Did you know that cyberstalking is among the fastest growing crimes in America? In the U.S., the use of digital technology has become more common and is generally a part of daily life. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone, especially college students, without smartphones or other digital items with them daily.
Unfortunately, when there is easier access to information, there is also the risk of an increase in cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is a compulsive act where one person attempts to manipulate, control, frighten, humiliate, take revenge on, embarrass or harm another person. In general, those who cyberstalk people tend to be angry, hurt or isolated. Some may be sensitive to rejection.
Is checking someone’s profile the same as cyberstalking them?
There is a difference between looking at someone’s profile, leaving messages for them and cyberstalking them. For example, if you meet someone in your college course and go online to look for them on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or another platform, that’s totally normal. It’s not intended to harm them or to scare them.
However, going to that profile and leaving harassing messages, threats, embarrassing photographs or other negative interactions could end up leading to charges for harassment or cyberstalking, especially if it happens multiple times.
True cyberstalking tends to escalate, but it doesn’t have to. So, if you do leave multiple messages on someone’s page, try to get in touch with them after being blocked or continue to cause them anxiety or problems, you could end up facing charges even if you meant them no harm. If they decide to go to the authorities, it’s a good idea to get in touch with an attorney to take steps to protect yourself from the start.
Accusations of cyberstalking should be taken seriously
Any accusations of cyberstalking should be taken seriously, especially because there is likely a collection of digital data that could be used as evidence against you. A conviction for cyberstalking could end up leading to anything from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. These could end up costing you thousands in fines or result in a prison sentence.