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Do you dread going to work because of internet harassment?

There is nothing amusing about internet harassment or outright cyber stalking. If this is happening to you at the office, it is probably making the environment uncomfortable and disrupting your workday.

Men and women have different experiences with this problem. Men generally receive more physical threats, while women, especially young women, are more likely to experience sexual harassment and stalking. No matter your gender, however, this is not a problem you should have to endure.

The Pew Research report

According to a study undertaken by Pew Research, 40 percent of internet users have experienced online harassment. Incidents might include name-calling, efforts to embarrass, threats of physical harm, sexual harassment or stalking. Interestingly, the study revealed that half of those who suffer online attacks have no idea who is behind them.

Ongoing harassment

In many cases, online harassment will continue unabated for extended periods of time. This is what happened in the first federal prosecution for such a crime. In 2004, a South Carolina resident was indicted on 26 counts of sending harassing, obscene emails to a former girlfriend. He engaged in this activity every day for years until his victim finally collected the evidence against him and engaged the help of police. They in turn called upon a cybercrime task force for further assistance.

Next steps

While law enforcement personnel, policymakers and researchers all agree about the importance of stopping internet harassment, to date there is no consensus as to who should be in charge of monitoring this kind of behavior. In the meantime, if you have become a victim, report the incidents to your employer. You should keep records, noting dates and times, take screenshots and make hard copies of the messages. 

Internet harassment is no joke. If you are a target, make sure you apprise the appropriate authorities about the situation to start building your case.

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