Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Monday, January 30, 2012

About Online Stalkers

Many of us who have been online for years have encountered an online stalker at one point or another.  I've had several so I've some experience recognizing them and on how to deal with them.

I also have used Google and found quite a bit of advice, as well.  This site is a good one to read and this one has some tips about protecting your privacy online.

An online stalker may seem like just any other friendly person online at first.  After a while, however, they will start to demand more of your time.  If you chat with them on an IM service, they will expect you to talk to them, exclusively, and get jealous of any other online friends.

This is a huge sign that something might be wrong.  [This is why you have to be so careful what information you give out to people who seem friendly online, by the way.]

This is the point where I think it is easiest to break off contact with this person.  Firmly tell them that you don't wish to talk to them anymore and to stop trying to contact you.  Do not give excuses.  Do not allow them to make you feel guilty.  Do not be rude or nasty, just firmly tell them "no".  If they persist, then block them or ignore them. If they email you, ignore it. Just do not respond to this person in any way.

Hopefully this will end the stalking.  It may not, however, but it is worth a try.

I have an online stalker who caused me to give up playing a particular online game I used to enjoy.  He had a character that he used to join a group I was in. Group members used an online forum, instant messaging and IRC to communicate. After a while, he wanted to chat about other things than the game on IM.

This person didn't threaten me or do anything illegal, but he did start to demand that I talk to him via instant messaging the entire time I'm online - whether I was working or not.  [I had to put an end to that!]  Then he started getting jealous of any other people I was speaking to online and at that point I realized I had a problem.

This person was young and I thought at first that he was just immature and lacked social skills so I tried to help him.  That's when I became a victim of his obsession, I believe.  He indicated that his parents were making him see an counselor [he has some rather mental serious issues that I haven't gone into here] and I thought that was a good time to make a clean break. This worked well up until very recently.

First he emailed me and I ignored it. Now he is contacting other people who play that game I used to play and asking them about me.  I'm still in contact with some of these people so they've let me know he is trying to reach me.  They are, luckily, smart enough to not give out any information about me at all.  At this point, I became upset that he was bothering my friends and sent him an email thanking him for being concerned but telling him that I was fine. I told him I don't have time for online friends right now.

Of course now he's emailed me back asking when I'll be on IM again so he can talk to me.  I should have followed my own advice, you see.  I shouldn't have contacted him at all - or I should have been more firm that I do not wish to talk to him anymore.

So... now I'm done. I'm not going to respond anymore.  I've told my friends what sort he is and, as he was beginning to creep people out, I think they will block him soon. I really think this is best.

So let this serve as a warning to you:  Be very careful about befriending online people.  If they start to creep you out or get too demanding, just cut off communications with them.  As always, be careful what information you reveal online as you don't want them to be following you all over the internet! [or in real life, either!]

Be careful out there!

Image found here and labeled alright for reuse.

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