I'm at the moment reading Val McDermid's latest Tony Hill novel, which deals with a case of women who committed 'suicide' after having been harrassed online. As always, a great read and Val has great insight in the psychology of criminals.
It made me think though. Why is it so easy to harrass someone online? Well, first of all it's impersonal. You don't need to face the person you're attacking and you can post all of your vile comments without problem. If you'd be face-to-face you most likely wouldn't have the courage to do so.
Next thing is that the victim most of the time feels inadequate to deal with the problem. How can you deal with anonymous threats and attacks?
I remember that not so long ago one of my students was faced with this problem. She got attacked on Facebook because she had dared to voice an opion about something sexist. When she spoke to me about the problem and asked me what to do, I told her it was quite easy to stop the problem. "How?" she asked. "Well," I answered, "simply don't go on Facebook anymore". Easy right? And of course, tell the police about it. Nowadays they take this kind of problem seriously, especially when young ones are concerned.
(They are not so professional when dealing with adults though. My sister has a problem as well. Someone is using her email address to try and get access to all kind of internet games. Up to now nothing really bad happened, but one day she'll get a bill for things purchase. And then say you haven't ordered it! When she contacted the police, they just laughed at her. The only solution was to delete her email address and get a new one, but that means you have to change lots of things. Anyway, we'll contact the federal police after having spoken with someone who's higher up in the ranks. This is a crime and it should be treated just so.)
Have you ever been the victim of cyber crime?