Cyberstalking is More Common Than You Think — Here's How to Protect Yourself
I don’t know about you, but when I think of the word “stalking,” certain stereotypes come to mind. I picture someone watching a victim with binoculars from far away. I picture Penn Badgley, who plays the stalker in the show “You” on Netflix.
I usually don't think about cyberstalking. But according to research published by NortonLifeLock, online stalking — defined as “monitoring the activities on another person’s device without that person’s consent or knowledge” — is more common than you think.
If you’re dating, looking to date, or have dated someone, here are some cyberstalking statistics you should know.
1) 60% stalk a partner or ex online.
2) 42% believe their partner would install "stalkerware" apps on their phone. Stalkerware monitors texts, photos, phone calls, and more.
3) 35% believe stalking a partner or ex is harmless
Online stalking is not okay
While some believe online stalking only affects those with secrets to hide, I have to disagree. Privacy is important in any relationship. Partners should be open and honest with each other, but it's okay to refrain from sharing 100% of your life.
For example, I keep my notes for therapy on my phone. I also sometimes share details of my life with my friends before I'm comfortable sharing them with my partner — that's my prerogative.
In healthy relationships, partners directly communicate with each other to share information. They don't try to dig up information behind their partner's back..
Getting stalked is never the victim's fault, but awareness and preventative measures can help you protect yourself.
Consider taking some of the following steps suggested by NortonLifeLock.
1) Delete any apps you don’t recognize or remember downloading.
2) Look out for parental control apps, which can be used to monitor behavior on your device.
3) Consider that certain apps may carry unintended risks. For example, apps that save your photos or track your location.
4) Install a security app like NortonLifeLock. It scans for apps that are potentially stalkerware.
Stalking can be a sign of relationship violence. If you think this is the case, reach out to resources such as The National Domestic Violence Hotline, which has a hotline, chat line, information on other resources, tips, and more that can help you.
Everyone has the right to privacy and the right to set boundaries with their partner. If you’re worried about someone stalking you online or in real life, please seek help.