Cyberstalking may seem like fiction as not many in Nigeria are aware of its occurrence, however, it is quite real. With the advancement of technology and the birth of numerous links on the social media atmosphere, stalkers do not need to physically trail their victims in other to keep tabs on them or follow up on their every move. Matter of fact, there are even more stalkers on the web than there are in real life, and these perps are not just strangers, they could even be friends, family members, lover – current or estranged. They always show up as followers, they like all your posts, pictures and comments, or continuously make comments on your profile page whether you do not respond or threaten to block them. Sometimes, they even monitor your computer and internet use and make threatening or false posts on websites.
Being stalked or having a stalker is not fun in any way. It can become intensely uncomfortable or terrifying depending on its severity (some escalate into violent crime in physical space). Are you being stalked? Jumia Travel suggests 5 ways you can tackle these stalking nuisances.
Block the stalker
This is usually the first step. Generally, stalkers tend to believe they are in a relationship with their victims, and remaining in contact of the victims serves a form of validation to their non-existent illusions. Blocking the stalker is a clear wake up call for the perpetrator as it involves denying him access to your account, that way he cannot relate with you directly on the platform via which he stalks you. Aside from blocking, it is important to report the contact to the service provider as someone exhibiting inappropriate behavior.
Keep your profiles private.
On most social media platforms, users can view the page of other contacts without necessarily being a friend of the user, as long as the page is open to the public. Once you realize that you have a stalker and you have blocked him, the next step is to make your entire profile private, so that no one can view anything aside from your profile picture, and the status or mood. Edit the settings on the visibility of your profile photo so that it is only visible to your network. Also, keep your status updates minimal and generic, as the stalker can get clues from them if they are detailed.
Do not tag photos
Tagging is a fun way of sharing photos, but in the event of a stalker, refrain from such activity. Tagging creates privacy holes as it gives whoever is tagged as well as that person’s friends and contacts the window to connect to you without necessarily having their invitation accepted by you and this is a leeway for blocked stalkers. Do not tag others in your picture and do not allow others to tag you.
Restrict uploads to small pictures
The thing about most social media platforms is that, no matter the privacy settings you have activated, strangers on the platforms and even random users on the web can easily find the original versions of your profile picture and download them for several purposes, especially when they are high resolution. Uploading small photos makes it difficult for them to view them clearly or edit them for other purposes such as identity theft etc. Resize your picture posts and make the resolution so low that even if a stalker does get their hands on them, they would not be able to zoom into it for improved visibility.
Close your account
This may seem as a drastic measure, but there are some stalker that are very inventive and determined in their cause. These kind of stalkers will find ways to get across to you despite blocking them, reporting them or even getting a restraining order. The best way to tackle them is to close down your account completely and if extremely necessary, open a new one with a completely different name.
By Nkem Ndem