The ability to instantly Google, friend request, or follow anyone whose first and last name you know, or who you have a mutual friend with on Facebook—makes it easy to connect. But where is the fine line between connecting and curiosity, and cyberstalking? If not cyber stalking, is it unhealthy behavior? Below are a few signs you may have crossed the line.
Have You Ever Caught Yourself Talking To A Stranger About Information You Obtained About Them Online?
Even if you are “friends” online, and their social profile is public, or you obtained their information from their business website — it is a bit presumptuous to discuss what you have learned about someone you don’t know, as though it is common knowledge.
Do You Try to Find Common Interests From Online Information?
So maybe you have a first date with someone you barely know. So what do you do? You friend request them, then scroll through posts and pics for some common topics for discussion. This is normal right? If you plan your entire date or conversation around the information you learn, you lose out on the opportunity to organically connect and find mutual interests.
Do You Feel As If You “Know” Someone You Really Don’t Know?
Have you ever caught yourself speaking about someone you barely know, but feel as though you know them from their social media posts—or their online information? While you might discover that you have some common ground, don’t forget that online information is not actual engagement, and that their photos and posts aren’t always an accurate reflection of their interests. Do you really want to take your date to their favorite restaurant with their ex?
Have You Ever Set Up A Fake Account Or Showed Up At An Event Because You Found Out Online That Someone You Want To Know Better Will Be There?
This is where it really starts to cross the line. While most of us are guilty of occasionally “researching” a bit longer than we should, but when you take your interest from online to live—there may be reason for concern. Or if you have attempted to deceive a person by setting up a fake online persona to engage with them, your deceptiveness is concerning.
The statistics vary, but many experts show that cyberstalking has increased by 30% or more with the invention of the Internet. Research also shows that emotionally recovering from a breakup can be significantly delayed by the temptation to research online. If you have spent more time researching someone online than you have spent with them in person in the recent times, it’s probably time to reign it in a bit.