One in two Internet users, who are victims of stalking, know those harassing them online. This is revealed in a survey, published on Tuesday by Microsoft on the global “Safer Internet Day”. More than one stalker in four is from family or friendship circles.
In this study conducted online in 23 countries including Belgium, in which 502 individuals were surveyed, a little over 60% of victims of Internet stalking state having lost trust in others, both online and offline. They also experience greater effects of stress, suffering from a lack of sleep, and even sometimes loneliness.
This survey shows women and youngsters as the individuals most vulnerable to such forms of stalking. Half of all women questioned have been stalked online, compared to 41% of men. Although youngsters face equal levels of intimidation online to adults, the psychological consequences prove more serious. The youngsters thus experienced more stress (41%) than adults (22%) in this sample.
Lastly, almost 50% of Belgians questioned indicate being victims of unsolicited contacts, unwanted “sexting”, intimidation, cyber-bullying and online misogyny. Microsoft has devised a classification for the countries studied. Belgium is ranked in eighth place within the so-called “Digital Civility Index”.