Darker Side of Social Media: Internet Stalking

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Internet Stalking can often be put under the broad umbrella of “Cyber Bullying”, a term that I personally tend to associate with school children sending hurtful comments over social media. Although this is dangerous in itself, internet stalking can turn into something far more dangerous than that, especially when it continues amongst adults. 

This week, 21 year old Lauren Aderley from Shrewsbury was arrested and jailed for nine months for offences of stalking and impersonating a police officer after she built up a complex fiction on the internet involving numerous characters with fake social media profiles and email addresses, with the sole goal of manipulating and controlling the life of her victim for almost two years.

Miss Adderley had been in a romantic relationship with the victim, Mitchell Lloyd, for a brief period of time. When the two separated she claimed that she had previously been the victim of a sexual assault, and said she would only report the incident to the police if Lloyd agreed to provide a statement. Adderley would then use this against him and controlled him through her fake persona of “Officer Robert Hay” who dictated where he could go, when he was allowed to go there and who he was allowed to be in contact with, with financial ‘sanctions’ as a consequence of not complying with the rules. Lloyd, then 18, obeyed instruction as he believed it was legitimate and associated with Adderley’s non-existent case.

Although lawyers and police officials claim this particular case is highly unusual, internet stalking and emotional manipulation in relationships is unfortunately all too common. In the modern-age of technology, the internet can be used to veil a criminal in an anonymity that previously was not available to them, and provides stalkers and abusers with a vehicle to further control, manipulate and destroy the life of another person. It may come as a shock to some that a case full of such malicious and disturbing pre-meditated behaviour comes from the mind of a female, but domestic abuse against men is a huge issue that tends to be hidden under the radar.

Statistics and information surrounding domestic abuse and control against men is hard to attain as men are supposedly less likely to discuss their experiences, let alone report them to police. One of the most common forms of domestic abuse against men is emotional manipulation rather than physical abuse, which this case is a prime example of.  Statistics from ManKind Initative’s FOI request show that the number of reported domestic abuse cases against men are slowly on the rise. It cannot be said whether this is due to an increase of abuse against men or just that the men who have kept their abuse a secret for so long are now slowly being revealed from the woodwork. It is, however, a statistic that cannot go unnoticed.

Wessex Scene was able to get a comment from Mitchell Lloyd about his advice to people who are suffering from cyber bullying or internet stalking, he said:

In that situation [speaking up]is the hardest thing to do, but it’s what got me out of it. I stayed quiet for two years and it just got worse, but when I spoke up it all got sorted. Don’t be scared to ask for help, you have more people [supporting you]than you think, you have to look after yourself and if someone is getting in the way of that then you need to do something.

 

 

 

More articles in The Darker Side of Social Media
  1. The Darker Side of Social Media: Blue Whale
  2. The Darker Sides of Social Media: SnapMaps
  3. The Darker Side of Social Media: Snapchat’s Race Problem
  4. The Darker Side of Social Media: The Lighter Side of Life
  5. The Darker Side of Social Media: Effects on Employability
  6. The Darker Side of Social Media: Cyberbullying
  7. Darker Side of Social Media: Internet Stalking
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Features Editor 2016-18, English Student, aspiring journalist and avid traveller

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