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Are you a victim of online harassment?

Online harassment is a prevalent problem. According to Pew Research, 40 percent of people who use the internet have experienced online harassment. Does this apply to you? Do you know who is causing it?

If you are a target of cyber harassment, do not put up with it. There are legal remedies at your disposal.

The first prosecution

The first case of online harassment arose in June 2004. The perpetrator had been harassing a former girlfriend with obscene emails for four years. He used malware that he placed on her computer to track her when she moved to different states. The woman was finally able to identify this man, and he eventually pleaded guilty to using the internet with intent to "Annoy, Abuse, Threaten or Harass."

The problem continues

In their study about online harassment, the Pew researchers found that young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are the most likely to experience cyber harassment, of which there are at least six types:

  •         Name-calling
  •         Efforts to embarrass someone
  •         Harassment over a long period of time
  •         Physical threats
  •         Sexual harassment
  •         Stalking

Different approaches

The study showed that 44 percent of men had some sort of online harassment experience, in contrast with 37 percent of women. While men were targets of less severe types of harassment, such as name-calling, they were also more likely than women to be the recipients of physical threats.

Unmasking perpetrators

Half of those who participated in the Pew survey said they did not know who was responsible for the cyber harassment incidents. Those who did know said the perpetrators were friends or acquaintances. Online harassment may begin over situations that develop in the workplace, perhaps because of a relationship that has ended, causing bitterness and one person's need to needle or hurt the other person.

Stopping the harassment

Harassment should not rule your life. An attorney experienced with harassment cases can tell you that it is possible to find out and stop online predators while still being sensitive to your privacy and emotional welfare.

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