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Teenangels / Scrapbook / Articles / The True Confessions of an Entirely Amiable Stalker by Teenangel Lisa

The True Confessions of an Entirely Amiable Stalker by Teenangel Lisa

There's something you should know. It's time for me to confess a past filled with aggressive behaviors, voyeurism, and the emotional exploitation of an unknowing, unwilling victim. I feel compelled to share with you the details of my cyberstalking days to make you realize how easy and exciting it is, and that it not only could, but might have already happened to you.

The story is entirely true and the details of the abuse accurate to the limits of my memory, though the names of both the victim and the other stalkers have been withheld for their protection.

Now; the story. It all started innocently enough. My victim was selected at random from a public place for the execution of a silly, completely harmless practical joke. I commented on a bizarre outfit he was wearing as he walked by, and my friend immediately recognized him as the son of a politician. We were bored so I decided to play a joke on him. When the trickery was well received by my companions, we became curious about our victim. We wanted to pursue the fun furthur.

Making use of several information systems on the internet that are widely available including Instant Messenger, America Online, and Friendster, we got to know our victim quite well; habits, preferences, address, and phone number. The fun persisted and the prank became more localized; he was targeted via email and at his home. By constantly checking his away messages, we learned of his whereabouts at any given time unbeknownst to him. We were always watching, waiting for an opportunity to continue the fun, but he didn't even know we existed. We eventually created our own screen name and impersonated him online to his friends.

Now that you are familiar with the crime; allow me to introduce you to the stalkers. We are probably as far from the stereotypical profile of a stalker as could be: 5'4 Jewish girls from good suburban homes whose names consistently appear on the Dean's list at Cornell University. We're not criminals, creeps, or weirdos. Our victim did not fit the mold of a victim, either. He was not young or stupid, from a bad neighborhood, or even girl, for that matter. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

What's the point? First, that anyone can be the victim of cyberstalking. It is a serious, punishable crime that happens everyday to normal, intelligent, but completely unsuspecting people. The profile of the group most targeted over the internet is not necessarily what you might expect: victims are most often intelligent, suburban girls who are involved in their schools and hail from affluent, stable families. They do not ask for abuse, but rather often engage in risky behaviors unknowingly. The only thing our target did to victimize himself was put personal information on the internet; a mistake that countless people make. Second, that it is impossible to detect danger over the internet. On the web, you cannot look over your shoulder or feel someone watching you; it is completely anonymous. A very scary thought. Also, one cannot predict who would be inclined to stalk. It is not like any other crime, there is no criminal type. It's easy and fun and very tempting to anyone who's curious and mildly internet savvy.

Our story ended happily. The victim became a good friend of mine, found the whole episode to be funny, and reported being quite impressed with our dedication in pursuing him. Coincidence had it that he adores attention and was, in fact, sad when the stalking ended. But this, of course, is an exceptional story. While my victim suffered no devastation as a result of being stalked, others have not been so lucky. Many have endured serious emotional trauma and others have been raped or killed as a result of people who they either met over the internet or who used the internet as a means to track, harass, or impersonate them.

What can you do? First, do not talk to strangers online, or if you do, distrust everything they tell you. The internet provides a mask that allows people to lie about their identities with great ease. You might be lucky and discover your stalker is only a cute Ivy League girl with good intentions and a bit of a crush, but that is not usually the case. Second, do not give out any information or photographs online that you would not want made public, because once they are on the internet, they are public. Also, carefully consider the possible implications before posting any information like an address or phone number on searchable databases; it's what got our victim in trouble.

And keep my story in mind. My friends and I would never be suspected of committing a crime, but we did. Our target never would have dreamed that he would become a victim, but he was. We never suspected that gathering details on a stranger would be so easy, but it was. We didn't use the information we gained for anything that was harmful or malicious, but we could have.

Be wary of the World Wide Web because you never know who is watching.

Teenangel Lisa

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