I’m pretty open about my life on my blog and social media. However, recently I realized perhaps I might be a little too open. That’s the thing about the Internet once you put something online no matter how small it seems at the time it’s out there forever.
Recently, I developed a stalker so to speak. There have been threats, general harassment, and extremely creepy behavior all because of this person getting angry over something I did on Twitter. Blocking and reporting them to Twitter didn’t do any good because they would just make a new account so I had to take it to the next level and get law enforcement and the courts involved.
It’s scary to know someone can be this far off the deep end and pose a danger to yourself and family all because of a simple action on social media. Perhaps, social media and the Internet, in general, allow us to put things out there that we would never do/say in real life. Some people may actually interpret these things incorrectly and because they don’t have any coping skills they tend to snap.
Here a few examples of the harassment: (I chose to use some of the milder comments just from twitter even though there have been other platforms as well because most of the others have my personal information in them.)
- You never really know who you’re talking to on the Internet. They could be a serial killer for all you know.
- Don’t say or post anything that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Basically, if your mom or grandma wouldn’t approve don’t say it.
- Try to protect your privacy as much as possible. Get your address and phone number removed from those information gathering sites and also don’t put your private info on things like website registrations. Also, it would be wise not to put your address on your Facebook profile.
- This should be obvious but I know I find myself making this mistake quite often. If you have kids try not to put any information like the school they attend, events they’re going to or even their name if possible. There are a lot of weirdos and perverts out there so be careful. Also, frequently monitor your child’s social media and email if you allow them to have those things because you never know who might be trying to contact them.
- Last but not least don’t forget about the block button and report options on social media. Don’t feel bad if you have to block someone and if they get too extreme take the next step and report them.
Here is how to report someone on Twitter.
Here is how to report someone on Facebook.
Need to do a background check? Check this out.
If they happen to harass, threaten or even spam your website the blog comment section will list their IP address. A quick Google search will tell you the name of their Internet company and you can report them and possibly cause their provider to revoke their Internet service.
The same thing pretty much goes for harassing emails. Whatever domain name is after the @ sign is who you report them to unless it’s not an email provider. A quick online search can tell you who is the host of a website so you can provide the information about the harassment there. Here’s how you look it up.
Always keep screenshots and if possible the original information on your computer/account in case you need to contact law enforcement or get a restraining order.
The Internet is a very dangerous place so please exercise some caution especially when it comes to social media. Stay safe and have fun online.