#makeITsafePH: Look who's STALKING!

6/05/2018 Randomly Candid 0 Comments

I have a confession to make...

I was once a stalker. But please don't take it against me. I was just triggered that time and I admit, I felt really guilty for doing that. At least, I have learned my lesson and I want to share it to everyone so that you won't become either a culprit or victim of stalking.

I was tempted to stalk someone out of curiosity. Let's admit it. We all come to the point that we were obsessed with someone that we want to know their past, discover more of their present and reveal their darkest secrets.

I studied Journalism in college and one of my favorite major subjects back then is Investigative Journalism. Not to brag, I got 1.0 (the highest bracket in our grading system) in the said subject. Here's another fact: I love connecting dots, solving mysteries and looking for leads until I confirm the information I gathered. I am also very keen on details, especially when I have doubts. And so I used those skills to uncover someone's dark secret.

The most accessible and easiest way to stalk nowadays is through online. I used the boundless power of the internet to know more the person I am stalking - from his daily activities to where he usually goes, what does he do after work, what are his interests and who are our common friends. These things might be basic but it gave me leads. 

I wasn't contented with the facts I discovered out of my online investigation. So I proceeded with the next plan. One day, I literally followed this person just to find out more. I never thought I would do that, but yeah, it just happened. 

As a former journalist, I am fond of asking questions to get the information I need. I used my questioning ability to confirm the information I gathered then I linked it to possibilities. And viola! Everything matched based on my analysis. But it still remains a hypothesis (an educated guess). Though I was really close to possibility, it is still a possibility and will never be the truth that I want to know unless confirmed. 

After doing all of these, I realized that what I have done was wrong. I invaded someone's personal space and privacy for a non-sense purpose. On that realization, a thought suddenly struck me - what if someone will also do what I did to this person? How would I feel?

Lesson learned: the best way to confirm suspicion is by confronting the person. It's up to him/her if he/she will tell the truth. At the end of the day, it's his/her personal life and you have nothing to do with it. If you want to know the truth, earn their trust and wait for them to reveal it to you. 

What is stalking?

A classic definition of stalking states that "it is an act of following an individual without his/her knowledge and causes the victim emotional distress." 

Stalkers can be anyone - someone you already know, a person you just met or a stranger you just passed by. It might sound scary, but yes, even the people you least expect - your friends, classmates and co-workers - can turn into stalkers.

Types of stalking

There are different types of stalking. The most typical one is the Surveillance Stalking. It is when the perpetrator literally follows the victim anywhere and watches them without their knowing. Sometimes, the stalker also sends notes to the victim anonymously to express their appreciation and desires. 

Another type of stalking is the Aggravated Stalking which occurs when the stalker already harms the victim physically and emotionally. When this happens, the victim should already seek for protection against the person. It's a sign of a mental disorder on the perpetrator's side because of too much obsession.

As technology evolves, stalking has also become easier with the use of the internet, specifically, the social media. This type of stalking is called Cyberstalking  which is common among millennials. Checking out the social media account of someone without their consent is already considered stalking. Much more when you check it regularly, follow their postings and look on their friends list.

How to counter stalkers?

Stalking can become a crime if it already involves visual or physical proximity, non-consensual written and/or verbal communication and threats (I could have become a criminal if I continued stalking...😨). 

Commonly, these acts can cause fear and trauma to the victim. But one can also avoid its negative impacts by being mindful of his/her privacy and observant of the people around. Remember, even the person closest to you can harm and take advantage of you if you will let them.

Based on personal experience (from someone who is guilty of being a stalker), here are some easy ways to counter stalkers:

1. 🔐Keep your social media accounts private

As much as possible, keep any of your social media accounts private. Keep your postings exclusively to your friends and always choose the people that you accept as a friend or follower. If you do not know them personally, it is better to ignore their request or block them right away. 

2. 📍Turn off your location

If not needed, turn off  your phone's location. There are apps that can detect your phone's location and stalkers can take advantage of it. Also, do not disclose your location in your social media posts for your own protection.

3. 📸Don't post real time photos

If it's not really important to you, do not post real time photos as stalkers are always on the look and can go to where you are in a snap, especially if it's just near. Abstain from real time postings and reserve it when you're no longer on the place where the photo was taken.

4. 🔎Be a keen observant

Always be a keen observant of the people around you. Observe how they treat you and ask you personal questions. There are some stalkers who use other people to get the information they need from you. 

5.🤐 Don't trust easily

Don't give your full trust especially to the people you just met. Don't give out your personal details such as your home address and contact number to others, especially if you don't do official business with them. 

About #makeITsafePH

Stalking is one of the leading internet-related crimes among youth - who are considered as vulnerable - nowadays. With Philippines being one of the countries with the highest number of Internet users and active social media users, it is just right that we educate everyone, especially the young ones of the dangers that they can encounter in the virtual world.

To note, Hootsuite, a US-based social media management platform revealed in its "Digital 2018" report of social media and digital trend around the world that Philippines has 67 million Internet users, with all of them active on social media.

Having this result, Globe Telecom led a digital campaign called #makeITsafePH as part of its CyberPinoy Cyber Wellness Program.

#makeITsafePH aims to educate consumers of the online threats and what they can do to avoid becoming a victim. Moreover, the campaign teaches online users proper etiquette for them not to become culprit of such cybercrimes. 

Don't let yourself become the culprit or victim of stalking or any kind of cybercrime. Do not abuse the powers of the internet. Let's use it for a good cause like promoting our advocacy rather than using it to harm other people. Make everyone safe, including yourself. 

You Might Also Like