What Are the Psychological Effects of Being Cyberstalked?
As the virtual world becomes bigger and more advanced, the risks we face while surfing the world wide web have grown exponentially. One significant danger that we face online is the risk of being cyberstalked.
In many ways, cyberstalking can be just as detrimental to a victim’s well-being as in-person stalking. This is likely because, as a society, we are always on our phones, swiping through Instagram or scrolling on Facebook, making it challenging to escape cyberstalking if it is constantly in your face.
What Is Cyberstalking?
According to a study done by Harvard, in the United States, 8.2 million women and 2 million men have experienced stalking at some point in their lives. Cyberstalking is defined as the use of the internet to stalk or harass any individual, group, or organization. Cyberstalking can include the spread of false information about another, slander, and defamation. Some other common actions related to cyberstalking include:
- Monitoring someone without their knowledge or consent
- Committing identity theft
- Threatening to release information or images if the victim does not do what the stalker wants
- Sending excessive amounts of messages through social media platforms
- Sending threatening texts, posts, or messages through social media
While cyberstalking may not be a physical, in-person act against another, it is just as damaging and can severely psychologically affect the victim.
Common Psychological Effects of Being Cyberstalked
Cyberstalking can come in many different forms, but the psychological effects on the target of the cyberstalking can be highly damaging. Victims of cyberstalking often will take defensive actions like changing jobs or schools, taking time off from working, and in extreme cases, relocating to another town or city in hopes of escaping their stalker’s attention. Some common psychological effects of being a victim of cyberstalking are:
- Depressive symptoms
- Somatic symptoms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
The cyberstalking acts that have been found to cause the most damaging psychological effects are excessively sending texts or making posts about the victim, pursuing mutual friends for the victim’s personal information, and sending threatening messages.
How to Deal with Cyberstalking
If you are the focus of a cyberstalker, you may feel helpless. While the situation can take a huge toll on people, there are some tips to help you handle the situation as best you can.
- Secure your account: If you are concerned about a cyberstalker hacking into your accounts, consider changing your passwords every couple of months and setting up multiple-step verification.
- Gather information: While you may be tempted to delete every harassing message or post, screenshot and save everything. If you decide to take legal action against a cyberstalker, it will be beneficial to have this evidence.
- Take a break: If cyberstalking is becoming too much for you to bear, there is no shame in taking some time away from online platforms. Many online platforms allow you to put your accounts on pause, so taking some time to detach can do you a world of good.
Orlando Defense Attorneys Are on Your Side
Being the victim of cyberstalking has extremely adverse psychological effects. Additionally, individuals who have been wrongfully accused of cyberstalking may also face detrimental effects of being accused of a crime they may not have committed. If you have been accused of cyberstalking, seeking the help of an Orlando criminal defense law firm may be the key to helping build your case of innocence.
Umansky Law is a team of award-winning criminal defense lawyers proudly serving the Orlando community. We believe that everyone deserves another chance, and that is why we advocate passionately for each of our clients. We are available 24/7 to help you and answer any quotations you may have. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us here or call our office.