Am I a cyber-stalker?
We are stalkers.
Stock images of strangers, live on our screens .
Stocking up the details of strange talks.
What happened to daytime walks?
Seeing without reading .
Watching without listening .
Listening without thinking
Draining our brains of gains
Watching is doing.
Doing is watching.
Brainwashed as I type this on an iPhone.
I am becoming more like you. You are becoming more like me.
Slowly we are turning back into Adam and Eve, with a stroke of a Ludwig filter.
Is this who we want to be?
Are our everyday behaviors considered stalking?
Social media stalking is so widespread, we do not even realize we are doing it anymore. You know how a random person lands on your explore page on Instagram.
The next thing you know you find yourself of their grandma’s Facebook Page. Or even worse, you liked a picture from four years ago.
Oops, I can feel your exhale from here. Every time somebody breaks up, there seems to be a rise in people stalking their ex, and their new partner.
Is that considered stalking? What is cyberstalking?
To expand, the legal definition of cyberstalking according to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary is:
Ok, so I likely wrongly called you a stalker in the title. If you are not threatening someone you are not really stalking them. But you are being a nosy busy body.
Honestly, I prefer someone liking my picture from a year ago than an anonymous stalker. In this case I just assume it someone who is curious. I don’t mind.
There are different levels of stalking. When we start obsessing over a significant other’s page, really, we are only torturing ourselves.
This is a type of social media soft stalking, that is mostly harmless. In detail, in this post, soft stalking refers to the legal type of stalking.
The routine thing everyday people do that is actually soft stalking:
- Going through people’s social media pages before going on a date. A quick browse is ok. But when you find yourself on their grandparent’s page, you know you have gone too far.
- Checking on exes on social media. Keeping in the loop, through their friends or mutual friends.
- Taking pictures of people that are hot and sharing it on group chats.
- Making fake pages to snoop on people.
The main issue is we are losing a sense of boundaries and personal space. We all know not to touch someone next to us. Or else we can get a harassment claim. However, many people don’t blink an eye after taking pictures and videos of people in public.
Don’t be a stalker: Respect people in public spaces
Disturbingly, there is a TikTok trend, where people record someone, they find good looking. Afterwards, they tell social media users to find them.
To me, that sounds scary and weird. I would be extremely freaked out if someone took a video of me, without my permission and posted it on social media. No, I would not feel flattered.
One video especially struck a chord with me because it was of a waiter, who was simply at work, when people violated his privacy.
Specifically, they videotaped him, and shared it on TikTok. He looked uncomfortable and annoyed. But he couldn’t say anything because he was a waiter.
Guys can get uncomfortable too. I think too many times, we are quick to say it is weird when a guy does this, because it is. But guys can also get uncomfortable. Why don’t we all just respect each other?
When things turn dangerous, it can get scary.
Cyber-stalkers use technology to abuse partners
Technology, in all its grandeur can be a type of abuse. Scarily, some partners or ex-partners use a fake social media presence to be omnipresent– to keep tabs and be everywhere.
Then, the technology is manipulated and used to punish victims by sharing sexual pictures. Humiliation, punishment, isolation can all be used to cyber abuse partners.
Spotted a stalker and an abuser on Facebook
One 2011 study looked at social media stalking in university and found that a considerable amount of people cyber-stalked others. The researchers found that Facebook harassment can extend to: venting, public harassment, and anonymous/incognito provocation.
Is hacking a type of cyberstalking?
A stalker and a hacker 😭
Recently, a young relative of mine got hacked. She sweetly and naively pressed a link from someone who messaged her, pretending to be someone she knows.
An amateur hacker, likely a friend, or somebody she knows hacked her account. Thankfully, she was able to get her account back, through changing her password.
What struck me as weird, was that the person was not really harassing others.
Sharing weird images or even posting things onto her Instagram story. Instead, the hacker was messaging others through Instagram messenger.
In a way, the stalker’s actions seemed weird because he or she seemed to be snooping. Trying to find out information and start conversations.
In my eyes, it seemed like someone who was trying to get close to her, to read and spy on her intimate messages.
The perpetrator struck more as a stalker than a hacker. Someone so desperate to know who she talks to.
Why is cyberstalking so widespread?
Despite an increase in cyberstalking and other cyber-crimes, people seldomly report these claims to the police.
A 2018 Dutch study found that cyber-crimes were among the least reported crimes.
Of course, rates can differ from country to country. Perhaps, the anonymity of the crime, might have something to do with the underreporting.
People think what can we do? They will never get caught. It is just a waste of my time and a hassle.
Maybe there is an element of self-blame. This was my fault since I was duped into pressing the button. However, it is not your fault.
These people make it their job to make people fall into traps. You just have to report it. Even if you think the police are useless. They just might be able to trackback the incident to its source.
I am paranoid about cybercrime
Luckily, I never had to report a cybercrime. Although, I am very paranoid about being the victim of one.
I never leave damning information on my messenger apps or any blackmail worthy material because I always feel like I am being watched. Even though I am not.
It was anonymous, so it doesn’t count.
Anonymous stalking is scary because you don’t know who is watching. An abusive ex. A pedophile. Your ex. Maybe, a harmless person who has a crush. Nonetheless, he or she is a stalker.
There is an Instagram or Insta story stalker app that lets you look at people’s stories anonymously. To me , that is extremely creepy.
How to report a cyber-crime in Lebanon: Stop your stalker
Ok, so you were hacked. Stalked. Or your identity was robbed. Now, we act. The security forces site has a page that documents how to stay safe from cyber-crime.
There is a form you can fill out online to report the crime (without having to go in person). There is also a cybercrime and Intellectual Property Bureau number you can call: 01/293293.
Don’t think it is useless. Remember, not all hackers are created equal. Some hackers are amateurs, so you can catch them. You don’t know who you have behind the screen.
If you don’t live in Lebanon, just go to your country’s government site or internal security site, you will likely find a form online.
In conclusion, cyberstalking is something that really scares me. Mostly, because I do not know how to deal with it. Are we raising a generation to be stalkers? Only with different levels, some more toxic than the other?
Today, with more people being at home, it has left people with a lot of boredom. Likewise, having more time to explore stalking, hacking, and other cyber-crimes. We need to stay safe as much as possible. Watch out for the creeps.
If you enjoyed this post about cyberstalking, read more about narcissism on this post.
Have you ever been stalked?