, unjustly viewing the victims as weaker links. Victims are encouraged by both authorities and mental health professionals to report these individuals. Reporting can be accomplished through social media networking medium, website owners, and to local law enforcement, based on the type of stalking. Victims need to be aware that if reported and the stalking does not cease or if they feel their life’s are in danger, law enforcement should be contacted. In this changing society no one should be forced to live with such criminal annoyances. The following rules should be followed, when dealing with such behaviors as the protection of oneself is extremely important on the Internet.
Rule One -- The cyber stalker should not be responded to, interacted with, or engaged. Ignoring a cyber stalker is not as easy as it sounds, due to the fact that it is only human nature to act with self defenses or in the defense of family and friends. One should know never to argue with a cyber stalker, as these stalkers seek any and all attention they can receive. They do not act with maturities, or uphold the same values and morals, so any exchanges in social communication with a cyber stalker will be lost on the immature mentality of these mentally deficient criminal minds.
Rule Two –- Any and all transactions should be kept and filed away for the victim’s records. If the harassment occurs by email, file the abuse in a separate folder titled ‘abuse’ and print the email for a second method of record keeping. If the harassment occurs by website or social media network, screen captions should be taken at the very second that harassment is observed. These should be saved on the hard-drive in a folder titled ‘abuse’ and, again, printed for secondary records. Cyber stalkers are bullies that are very obsessive in their actions; many times these stalkers will close down accounts, change names, change emails, and so forth but continue the harassment. This is due to the belief that if they can change the information, they cannot be traced –- this is untrue in all forms. Transactions on the Internet are recorded through the database services of websites and also on the stalkers computer which cannot be deleted. This simply means that even if the stalker deletes public information, a copy of that information will always remain either on the network or the personal computer of the Internet stalker. In spite of this, information should always be copied by the victim and kept in a folder for their own records. These newly created names are very important to be recorded, as well.
Rule Three –- Attempt to understand the bully through the above profile, or through an online search for ‘cyber stalkers’. Understanding the bully may make it easier for the victim not to converse with the criminal behaviors. This research will show that when dealing with an Internet stalker, mental illness may be evidently manifested in their behaviors. Victims should note that when dealing with this type of ruthless delinquent, they are not dealing with individuals who behave with the same maturities and morel standings. However, while it may be human nature to pity the stalker, the victim should never allow that pity to come between proper punishment of the senseless attacks.
Rule Four –- Seek out help, while annoying sometimes a stalker can indeed be dangerous. If the abuse does not cease in due time, contact your local law enforcement and do not give up. Give to the police all collected information and a complete description of the stalkers behavior, along with any personal information if known. These cases will be left open, added to, and properly investigated by detectives.
Rule Five – Act as an observer as it is probable that the stalker has more than a single victim. Observations can be reported also, to the police. Again, record this observed behavior, file it away with the personal abuse, and report this in full context to those handling the reported case. Again, all stalking cases will be left open until the stalker is captured and not closed until punished accordingly. These authorities, bound by legalities, leave these cases open for new abuse to be collected via reports, observations by both the victim and detectives to be recorded; and notes to be added, by criminal detectives, with acquired personal information. These detectives may log on to the Internet stalkers account to view the harassment personally, recording each transaction, and allow their detection to be known by the owners who will comply with the investigation due to possible lawsuit via communications act.
In any event, rule one should always be observed for those who are victims of cyber stalking; don’t respond, interact with, or engage the bully. Negotiations or mediations are lost due to the unreasonable justifications Internet stalkers form -- as an act of convincing themselves they are not to blame. After an in-depth investigation, mental health counseling is usually warranted; and can be done by 72-hour mental health warrant. Jail time is another outcome of these cases along with a civil or criminal lawsuit created by the victim. In this lawsuit the Internet stalker must pay for the legal fees of both the victim and self. In this twenty-first century everyday life has been affected by both computers and Internet connectivity, yet all users reclaim the rights to be treated with respect. While any shared opinion may result in disagreement or debate, when a user notices he/she is being followed, mimicked, threatened, or abused a case of cyber stalking may be in occurrence. Again, the victim should know their rights of online protection and the criminal behavior of Internet stalking should be punished in accordance with the law.

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