How to Avoid Being Stalked in Cyberspace (and What To Do If You Are)

Here are some tips to prevent cyber stalking:

  • Make a list of safe sites (those that adopt an anti-harassment policy and follow through with it). Only visit those sites.
  • Never give out any personal information about yourself to strangers in emails and chatrooms or on Internet bulletin boards.
  • When you are online, only type things you would actually say to someone face to face. Think about how what you say might be interpreted without the context of body language and voice.
  • Make sure that your screen name is neutral; never use your real name, nickname, or any type of “suggestive” name.
  • Be very cautious about meeting an online acquaintance in person. If you choose to do so, always take someone with you and meet in a public place.
  • If you experience contact with someone that is unpleasant or hostile, log off immediately. Report the incident to your Internet Service Provider (ISO). Most chat/bulletin boards also have a reporting system for unpleasant encounters.

Here are some things you can do if you are being cyberstalked:

  • If you are under 18, immediately talk to your parents or an adult you can trust about the situation. You may be in physical danger.
  • If your email program has filtering capabilities, use them to block or filter email from the stalker. Sometimes you can block chatroom contact as well.
  • Inform your ISP of situation and request a new log-on name and password. If your ISP is not responsive, get a new account.
  • Keep a log of all communications from the stalker. Make copies of every email, and do not alter them in any way. This is your only evidence.
  • Make it absolutely clear to the stalker that you would like him or her not to contact you again.
  • If the harassment does not stop, contact your local police department and tell them the situation.

This information is brought to you by the National Crime Prevention Council