Cyberstalking is more traumatic than being stalked in person, says APA study


5 Aug 2011
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Cyberstalking can cause you more emotional stress and trauma than being stalked or harassed in person, according to a presentation at the American Psychological Association’s Annual Convention. The report went on to say that cyberstalking is on the rise and the victims, mostly women, have to go through a high level of stress, anxiety and many other mental disorders.
“Increasingly, stalkers use modern technology to monitor and torment their victims, and one in four victims report some form of cyberstalking, such as threatening emails or instant messaging,” says Elizabeth Carll, Ph D, who conducted the study. “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," she adds.
Carll also highlights the figures of the US Dept. of Justice that says that nearly 85,000 adults, mostly female, are cyberstalked each year. The presentation says nearly 40 percent of women have gone through abuse via social media such as harassing text messages and distressful posts related to them. Some 20 percent of cyberstalkers use to social networks to stalk their victims.
Carll however suggests that these technologies can also be used to prevent harassment. One of the measures can be the making use of GPS tracking devices on offenders compulsory, according to Carll. “Imagine a cell phone application that can tell you if someone threatening you is nearby,” Carll states, “That could be life-saving.”
Carll's research on South Korean students revealed that some 36 percent of them had been bullied online at least once in the previous year. According to the study, the cyberbullying has also taken toll on the mental health of the students. The students suffered several mental disorders such as stress, loneliness and anxiety. A number of students faced a tough time while recovering from the effects of cyberbullying.

Source : Digit Magazine.
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