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Technological advances have created cyberstalking

Technology has changed modern life dramatically, in a relatively short timeframe. It wasn’t that long ago that you sent letters through the mail or used pay phones to make calls when you weren’t at home, but both of those things seem hopelessly archaic now. A ton of communication is done online and/or with smartphones.

One of the downsides, though, is that this has given rise to cyberstalking. This is when people use this same technology to harass and stalk others, a form of domestic violence and abuse.

Cyberstalking can take on many forms. A person could send repeated, unwanted text message. He or she could constantly be on social media, sending messages, pictures and other posts — and perhaps even creating fake profiles to continue stalking when the original profiles are blocked. Sometimes, threats and accusations are made online, whether in a public or private form.

Cyberstalking can also include monitoring. It’s an obsessive behavior, where the stalker constantly follows the victim’s online activity. Though this may not be illegal in its own right, with public profiles and information, it can sometimes lead to the unwanted messages and harassment noted above. It’s one more step in the process.

Since it’s a type of abuse, cyberstalking can be considered in family law cases, especially when a divorce is looming. It can be evidence that the person who is being stalked or his or her children are in danger or do not feel safe. It’s wise to know how this can impact child custody cases and could mean the victim needs to get a restraining order.

Source: Norton, “Straight Talk About Cyberstalking,” Marian Merritt, accessed Dec. 08, 2016

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