The Interaction Between Stalking and Technology in a High-risk Population
Stalking is a crime that disproportionately affects young adults, and the Internet appears to be a tool used by stalkers. Stalking through the use of the Internet is termed cyberstalking. In order to determine how stalking and cyberstalking affect a student population, a self-report survey was administered to 167 undergraduate students at the University of New Hampshire. 14% of participants reported being stalked, 15% reported being cyberstalked, and 4% reported being stalked and cyberstalked. Gender, marital status, sexual orientation, and some internet-use behaviors were variables associated with being stalked and/or cyberstalked. Twenty-five percent of students were stalked using some form of technology. Disturbingly, only one third of stalking victims considered themselves as such. Half of stalking incidents were perpetrated by intimate partners, and perceived motivations for stalking reflected attraction and control motives, which provides evidence for the connection between stalking and other kinds of Intimate Partner Violence. More research is needed to identify the specific ways stalkers use technology to facilitate stalking.