Stalking and cyberstalking are very similar to each other, but there are some key differences parents and teens should be aware of in order to stay safe. For example, stalking involves the obsessive behavior from one person to another. This is typically an annoyance at first involving letters, phone calls, and emails. This will gradually move on to threatening and obscene behavior that becomes dangerous. This is where stalking and cyberstalking are alike. The difference is where it occurs. Cyber stalking is typically something that occurs online, whereas stalking does not involve the Internet as much.
What Are Cyber Stalkers?
Cyber stalkers typically are not able to understand or have any type of comprehension of the fear or apprehension they inflict upon their victims. They believe their victims are deserving of everything they get and, quite simply, they do not care. Cyber stalkers have been put into five different categories so victims can better understand what they are up against.
- Incompetent Suitors: cyber stalkers that are deeply enamored with their victims are often categorized as incompetent suitors. Their entire life revolves around how the cyber stalker plans on how the two of them can eventually become a couple. This person lacks courting skills, yet is constantly trying to make contact with their victim.
- Intimacy Seekers: these cyber stalkers have no negative feelings toward their victims, and simply want to have a long-lasting and loving relationship with them. They believe it is their destiny to be with their victim and that the two of them are soul mates. Celebrities are often the target for these types of cyberstalking cases.
- Predatory Stalkers: of all the cyber stalkers, this category is the most dangerous. This type of cyber stalker is also the most determined of all of them, as well. They are constantly acting out attacks on their victim, and each of their encounters with their victim are premeditated. Predatory stalkers are motivated by sexual perversion, which is the primary reason why they are the most dangerous.
- Rejected Stalkers: they feel like the relationship they were in with the victim should not have ended, and they will do anything to get them back. They will do anything they can do reverse the breakup, including stalking them online.
- Resentful Stalkers: they are fully aware that their victims know they are being cyber stalked, but they do not care. They continue to cyber stalk them as often as they please, and their goal is to continue inflicting as much fear and distress upon their victim as they can. They believe their victim deserves this punishment.
Understanding cyber stalkers, as well as stalkers in the real world, is the first step toward reducing the risks in becoming a victim. Bullying is often intertwined with stalking and cyber stalking as a means of intimidation. While some forms of bullying are vague and seems more like manipulation, there are other types that are more damaging and frightening.
Bullies, stalkers, and cyber stalkers tend to suffer from psychological issues, psychiatric issues, and are motivated by the urge to perform sexual dominance. It is not uncommon for people to believe they are just being harassed when, in fact, some form of stalking is occurring. This is why it is important for parents to take an active role is what their teen is doing on the Internet. Parents should have access to every account their teen is using, they should examine the history on their children’s computers so they know what websites they are visiting, and they should set up parental controls. While it is very difficult for a parent to keep an eye on everything their child is doing all the time, taking active measures is better than doing nothing at all. The Internet is a scary place for an adult, let alone a child or a teen.
The Bottom Line:
Be aware of everything that is going on and, above all, let your teen know they can talk to you about anything should trouble occur. This includes if they have wandered on to a website they know you do not approve of. Rather than become upset with them initially, work with them toward solving the problem so your child does not become another one of the many cyberstalking cases statistics. Once the problem has become resolve, then you can work with your child toward ensuring they do not go on to those types of websites again.