A few days ago, I posted a blog on “Social Media and the Cyberbully: How to Protect Your Privacy Online,” as one way of sharing what I presented on this topic to an audience of my peers at the ASIS International 62nd Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Orlando, Florida in September. That blog included a link to our related 360 Executive Briefing, Security, Privacy and Social Media.

Today, I want to share a bit more, given the fact that online harassment no longer takes place on the fringes. I want to address some of the types – some of them quite serious – that are endemic to online harassment.

From Online Harassment and Cyberstalking to Predatory Behavior

Think of online harassment as often falling in one of the following three categories:

  1. Intimidation and humiliation: Aggressive online harassment often includes hostile, bullying language aimed at producing fear in the victim’s mind or coercing the victim into specific actions, including attempting to influence or change the victim’s behaviors and actions. These attacks can also be carried out with the intention of shaming the victim and damaging his or her emotional state and self-esteem.
  2. Stalking and sexual predation: Harassment online can become pathologically persistent. Online predators will repeatedly force communication with the victim. In many cases, this stalking can include a sexual element, whether implicit or explicit. Regardless, it is important to understand that online harassment is not necessarily limited to “bullying” and can also take place in the form of persistent, excessive and unwanted messaging directed at the victim.
  3. Threats of violence: The extreme end the spectrum of online harassment involves threats of violence against the victim. These threats can be vague or specific. They can be direct or indirect. In any case, they can represent real, looming danger and may require immediate intervention – from law enforcement or experts in threat assessment – to protect the victim from potential physical harm.

For More Information

You can learn more about the risks of cyber bullying in our second of three related 360 Insight Executive Briefings. This one is titled “The Shadow of Online Harassment.”

These risks are very real, but we do not have to – and should not – wait to be victims. In my next post, I will highlight some of the ways we can more effectively protect ourselves online.


When tweets turn to threats: learn more about the risks.
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