Sun, Aug 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Survey says nearly 20% of students stalked online

HARD TO POLICE:Wang Pei-ling of National Chi Nan University said that it is difficult to predict when a stalker will act and it may include real-life intrusions

By Yang Mien-chieh and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Nearly one in five students said they had experienced online stalking, a Modern Women’s Foundation survey released on Thursday showed.

Of the students who had been stalked, 64.4 percent said it was via Facebook, Line, Instagram or other social media platforms, 33.7 percent said it was via cellphone calls and 22.1 percent via e-mail, the online survey showed.

The survey showed that 73.8 percent of those who said they were stalked were high-school students.

Among those who reported being stalked, 61.5 percent ignored the stalker, 59.6 percent said it would eventually end and 59.6 percent were more careful online, the survey showed.

Some students said they responded to stalking by limiting information they made public on the Internet, searching for information on stalking, or blocking access to their online profiles and contact information, the survey showed.

The survey polled 2,172 students aged 16 to 24, the foundation said, adding that of that number, 141, or 6.49 percent, reported having been stalked online, while 265 (12.2 percent) suspected that they had been stalked.

Stalking through the use of technology is usually characterized by an inability to predict when the stalker will act; the target being stalked online and in real life; and efforts to damage the target’s status within their online community and social circle, National Chi Nan University Department of Social Policy and Social Work professor Wang Pei-ling (王珮玲) said.

However, it is difficult to prove the criminality of such actions, Wang said, adding that at most, a stalker would be fined NT$3,000 for breaches of the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法).

Although an anti-stalking act has passed legislative review, it would only passively prohibit online stalking, she said.

The draft act lacks a countermeasure for text or images that are already public, she said.

In its version of the draft act — which defines online stalking in legal terms — the foundation proposes restraining orders to counteract stalking, as well as more active measures for prevention and investigation, Wang said.

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