Cyberstalking is a growing problem, and blights victims lives. Whilst the majority is carried out by strangers a significant minority is carried out be ex-partners. So when does creeping become cyberstalking?
‘Creeping’ is spending time online looking at the profiles and updates of people you know vaguely or have split up from. A common behaviour after social media break-ups creeping can lead to passive-aggressive comments, retaliatory updates, and add more upset and misery to an already difficult time.
Occasionally however creeping can move into a much more problematic area – that of cyberstalking. People who think or know that they are being cyberstalked should contact the police or Victim Support as soon as possible. This article is to help people recognise when their ‘creeping’ an ex-partner is becoming something darker.
You might think that your behaviour would never go that far. However, behaviour can change and intensify over time without our being aware. What we might have though unacceptable previously becomes first justified, and then the norm. The following 5 questions address this escalating behaviour.
Is this becoming a compulsion? Ask yourself how often you are checking their social media updates. If it’s every day or more then you need to block your access to their updates, or even come off the site altogether for a while.
Are you seeking out further social media about them? Have you joined new social media sites in order to follow them? Have you started to follow their family or friends in order to draw up a more complete picture? Answering ‘yes’ to one or both of these is a sign that things have crossed a line. You need to shut down those accounts and unfollow your ex’s social circle.
Are you unconcerned about their feelings? Are you more interested in following them than in having an appropriate conversation with them? Have you started to disregard the impact your behaviour would have on them if they knew about it? Again these are signs that what may have started as a genuine interest has changed into something quite different. You need to quit the social media, and to seek help in dealing with the end of your relationship.
Is it having an impact on you? Are you spending longer online in order to follow them? Are you spending less time on other activities or with friends? Has it changed your routine? If following them has replaced other activities or interests it has started to distort your life and priorities. Again you need to quit social media and to seek help in dealing with the end of your relationship.
Have you thought about creating fake profiles or hacking theirs? Either one of these are signs that your behaviour and values have become extremely distorted. As well as seeking help in dealing with the end of your relationship you also need to seek help in breaking your patterns of behaviour, and in staying away from social media.
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