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5 shocking things you need to know about cyberstalking

Earlier this month, News Center 7 Anchor Gabrielle Enright shared her personal experience as victim of a cyber-stalker. Now she takes a closer look at the crime, talking with other victims and experts who tell you exactly what to do if it happens to you. Cyberstalking Crackdown Part II, Wednesday, July 25, beginning at 5 p.m. 

It’s a nightmare experience that anyone can be impacted by. Virtually anyone can become a victim of cyber-stalking. A 2016 report from the Data & Society Research Institute finds that most U.S. internet users have witnessed online harassment. 

Here are five things to about online harassment and cyberstalking:

1. Online harassment varies by gender

According to Pew Research, women are more likely to experience certain types of “more severe” harassment, such as stalking and sexual harassment. About 26 percent of women ages 18-24 said they’ve been stalked online and 25 percent have been sexually harassed.

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2. Young people experience harassment even more 

About 65 percent of Internet users ages 18 to 29 have experienced some type of online harassment, according to Pew Research. Users ages 18 to 24 said they’ve been the victim of at least one type of form of harassment. Some of the harassment included physical threats, sexual harassment and harassment over a long period of time.

3. Identity is often hidden

About half of those who are harassed online don’t know who is behind the threats or harassment, according to Pew. About 38 percent said the messages came from strangers while 26 percent said they just didn’t know the real identity of the person.

4. Social media plays largest role 

About 66 percent of harassed people said it occurred on social media. People also used email, discussion sites and online gaming sites to harass people.

» LOCAL: Wright State professor talks about being cyberstalked

5. Protect yourself

IF SOMEONE IS STALKING YOU ONLINE, EXPERTS SAY:

  • DO NOT RESPOND OR INITIATE CONTACT WITH THE PERSON, ONCE YOU’VE TOLD THEM TO STOP.
  • FILE A POLICE REPORT.
  • KEEP A RECORD OR LOG OF EACH CONTACT.
  • SAVE ALL E-MAILS, TEXT MESSAGES, PHOTOS, AND SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS.
  • GET CONNECTED WITH A LOCAL VICTIM ADVOCATE

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