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Cyberstalking: The New Scourge

Posted on 24 November 2000
 

Cyberstalking: The New Scourge

The Internet offers a wealth of new opportunities to access more information and advice, to share experiences with others, to make friends and chat… there is literally a whole world of possibilities.

But it is important to be safe on the Internet. Sadly a minority of people using the Internet do not have the best intentions and it is important that we know how to protect our privacy and not divulge information that can be used against us.

A recent article in Upside Today entitled "The websites stalkers love" tells a cautionary story about how easily information can be made available on the Net to stalkers for a price.

New Hampshire resident Amy Boyer was stalked and killed by a former classmate, Liam Youens after he obtained her Social Security number and work address from a website.

Local media highlighted the case of a so-called Casanova who conned a young lady of her money and jewellery when she met face-to-face with him after a relationship using popular chat and messaging client ICQ.

Such stories invite Internet newbies to take heed.

Some questions to ask yourself: Did you create a Personal Homepage and post it on the Internet with your home or work address, phone number and other personal information that could be used against you in future?

Did you fill out a profile for ICQ and Yahoo Messenger or other free services in which your personal details are publicly available?

Is your husband or co-worker stalking women online?

Do you know who your teenage children are chatting with online? Are they aware on where to draw the line?

The WAO provides some links below to assist our readers to be aware of this new phenomenon of cyberstalking.

Working to Halt Online Abuse is an excellent website for women which provides useful guidelines and resources on using the internet safely. You can also read about women's experiences of using the internet, and access information of law and policy for net safety.

About.com provides a how-to list on dealing with online harassment and stalking.

CyberAngels.org provides safety advice aimed at children and adults, including safety guidelines, areas of concern, information on the law, and what to do if you experience problems.

The range and accessibility of information does present some concerns over children's use of the Internet. There are a great many websites to help use the Internet responsibly and safely, including software which can help parents control what information children have access to.

Excite.com provides a list of 'safety on the net' websites, most of which provide advice to parents and children.

A special news feature on the Dark side of the Web provides an overview on cyberstalkers, hatemongers, child predators, cultists, and kooks on the Net.

The Epidemic of Cyberstalking is a Wired article that provides insight into frightening scenarios that are becoming increasingly common as more people use the Internet.

GetNetWise has advice to parents and children on Internet safety, including advice relevant to different ages, and on the different uses of the Internet, for example, safety tips when using email, or chat rooms, or surfing websites.

Kid Safety provides a good child user-friendly site, not only on internet safety, but other issues such as talking to strangers, bullying at school and many more.



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