07 August 2011
by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
It should not be surprising that online harassment also known as cyberstalking is more stressful and traumatic than the physical equivalent. Part of this has to do with the fact that there is no real refuge where the stalked can find refuge. According to one report “Emotional responses may include high levels of ongoing stress, anxiety, fear, nightmares, shock and disbelief, helplessness, hyper-vigilance, eating and sleeping difficulties, according to a new study.”
Elizabeth Carll, head of the media division of the American Psychological Association, stated “Increasingly, stalkers use modern technology to monitor and torment their victims. One in four victims report some form of cyberstalking, such as threatening e-mails or instant messaging. The impact is more devastating due to the 24/7 nature of online communication, inability to escape to a safe place and global access of the information.”
According to the US Justice Department statistics, 850,000 adults, the majority of them female, are the target of cyberstalking each year. Forty percent of these women have experienced some form of dating violence through social media including harassing text messages, and disturbing information about them on the sites.
Furthermore, researchers examined data that was collected in 2009 from 1,112 students aged 12 to 19 from schools in Seoul and the Keonggi area of South Korea. 405 of these subjects were girls. They were asked to complete a questionnaire about their experiences with cyberbullying, and what their self-esteem and emotional regulation was like. YeoJu Chung of South Korea’s Kyungil University stated “The results revealed that cyberbullying makes students socially anxious, lonely, frustrated, sad and helpless.”