This may sound like a silly question, or like something out of a cheesy horror film. But the truth is, stalking on social media is a real problem that occurs more often than anyone would suspect. You may be thinking, “Yeah, but that kind of thing would never happen to me.” Well, sadly, that’s not true. Social media stalkers can target anyone, and for very different reasons, so anyone who’s not careful could potentially become a victim—including you.
The best way to mitigate the risk of being targeted by a stalker online is to background check your social media friends and followers on sites like InstantCheckmate.com, because you never know who is keeping track of your daily activity. This is especially true on platforms like Twitter and the new Myspace because other users can follow your updates and connect with your profiles at their own will. With just the click of a button, all of your information is available, and you don’t even have the option to approve of the connection. Pretty scary, right?
Facebook is also a venue where cases of stalking are frequently reported. This is likely due to the fact that people are more lax about keeping track of their friends on Facebook since they had to accept the request in the first place. The problem with thinking like this is that people are often too quick to accept friend requests from strangers or people who share just a couple mutual friends. The reality of the situation is that if you’ve never met someone in person, then you don’t really know them at all.
Who’s Watching You?
People use social media sites to fabricate their own identity, and some even choose to make up a fake identity altogether in order to lure others into romantic conversations. People who do this are called “Catfish,” and trust us, they’re everywhere and their intentions are never good. How could they be when their entire online identity is built on lies? If you’re active on social media, then chances are you have a significant number of people on your friends list who you don’t know very well, or whom you’ve never met at all.
Just think, these people can look at all your photos, status updates, location check-ins, etc., and you have no way of knowing how much time they actually spend looking through your profile. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger on the street and hand over a bunch of photos and information about your day-to-day activity, so why would you want strangers seeing all of this info online? It’s actually pretty creepy when you think about it.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Granted, not every stranger on your friends list is automatically a creep. They might be respectable individuals with good intentions, or no intentions at all. The point is that if you do allow strangers access to your profiles, then you put yourself at a greater risk for potentially dangerous situations. So, rather than exiling everyone you don’t know, simply turn to the online resources mentioned above and run a quick background check on their name to make sure they don’t pose a threat to you.
Ashley Welter is a blogger from San Diego, CA. She specializes in writing about safety tips for social media users.