Online harassment is the use the of electronic communications directed at an individual that causes that individual substantial emotional distress and which serves no legitimate purpose. Some forms of online harassment include...
- Unwanted / unsolicited e-mail
- Unwanted / unsolicited chat or instant messages
- Defamatory or derogatory statements about you posted on web pages, message boards and in guest books
- Unsolicited comments about you to others
- Encouraging others to harass you
Stalking includes the additional element of involving a threat with a direct intent to cause imminent fear of death or serious bodily injury.
Obnoxious people, unpopular ideas, "spam" e-mail, or simple disagreements are not harassment.
- Tell the harasser to cease and desist, once. Be straight forward: tell them once, and then break off all further communication with them. If you are in IM or chat, log off immediately and stay off-line for at least 24 hours.
- Do not respond to anything else the harasser says. No replies to emails, taunts or lies said about you. Harassment is a form of power over you. If you take that power away from the harasser and refuse to play their game, most of them will lose interest quickly when they don't get the reaction they seek.
- If the problem only exists IM or chat, go off-line and change your online identity. This means changing your nickname and all the information you have listed in your profile. Everything must be changed.
- Block the user from your social networking page or from e-mailing you.
- If you are being harassed via email, contact the harasser's ISP (Internet Service Provider) and make a complaint.
- Stay out of problem chat rooms.
- If the threats are posted on a Web page, save the entire screen, including the URL, and print it. Bookmarking it is not enough, because the harasser/stalker can alter their Web site.
- Don't give out your online ID except to trusted friends and tell them not to give it out to anyone else.
- Be certain all of your online profiles do not contain any personally identifying information about you, such as age, sex, address, phone number, school attended and teams you play on or where you work.
- Be sure logging is enabled in your IM and chat clients and keep emails. You need to keep all log files and emails that pertain to your harasser for evidence.
- If you feel that you or your family is in physical danger from a stalker, or the stalker knows where you live and has made physical threats against you - CALL YOUR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IMMEDIATELY!
Stalking and harassing via electronic communication is illegal in Montana. Persons convicted of these offenses face both fines and jail time.
MCA 45-8-213 Privacy in communications
MCA 45-5-220 Stalking