Overview of Cyberharrassment

Cyberharassment, cyberbullying, and cyberstalking have all become problems. Each falls under the broad category of cyberharassment, but there are a subtle differences. This article will help you to define the differences between these three Internet crimes. Once you understand these definitions, you’ll be better equipped to take action against a harasser, bully, or stalker.

Cyberharassment is harassment over the Internet. This crime can take many forms, ranging from persistent instant messages and emails to outright Internet attacks or defamations. This type of crime is often driven by the perpetrators desire to teach the victim a lesson or embarrass him or her. The perpetrator may post threatening or harmful messages on forums, send threatening emails, or put up Internet pages with false information about the victim. They may sign the victim up for pornography sites, use their email information to post incriminating or embarrassing information, and other such behavior.

Cyberstalking is more targeted than general cyberharassment. Cyberstalkers often send a constant stream of instant messages, emails, and more. They follow their victim around the Internet, posting hateful or defaming comments about them. They may doctor photographs of the victim, post websites with information about the victim, or more. Victims of cyberstalking often feel that it’s not safe to even log on to the Internet, and may be victims of real life stalking, as well. In the worst cases, perpetrators have even posted the names and addresses of victims on the Internet, making them targets for real life attacks from people they only know in the cyber world.

Cyberbullying is often practiced by teenagers. Perpetrators threaten and degrade their victims, either through private message mediums such as email and text messages, or through more public mediums such as message boards, chat rooms, and microblogging platforms like Twitter and Plurk. Social networks like MySpace and YouTube are often used, as well. Teenagers who are victims of cyberbullying can find it hard to rest, do schoolwork, or sleep – never knowing when the next bullying attack might occur.

It’s important to note that cyberharassment may not remain online. Perpetrators may come after victims in real life, or real life stalkers may take up a position behind the computer. The anonymity of the Internet causes all sorts of problems, and makes dealing with a stalker or bully on your own extremely dangerous. If you feel that you are the victim of one of these methods of harassment, consult the authorities today about how to file a report. Most jurisdictions have some sort of legislation regarding Internet harassment or Internet crime, and they will be able to show you how to get help.

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