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A Very Serious Matter In Today’s Cyber World: Internet Harassment

Email harassment is a form of stalking, and often includes consistent, unwanted electronic communication sent to a recipient or their family, friends, or associates with the intention of intimidating, frightening, or harassing him. It commonly occurs at the end of a relationship, whether romantic or a friendship. but also happens in the workplace, when inappropriate jokes or other offensive material is sent via email, either by an employer or an associate. This material may be sexual in nature, or otherwise discriminating. While email harassment is frequently a repetitive act, sometimes, it can result from a single transmission, if it is sent with malicious intent, or if the material is potentially damaging to the victim. Internet harassment is a crime, and is punishable by law and often carries community service or even a jail sentence.

The most frequent instances of email harassment occur in domestic disputes, when one person leaves the relationship, and the other becomes disgruntled. The rejected person may send a series of emails that are threatening, spiteful, and intimidating — but not always. On occasion, repeated emails intended to entice another person to return to a relationship can cause significant distress and constitute harassing behavior as well.

Sometimes, the correspondence vacillates between emotions. The scorned person may pledge undying devotion in one email, which may be followed by violent statements, or even threats of suicide in other messages, to persuade the recipient. Email harassment to an ex-boyfriend,ex-girlfriend, or ex-friend  frequently accompanies other forms of intrusive behavior. Repeated phone calls, unwanted gifts, and visits to the person’s home or office may escalate feelings of impending danger.

This scenario can also stem from a vindictive individual using email to defame someone’s character. Inappropriate photographs or private information may be sent to a victim’s coworkers, family, or friends in an effort to cause embarrassment or humiliation. There have also been occasions in which a public online forum was used to entice others to make contact with the victim. In these, the culprit may post a phone number or other identifiable information about the target.

Please remember that these actions are a CRIME and are all forms of cyber-bullying, which in this day in age, is a very serious problem and isn’t taken lightly by law enforcement due to an influx of violence and even suicide due to this form of harassment. If someone is harassing you either directly, or by contacting friends, family or coworkers of yours, record and document any and all transmissions and save them to a disc or a hard drive. Take screen shots. DO NOT REPLY. People who engage in this type of behavior are often mentally unstable and may be capable of causing harm if provoked. The best thing to do is document all evidence and contact your local police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI usually handles these cases, but if you feel threatened, your local police department should be given a heads up as well. Also, contact the person’s internet provider and report them as well. They may end up losing their internet service.

So what is the best thing to do if you have a falling out with someone and they insist on harassing and cyber-stalking you? Follow all of the above steps and be the bigger person and walk away. Pretend that they never even existed. People like this aren’t worth the time and effort it takes to retaliate, and they are seeking a response. They crave the attention, because it makes them feel important. Do not allow yourself to feel intimidated. This kind of behavior only reflects the weakness and immaturity of the person committing this crime. It only makes THEM look bad.

And as a note to those who engage in this cowardly form of bullying: With the internet, as well as in real life, if there is someone you have a problem with, no one is forcing you to seek them out. No one is making you go to their web-pages or email them, their friends or their family. If you don’t like something, stay away from it. Hit the nice little X in the corner of your browser window. Let them disappear into cyber-space. Find a hobby or something else to do with your time. If you keep bothering people who aren’t even talking to or emailing you, all you’re doing is making your own mental illness more apparent, and building a better case against yourself should it end up getting reported to the police. And making false reports or accusations against someone is called slander and defamation of character, and is also punishable by law. No matter how irrational and upset you feel, be very careful of what you do. It is far better to cut your losses and walk away and leave people alone than to try and create problems that will only backfire. Cyber bullying and stalking is wrong, and certain people should know better than resorting to this based on their own personal experiences with this. Walk away. Live your life. Leave people alone. Especially when they are leaving YOU alone.


December 20, 2010 - Posted by | My Story

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