Following on from my earlier post: Are You Keeping Yourself Safe Online, I thought I would elaborate on the list of online stalking behaviours. It is important to note that this list isn’t exhaustive however it covers the most common behaviours and should provide you with a greater insight…
If you’d like to read more about stalking, you can do so here in my post what is stalking …
It is important to be aware that in the UK less than 1% of stalking cases reported actually make it to prosecution… This by no means invalidates the trauma and behaviours experienced by many victims. I would encourage anyone experiencing fixated, unwanted and repeated behaviour either online or offline to reach out for support (links shared below).
01: MONITORING THE VICTIM
Social Media provides individuals a window into the lives of others. It is important to be careful of the information which you share because even a simple photograph can share information which may be useful to an undesirables unhealthy interest in you…
02: COPYING THE VICTIM
This behaviour is quite self explanatory and often referred to as ‘mirroring’. It is something which I am very familiar with. However, I have discovered that I am not alone. From time to time, I’ve read on my twitter mutuals TL’s that their exes new partner is now copying them. I put my money on the fact that this behaviour is not exclusive to twitter. In order for someone to copy somebody else they must be monitoring them regularly. If you notice this is happening to you or a friend keep a record.
03: INFILTRATING THE VICTIMS COMMUNITY
Whilst this is a commonly recognised behaviour within physical stalking, ie: the perpetrator seeking physical proximity it should also be recognised within digitally enabled and online stalking cases. If you think that you are being monitored online it is very likely that you will notice that the individual is circulating within your circles. If you have private accounts it is important to ensure you know your followers.
04: CREATING FAKE ACCOUNTS
Fake accounts are nothing new and it’s important to understand that they are not always created in order to monitor and stalk someone. Fake accounts are more likely to be used to troll and antagonise an individual. If you think this is happening to you, keep a record.
05: DIRECT AND THIRD PARTY CONTACT
If an individual is persistently messaging you, or asking another to do so on their behalf it is important to keep the messages and to pass them onto the authorities. Even when stalking is not present, harrassment may be and this is also a criminal offence in the UK.
06: SEEKING PERSONAL INFORMATION
Here is another reminder to be careful of the information which you share online. It is also imporant to ask your friends and family to do the same. To ensure your safety google yourself, your locations and your associated accounts to make sure that you are comfortable with the information the internet holds on you.
07: MAKING THREATS
Threats do not always involve violence and they are not always directed at the victim. For example: somebody could be persistently messaging you and in order to get you to respond they may threaten to harm themselves or others associated with you. In addition, threats may be towards your family, your friends, your place of work etc…
08: WRITING UNTRUTHS
Writing untruths (named or un-named) can fall into a number of criminal/civil offences. If you feel that somebody is writing untruths about you it is important to keep a record. In January 2020, updated legislation in the UK stated that the victim does not need to be named in order for the offence to have taken place… “Creating social media posts or websites containing malicious or personal content relating to the victim, or referencing things which would have meaning only to the victim” – If you notice this is happening to you or a friend keep a record.
ADDITIONAL REFERENCES – ref: Are You Social Media Habits Healthy
☞ Cyberstalking/Digitally Enabled Stalking: This variation of stalking, is a criminal offence which involves an individual using the internet or other electronic means to stalk and/or harass an individual or group of people. These behaviours include (but are not limited to): false accusations, defamation, slander and libel. Additional behaviours include monitoring, identity theft, threats and seeking personal information which is often accompanied by offline stalking… If you feel that you are using social media in this manner and feel unable to stop, it’s important to reach out and seek help, before your behaviours escalate.
If you feel you are at risk, contact the police.
You can read more information about stalking behaviours and accessing support here:
☞ Online Harrassment and Cyberbullying: Online Harassment is a method of bullying which is instigated via the internet and using mobile devices. Online harassment has the potential to cause social and psychological impact to victims and online bullying behaviours may include the following: sending insults and threatening messages, posting unkind and inappropriate messages online, sharing someones personal or embarrassing information online, creating hate sites to isolate individuals, sharing unflattering and personal images (including nudes), impersonating an individuals identity to represent them in a negative manner and for not strategic reason, continuously attacking them in online gaming.
A more recent and underhand method of online bullying/harassment is subtweeting, predominantly prevalent within school children and teenagers. Subtweeting is the internet equivalent of talking about someone behind their back. The development of subtweeting is one of the more insidious digital trends started within recent years. Subtweeting is a common method of harassment used when the perpetrator/bully has been explicitly told not to contact the victim directly or to refer to them in an identifiable manner.
Whilst all of the above are considered to be behaviours of online stalking, the individual behaviours may not be stalking. It is important to identify a pattern of behaviour and a course of conduct. However, if any individual is making you feel uncomfortable there is help available.
When it comes to stalking, there are some steps you can take in order to protect yourself and make yourself a little safer however, I feel it is important to note that these behaviours are unlikely to deter and prevent stalking behaviours. If you feel you are being stalked please reach out…
a list of appropriate resources are listed here: