Cyberstalking involves the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to perpetrate more than one incident intended to repeatedly harass, annoy, attack, threaten, frighten, and/or verbally abuse individuals.
Perpetrators can engage in cyberstalking directly by emailing, instant messaging, calling, texting, or utilizing other forms of electronic communications to communicate obscene, vulgar, and/or defamatory comments and/or threats to the victim and/or the victim's family, partner, and friends, and use technologies to monitor, survey and follow the victim's movements.
Perpetrators can also engage in cyberstalking indirectly by causing damage to the victim's digital device (by, for example, infecting the victim's computer with malware and using this malware to surreptitiously monitor the victim and/or steal information about the victim) or by posting false, malicious, and offensive information about the victim online or setting up a fake account in the victim's name to post material online (social media, chat rooms, discussion forums, websites, etc.).
- Make your posts 'friends only' so that only people you know get to see them.
- Don't let social networks post your address or phone number publicly. (You might even want to have a separate email address for social media)
- If you need to share your phone number or other private information with a friend, do so in a private message - not in a public post
- Use a gender-neutral screen name or pseudonym for your social media accounts — not your real name.
- Leave optional fields in social media profiles, like your date of birth, blank.
- Only accept friend requests from people you have actually met in person. Set your social networks to accept friend requests only from friends of friends.
- Disable geolocation settings. You may want to also disable GPS on your phone.
Cyberharassment involves the use of ICT to intentionally humiliate, annoy, attack, threaten, alarm, offend, and/or verbally abuse individuals. Only one incident is needed for cyberharassment to occur; however, it can involve more than one incident.
Cyberharassment may also involve targeted harassment, where one or more persons work together to repeatedly harass their target online over a finite period (often a brief period) to cause distress, humiliation, and/or to silence the target. The perpetrators of cyberharassment can hack into the victim's account and steal the victim's personal information, images, and videos.
Cyberharassment can also involve the posting or other distribution of false information or rumors about an individual to damage the victim's social standing, interpersonal relationships, and/or reputation (i.e., a form of cybersmearing). This false information is posted on websites, chat rooms, discussion forums, social media, and other online sites to damage the reputations of people and businesses. Offenders can also impersonate victims by creating accounts with similar names and, by making use of existing images of the victims, use these accounts to send friend and/or follower requests to victims' friends and family members to deceive them into accepting these requests (a form of online impersonation).