If your old friend looks you up online. Is that Cyberstalking?
This article appeared on CyberCheckInc.com from Jessica W.
Today we live in a world where we are all connected. Photos of our vacations, nights out and special occasions become facebook posts, IGs and Twitter messages.
Our Social networks of friends can see what we are doing and it helps us feel connected, especially as we share our lives openly online. Most of us have friends in different cities, states and countries and this is means that we can all still feel connected despite the geographic differences.
My facebook will send me notifications that “Tom J” wants to be your friend. I have to think where do I know him from? school, one of my old jobs, college, is he a friend of a friend? I see mutual friends and realize he was old school friend from 15 years ago. It all checks out, I add him to my fiends list and occasionally he will hit a like button when I post a picture of my travels and places I visit. We never actually communicate. I think why does he care about being my friend, we weren’t close in school, we don’t talk, but we play the social network friends list game.
Friend Requests are they really friends?
One afternoon I got a notification “Don B. wants to be your friend”. He was married when I met him at a job, we were old work colleagues so nothing wrong here. I add to friend list and get those notifications, the Gandhi quotes, Motivational quotes and see that he posts 30 times a day, it’s annoying, but, I also notice something else. He is now Single!
I hate texting can I get your Number?
I get a message from him “hey ! whats up, long time no see, what u been up to?”. I feel obliged to reply politely and then end up in a 2 hour text conversation that quickly end up about his marriage problems, work life, what I am doing and of course the “hey I hate texting can I get your number?”.
Before I know what has happened, we are going to catch up over lunch he wants to talk about new job stuff. He was always a professional at work. Awkwardly I agree, lunch downtown as this is not a Date. I tell him I am in a relationship.
My friend talks to me about this situation, advises me “oh hes interested in you!”, I am not convinced. Lunch ends with little conversation of work, here is the end conversation:
Don: “hey what you doing Friday?”
Me: “my boyfriend and I are going to movies”
Don: “another night maybe?”
Me: “No, I am in a relationship, but thanks, Good luck and it was good to catch up”. Cant be more polite and straight up than that.
11.45 Friday night texts come in from Don “hey what u doin 🙂”? I ignore the first 3, then they keep coming, I reply “busy”. 36 texts from him 11.45 pm till 2.45pm on the following day. I reply with “at work cant text”.
The tone of text messages changes quickly to non-professional
“I know you are not in a relationship, why did you lie to me, I checked your FB page, last night you were tagged at the Santa Monica pier, with your friends???????? WTF!”
He then posts some comments in my FB page, I unfriend him and delete his posts. He texts “whats wrong 🙂 why did you unfriend me u f#%#ing bi#%h 🙁” .
I end up changing my phone number, he sends a request to another mutual friend 1 month later “hey there trying to reach Jessica W. have a job thing , u got her new number?”…
Eventually it ends up in a restraining order 3 phone number changes, having to discuss this embarrassing situation with too many people to try to prevent information getting to him.
Cyberstalking is too easy and accepted
Today we have accepted looking someone up is easy, but where is the line between cyber stalking and catching up?.
With our personal information online, even privacy settings cant really work . Its socially acceptable to cyber stalk. How many times have we heard “Did you see her photo facebook?” . We have opened our lives up too much, the line between criminal activity and innocent friendships is greyed out.
We have accepted that people we cant control can know our personal information. The more we post, the more we know.
CyberStalking and looking someone up are 2 very different things only based on motives of the individual.
If we want to find someone, if we want to cyber stalk it is easy. Most women don’t know who is checking everything they do and when that innocent lunch is going to turn in an out burst of psychosis.
Don did send me flowers at my work 3 days later – “Sorry, I was going through a bad time, please call me sometime – Don”. I also got 145 emails in personal account 41 in my work account from him over a 2 month. That’s why I got the restraining order.