As a parent, thereâ€™s nothing worse than the thought of your child becoming the obsession of some crazed stalker.
Unfortunately, with the growing popularity of the internet, itâ€™s now easier than ever for stalkers to take their game online.
Recently, the L.A. Times published a story about the first punishable case of cyber-stalking.
It started innocently enough. A young woman went to church. The church security guard, a 50 year old man, asked the young woman out repeatedly. She said no.
He retaliated by publicly posting the young womanâ€™s personal details on the internet. Including exactly what she looks like, her phone number, address, even how to bypass the security system on her house.
Then the obsessed security guard took it to the next level. He began posting â€œgangbangâ€ and rape fantasies in her name on various online forums.
On half a dozen occasions, men showed up at this young womanâ€™s home ready and eager to make these fantasies a reality.
To keep the men away, the young woman pinned notes to her front door stating that these requests were lies.
But her cyber-stalker simply upped the ante again.
He posted to various forums (in her name) that the notes on the front door were just tests to see who among them was worthy to become her suitor.
Men were coming to her door at all hours of the night and left dozens of graphic voicemail messages on her phone. The young woman suffered from weight loss, eventually lost her job, her home and developed a fear of going outside.
An Isolated Incident? Not By A Long Shot
A 31 year old graphic designer became romantically involved with a Michigan teacher. Then they broke up. But he sent her 20 emails a day after they broke up.
Victims of cyber-stalking are often embarrassed that this is happening to them. Often times, they may feel that they have done something wrong or that theyâ€™ve done something to cause this to happen.
When teens and children are involved, things get even scarier. Many teens and kids donâ€™t want their parents to know theyâ€™re chatting. And often times, teens have no idea that the â€œnew friendâ€ they met on a chat board could be a 45 year old ex-con.
So when this â€œnew friendâ€ starts threatening them, teens and kids are reluctant to tell their parents.
And kids are even ganging up on other kids in a new form of bullyingâ€¦ titled â€œcyber bullyingâ€. In fact, a boy name Ryan Halligan was subjected to so much cyber bullying and cyber stalking that he eventually took his own life.
What Can A Parent Do?
Unfortunately, the technology on the internet has out-paced much of the defense mechanism available to parents.
While there are software programs that block harmful websites, that doesnâ€™t stop ex-cons from chatting with your kids or sending threatening emails.
The only weapon a parent has it to STAY AWARE of what your child is doing online. And the best way to do that is with a monitoring service that secretly monitors all of your childâ€™s chat logs, emails and websites visited.