Social media has changed stalking forever, so watch what you share

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Photo permission: J. Kopec: Posting your location and other personal information can be dangerous in the world of social media.

Social media plays a huge role in many young people’s lives today as most people use social media to keep in touch with one another. By using social media wisely, sites can be entertaining and educational. However, these sites can be dangerous and jeopardizing to one’s life too. It can start off subtle with someone striking you as being a bit odd. Then they become a nuisance, always contacting you and interacting with your profile which transitions into them ultimately becoming an obsessive, frightening stalker.

Stalking is defined as a pattern of various forms of unwanted attention or contact that is unwelcome upon a particular sex. Stalking is a serious offense and social media just makes this issue easier every day. Our digital lives give stalkers the easiest opportunity to gain large amounts of information. With one click of a button, you can access anyone’s information like where they are from, where they work or where they live, simply by clicking on their Facebook page or by viewing their Instagram profile. It is also fairly easy to hack into people’s accounts and gain personal information. The Internet has changed many things for us today, with positive doings as well as negative happenings.

In fact, stalking has increased due to technology because of the way technology has advanced. It makes it easier for stalkers. Statistics from the John Carroll University show that people aged 18-24 years, to date, experience the highest rate of stalking in a lifetime. The report also states that three in 10 victims reported being injured emotionally or psychologically due to being stalked.

According to insidehighered.com, most stalking incidents now involve some form of technology, and in many cases, offenders exploit legal services for their purposes. Certain applications can also change the number that appears on a caller ID to anyone the stalker wishes. This allows stalkers to copy a personal number, like the victim’s mother or father, to be used to contact the victim.

College students should be more concerned when posting anything on their social media accounts. There is a lot that can go on social media and we aren’t always aware of everyone on it who can access information from our accounts. Therefore, while it may be nice to receive tons of followers on social media, students should block or report anyone who seems suspicious or  who they don’t know. Be aware of your digital surroundings and begin to re-think what you post on your social media accounts. Creating boundaries and following precautionary measures will make you that much safer and lower the chance of you being stalked.

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