Social media sites and Instant Messaging apps make it easy to report unwanted messages and contact from others, but sometimes simply hitting the “block” button isn’t enough. Some people are very persistent and will contact you in whatever means they can- and often, this leads to IM stalking.
IM stalking is typically thought of as being scenarios in which the person you don’t want contact with continues to contact you after being told no, and then after being told no multiple times, starts to contact you with more frequency and in strange ways that come across as unnerving.
So how do you stop being stalked via IM? Here are a few tips.
- Ask Them to Stop
Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is- but asking for the unwanted communication to stop is the first step in ending the harassment.
- Block Them
Quite often, if you have one messaging app, you probably have another. It’s even more likely that the person bothering you knows all of the necessary information to contact you through instant messaging. So, block them on whatever apps you can.
- Stop Answering
If the person bothering you sends you 500 texts in a day and doesn’t get a response back from you, it shows just how much this person is obsessed with contacting you.
- Block Their Cell Phone Number
If the person has your phone number, take precautions measures. Block their number on your phone, whether it be a house phone or a mobile phone. This way, contacting you by phone is out of the question.
As a last resort, you could report the offender to the police. Sometimes this is the best option, but it can also be a long process. A downside of this tip, however, is that harassment isn’t always taken seriously. Also, if you’ve responded to the offender’s messages after telling them to stop, your credibility might be lowered in the police’s eyes.
After you’ve gotten yourself an IM stalker, you probably want to prevent it from happening again. To prevent it, be careful who you give your information to online and be even more careful where you post your information. For example, don’t post your phone number or username for other messaging apps on your Facebook profile. Another method of prevention is avoidance. Avoid being in contact with people you don’t know, or who make you feel uncomfortable.