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Social Media Makes Stalking Easier

January is National Stalking Awareness Month and we're focusing on how technology has made stalking very easy to do without someone knowing. Social media has been an amazing tool to connect family and friends on a regular basis. However, it has also made it very easy to find someone and take a peak into their life.

Let's start with the definition of stalking so we can really understand what it is. Each state laws vary, but New Jersey's law is "purposeful conduct directed at specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or death to himself or family member and knowingly, recklessly, or negligently places person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or death to himself or family member." (Definition from here.)

The majority of stalkers are someone who the victim has either dated or is currently dating. Stalkers can be any gender, race, age, or sexual orientation. Stalkers typically do some form of stalking weekly, if not daily. With technology's integration into our every day lives, it has become even easier to stalk someone without them knowing.

When we post on social media, we give our online community a glimpse into our lives. What people may not know is that each picture you post has a location built into it, so if you're live posting a picture, it is very easy to find where you're currently at. Also, depending on the social media platform (and this is always changing as we learn more about technology) once you post a picture on their platform, you do not have the rights to that photo any more, but rather the company does.

Here are some tips to keep your social media accounts private and safer. Please know that this is not a comprehensive list, and the algorithms and protections are constantly changing, so please keep up to date with any security updates.