Social networks have become a window through which cyber bullies can easily access their prey. However, to precisely define what stalking is, we have to broaden the focus of our attention , since these persecutory behaviors are a phenomenon that also occurs outside the Internet environment. Let’s take a closer look at how we can identify a stalker.

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1. What is stalking?
2. Ways to detect a stalker.
3. Real cases of stalking.

What is stalking?
Like many other neologisms resulting from the rise of new technologies, the definition of stalking comes from English, specifically from the verb “to stalk”, which means ‘to follow stealthily’, ‘to stalk’ or ‘to harass’ .

Definition of stalker
From there this anglicism has arisen that has been adapted to Spanish to designate that person who, generally through social networks, spies on the profile of another or who gets in touch through these platforms.

Meaning of stalker
Now, the behavior of a stalker is not limited only to this cyber surveillance, since it can (and often does) translate it into the real world.
In fact, like other obsessive behaviors, stalking can increase in intensity , so that what began as an initially innocent act of looking for photos and information about that person’s life online, ends up leading to in a serious situation that has serious psychological repercussions for the victim and that requires taking legal action.

Behaviors of a stalker
Among the typical actions that define stalking on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (to name the most popular), are: looking if that person has an account on a social network and, if the profile is public, looking at their photos to gather information. In addition, many stalkers go a step further and, after some time fantasizing about the idea of ​​establishing contact, they decide to communicate with their target , with the aim of being able to make a first approach that they do not dare, do not want or cannot, make in person. .
Therefore, when the degree of harassment increases, the following behaviors may occur:
1. Follow-up of the person in their daily journeys (to work, home or when they have an appointment would be the most typical)2. Send unwanted
letters, gifts or messages to your email or personal account
3. Try to hack the mobile phone or personal computer to access private photos and messages
4. Surveillance where the victim studies, works or lives and show up unannounced having been invited
5. Threatening to harm the victim, their loved ones or their pets in order to make her suffer
6. He uses technological means to know the location of his target (GPS systems) or surveillance cameras
7. Hire private detectives to find out information that you cannot discover on your own,scavenges the trash for items he or she may covet from the person and attempts to elicit information from the victim’s friends, neighbors, and family by posing as a friend and with apparent good intentions
8. Spreads false rumors about the victim using the Internet or Commenting on his neighborhood or the areas he usually frequents , we
decipher the typical behavior of a stalker. | Image from: Awmleer / Unsplash.

5 ways to detect a stalker
If we suspect that someone may be stalking us, we have to be aware of the following signs.

1. He knows too much about you
That is, if he has personal information about you that can only be known through social networks(in case you don’t have him on your friends list) or that only a few close friends know. Fortunately, only the most serious cases become more serious, since the most socially adapted understand the incorrectness of their actions and understand that they must stop doing something when they are made to understand that it is inappropriate.

2. Suspicious behavior
As you read above, one of the ways to detect a stalker that most betrays him is to pay attention if he appears by surprise at your workplace coinciding with your schedules or you cross paths too many times “by chance” , sign that maybe he knows where you move.
Watch out! Do not confuse mere chance with a situation of harassment. It is evident that in our day to day we can see more than one familiar face repeatedly throughout the week (on public transport or walking down the street to our work or place of study); what it is about is to detect how many of these encounters are really fortuitous or if they happen in a forced way and with too much frequency .

3. Reactions to refusals
A stalker will at some point try to engage in approach behaviors to interact with his target. It is our duty, or that someone does it for us, to make him see that we have no interest politely and to desist in his effortsto see how he reacts to the news, since it may stop bothering us or quite the opposite and the problem worsens.

4. Not accepting a no
If unfortunately we have already warned the harasser that he does not leave us alone and he does not obey, we may have to take action and notify the authorities so that they act. However, many take this warning as an encouragement to continue and even increase their harassment .

5. Harassing behaviors on the rise
Sadly, there are not a few cases of stalkers who have escalated their harassing behaviors, going from trying to contact the victim through social networks to showing up at their workplace, and then sending notes threatening them to her or her close relatives. That is why it is important to take into account all these ways to detect a stalker and tackle the problem as soon as possible.

5 real cases of stalking
Three cases in which the subjects involved were arrested for harassing famous personalities, after a long time fantasizing and feeding the delusions in which they believed they were made for each other:

1. John Hinckley
El sonado The case of John Hinckley perfectly illustrates how far a fan obsessed with a famous person can go.
In 1981, this 26-year-old boy attempted to assassinate President Reagan at the time . The reason
He wanted to impress Jodie Foster, with whom he had fallen in love after seeing her perform in Taxi Driver (1976). Before the frustrated assassination, Hinckley had been sending letters to the actress in which he declared his unconditional love for her and claimed that she would do something that would surprise him and make him fall in love with her.

2. Athena Ronaldo
When Brad Pitt had dazzled a whole generation of young people in the 90s, including Athena Rolando. Taking advantage of the fact that the Hollywood star was not in her home, the 19-year-old girl went inside, walking around the room and even entering the bedroom to try on her clothes . Shortly after, she was arrested, accused of trespassing. Another example of the limits to which a stalker can go because of his idol.

3. Selena Gomez
The singer who left Disney Channel suffered cyber bullying from beliebers (Justin Bieber fans) when they found out she was dating the Canadian . The situation got to such an extent that she had to cancel her Twitter and Instagram accounts.
But the thing would not end there, since Selena Gomez received a call from a nearby florist to inform her that someone had ordered a twisted present: a bouquet of flowers in the shape of a penis and a card dedicated to her name. Obviously, the package never reached its destination.

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Stalking information. Stalking Resource Center.