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  3. A Quick Insight on Cyber-Stalking

  4. Healing Thoughts from a Cyber-Stalking Victim

  5. Tips for Staying Safe Online

  6. Cyber-Stalking

  7. Cyber-Stalking or Harassment

  8. Cyber-Stalking Laws

  9. All About Cyber Criminals


The recent phenomenon of "cyber-stalking" is the use of the Internet as a tool to exploit victims. These predators, usually male, go on-line to harass, stalk, and eventually assault their victims. With the Internet, the possibilities for cyber-stalking are endless. In 1993 there were 5000 websites on the Internet. Today there are over 2.5 billion, with more than 25,000 websites devoted exclusively to pornography and 12,000 websites run by pedophiles. Chat rooms are frequented by a variety of people, including children who are restless and women who are looking for companionship. Both are easy targets for the cyber-predator.

In many cases, child molesters enter chat rooms pretending to be children. These molesters have perfected the art of cyber-stalking: they even write like 12-year olds, spelling mistakes and all, in order to exploit their prey. They set up a meeting, and before the child realizes it, he is abducted.

The Internet allows predators to deceive others and pretend they are something they're not. Since image is everything on the Internet, people on chat rooms can live in a fantasy world, where the line between fantasy and reality is often blurred.

Source: Dr. Eric Hickey


Cyberstalking is best viewed as a method of stalking employed by either domestic or stranger stalkers. Typically, we find that most cyberstalking appears to be committed by strangers given the vast number of sexual predator, celebrity, and nuisance stalkers currently using the Internet. The stalking landscape will continue to fluctuate as more individuals from all socioeconomic statuses, ethnic/racial backgrounds, political persuasions, and religious belief systems embrace the ether world. For example, the fastest growing group of persons now gaining access to the Internet is that earning a wage of under $25,000 per year.

The greatest focus surrounding those who cyberstalk and their victims involves sexual predators. Most commonly noted are pedophiles and child molesters.

Differentiating between pedophiles and child molesters is not an easy task because they are not mutually exclusive in their fantasies and behaviors.

Pedophiles prefer the company of children both socially and emotionally.

Although many pedophiles work in adult settings, they always prefer the company of children. They usually are not married and live alone or with a relative. Their fantasies involve being emotionally attached and, if possible, physically involved with a child. They appear on a continuum from reclusive and self-gratified (where the pedophile does not actually seek out children but instead uses movies, props, photographs, etc., to fulfill fantasies and sexual desires) to the aggressive pedophile who seeks out children for sexual purposes, including murder. The child molester also prefers children but is more likely to be married and have a family. The key distinguishing factor is sexual contact with children. Once the pedophile begins to approach children, he is no longer in a benign status engaged in only sexual fantasies involving children. Pedophiles and child molesters can be found affiliated with NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association), Free Spirits, the Renee Guyon Society, Pedophile Liberation Front and other organizations of similar ilk.

The Internet has become a labyrinth in which such predators lurk. Internet chat rooms, especially those designed for younger persons, have become virtual playgrounds for sexual predators. Pedophiles who may have kept their fantasies to themselves now have a forum to discuss their thoughts with other pedophiles as well as daily opportunities to visit chat rooms and begin relationships with unsuspecting victims. In California, a 60-year-old opthamologist contacted a 13-year-old girl and after a few e-mail exchanges began sending her sexually explicit photographs. Eventually the doctor asked to meet the girl and she agreed. The girl turned out to be a police officer working Internet sex crime cases. The doctor felt that law enforcement was overreacting because there was no proof of intent to harm the child. In his words "I only sent her a couple of photos and asked to meet her." The Internet now provides the predator with a plethora of tools and options to use in the process of stalking children. Photographs, drawings, e-mail, online chats, chat rooms, videos, and music are some of the devices now available via the Internet that allow predators to connect with children. Potential rapists can use the same tools in hunting victims. From a criminal's perspective, barrooms have been places of gathering for men seeking women to rape.

The advent of the Internet now provides a forum for would-be rapists to stalk women. Unfortunately people find themselves more willing to talk openly about personal topics on the Internet than if they were face-to-face with a stranger. The computer provides a false sense of anonymity and security that leads potential victims into sharing too much information.

In one case the predator used his computer to lure victims to his home for sexual activities or promises of employment. Thus far the bodies of eight of these women have been located after the predator raped, tortured, and murdered them.

Source: Dr. Eric Hickey

A Quick Insight on Cyber-Stalking

"It's important that people understand that cyberstalking is more prevalent than they can imagine. The lack of all communications cues which normally might tip off someone as to a person's intent are absent, and aid the stalker in furthering his desires. People need to be aware of the information that can be obtained about THEM online, often for free, and need to understand that they can avoid becoming a victim in many instances, and what to do should it happen despite their efforts. The series helps in alerting the public to many of the issues in today's society."

Source: Associate Professor Christopher Malinowski
Program Director/Graduate Programs
Computer Science Department

Healing Thoughts from a Cyber-Stalking Victim

It took a long time to find any sort of healing. I finally went to see a psychotherapist for almost a year. She helped me put everything in perspective, encouraged me to do more media interviews and get the word out and was my "cheerleader" whenever something good happened on my case. As a stranger, she was removed from the situation, which helped me more than any of my family or friends could do, including my husband. I learned how to focus, let negative comments pretty much not bother me and to never give up.


Tips for Staying Safe Online
by J. A. Hitchcock, author of Net Crimes & Misdemeanors

  1. Select a gender-neutral username, email address, etc. Avoid anything cute, sexual, diminutive, or overtly feminine.
  2. Keep your primary email address private. Use your primary email address ONLY for people you know and trust.
  3. Get a free email account and use that for all your other online activity. Make sure you select a gender-neutral username that is nothing like anything you've had before. There are many, many free email providers, such as Hotmail, Juno, Yahoo! and Hushmail. We suggest that you do a search using your favorite search engine and choose the email provider that best suits your own needs.
  4. Don't give out information simply because it is requested. Countless web sites ask you to give them your full name, date of birth, address, phone number, email address, etc. when you might just want to search their catalogs or read messages on a discussion forum. Give as little information as possible, and if they insist on information that doesn't seem justified, leave to go elsewhere. Some people give false information at such sites, especially if they don't plan to return in the future. Be especially cautious of "profiles" and "directory listings" for instant messaging programs or web sites.
  5. Block or ignore unwanted users. Whether you are in a chat room or using IM, you should always check out what options/preferences are available to you and take advantage of the "Block all users except those on my buddy list" or adding unwanted usernames to an Ignore list in chat. If anyone bothers you and won't go away, put them on block or ignore!
  6. Don't allow others to draw you into conflict. That may mean that you don't defend yourself from personal attacks. It's safer to ignore them and keep yourself above the fray. When you respond to a harasser in any way, you're letting him know that he has succeeded. No matter how hard it is to do, do not interact with a harasser. When he realizes that he isn't getting a reaction from you, in most cases he'll move on to find an easier target.
  7. Lurk in a new forum to learn local customs. Read mailing list or discussion board postings for a week or more without responding or posting anything yourself. In chat rooms, just sit quietly for 10-30 minutes to see if the discussions that are going on are truly something in which you wish to engage. Don't respond to private messages in that time, either.
  8. If a place becomes stressful, leave it. There are many stressors we cannot avoid easily in our lives, so why put up with those we can avoid? If someone is being asinine in a chat room or on a discussion board, there are countless others that are likely to be more pleasant. If another visitor to a chat room or forum is harassing you and the forum owner/moderator refuses to take decisive action, why would you want to be there? Don't allow yourself to get tied up in battles over territory.
  9. When you change, really change! If you need to change your username or email address to break off contact with a harasser, using a variation on your real name or anything you've used in the past leaves tracks allowing the harasser to find you again fairly easily. If you've always been "Kitty" and you change your handle to "Cat," you haven't really changed. The harasser knows that you have particular hobbies or interests. For instance, perhaps you like to play Scrabble. If he's really obsessed or simply has too much time on his hands, he's likely to poke around in different Scrabble-related fora looking for feline names to see if he can find you again.
  10. Watch what you "say" online. When you do participate online, be careful--only type what you would say to someone's face. If you wouldn't say it to a stranger standing next to you in an elevator, why in the world would you "say" it online?
  11. Know what's in your signature file. Don't put your company name, title, email address, address, phone/fax number, etc. there unless your employer requires that you do so. If you must provide that information, restrict use of that email account to business interactions with co-workers and customers. Do not ever use it to participate in any public forum (mailing list, newsgroup, web-based discussion board, etc.).
  12. Never use a business account for personal use. Simply leaving messages on a discussion board will reveal your IP address to others. That information can easily lead to a stalker knowing where you work and finding you offline. Restrict personal internet use to home and public access computers.
  13. Ego Surf. Put your first name and last name in quotes in a search engine such as Yahoo!, Google or Dogpile and see if there are any results regarding you. You just might be surprised at what you find. Also put in the names of your spouse, loved ones and/or children. Remember to put their names in quotes to refine the search results. Better yet, use TracerLock or a similar service to do it for you on a regular basis.
  14. Never give your password to anyone. Your ISP will never, ever ask you for your password while you are online or via email. In fact, they shouldn't ever contact you to ask you for your password, period. They can get it from their own records, if they really need it for any reason. If you call them for support, there are a few rather rare instances in which the support person might ask you for your password - but you called them, right? So you know it's really a support person from your ISP that you're talking to. There's no legitimate reason for anyone to ever contact you to ask for your password.
  15. Don't provide your credit card number or other identifying information as proof of age to access or subscribe to a web site run by any person or company with whom you are not personally familiar or that doesn't have an extremely good, widespread reputation. Check consumer advocacy resources before giving out your credit card number to anyone, just to be sure that your trust is justified.
  16. Personally monitor children's internet use, even if you have trained them in what information they can and cannot give out. There is no software in the world that can replace the active involvement of a concerned parent.
  17. Instruct children to never, ever give out personal information - their real name, address, or phone number online without your permission. Consider posing as a stranger to befriend them just to see what you can learn.
  18. Be very cautious about putting any pictures of yourself or your children online anywhere, or allowing anyone else (relatives, schools, dance academies, sports associations) to publish any photos. Some stalkers become obsessed because of an image. A random email address or screen name is simply much less attractive to most obsessive personalities than a photograph.

Cyberstalking and the Law
With personal information becoming readily available to an increasing number of people through the Internet and other advanced technology, state legislators are addressing the problem of stalkers who harass and threaten their victims over the World Wide Web. Stalking laws and other statutes criminalizing harassment behavior currently in effect in many states may already address this issue by making it a crime to communicate by any means with the intent to harass or alarm the victim.

States have begun to address the use of computer equipment for stalking purposes by including provisions prohibiting such activity in both harassment and anti-stalking legislation (Riveira, 1,2). A handful of states, such as Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire and New York have specifically including prohibitions against harassing electronic, computer or e-mail communications in their harassment legislation. Alaska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and more recently, California, have incorporated electronically communicated statements as conduct constituting stalking in their anti-stalking laws. A few states have both stalking and harassment statutes that criminalize threatening and unwanted electronic communications. Other states have laws other than harassment or anti-stalking statutes that prohibit misuse of computer communications and e-mail, while others have passed laws containing broad language that can be interpreted to include cyberstalking behaviors (Gregorie).

Recent federal law has addressed cyberstalking as well. The Violence Against Women Act, passed in 2000, made cyberstalking a part of the federal interstate stalking statute. Other federal legislation that addresses cyberstalking has been introduced recently, but no such measures have yet been enacted. Consequently, there remains a lack of legislation at the federal level to specifically address cyberstalking, leaving the majority of legislative prohibitions against cyberstalking at the state level (Wiredpatrol.org).

Drinking Facts

    Women and Alcohol

    Alcohol and Athletic Ability

    Unintentional Injury

    Date Rape


    Alcohol and Depression

    Alcohol and the Body

    Chronic Alcohol Use
    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Pregnant women who drink risk having babies with fetal alcohol syndrome.
  • Babies born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome have: smaller heads and brains, some degree of mental retardation, poor coordination, hyperactivity and abnormal facial features.6
  • 10% of alcohol health care costs are for care of fetal alcohol syndrome.9

  • Adult Drinking Behaviors


    Alcohol and Advertising

    Youth and Drinking


    1Parks, K., et al. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 4/2004.
    3Ashley, O., Marsden, M.E., Brady, T. American Journal of Drug Abuse and Alcohol Abuse, "Effectiveness of substance abuse treatment programming for women: a review." 2/03. http://articles.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0978/is_1_29/ai_101175127
    4Middlebury College - Middlebury, Vermont, http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/healthed/
    5The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction, Alcohol Alert, 58:1-4, 2002.
    6Massachusetts General Hospital Report, March 8, 2004.
    7National Crime Victimization Survey, as reported in U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Alcohol and Crime, 1998.
    8The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 4/04.
    9Harvard University's College Health Behaviors Newsletter, 1(2), 4/04.
    10University's of Washington, Eric Chudler's Neuroscience for Kids, http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/alco.html
    11U.S. Alcohol Epidemiologic Data Reference Manual, Vol 6. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1998.
    12Heath Behaviors of Adults: United States, 1999-2001. Series Report 10, Number 219.
    13Kinney, Jean & Leaton, Gwen. Loosing the Grip, Mosby-Year Book, Inc. New York, 1995.
    15Substance Abuse: The Nation's Number One Health Problem: Key Indicators for Policy, Update 02/2001. Prepared by the Scneider Institute for Health Policy, Brandeis University for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey.
    16Institute of Medicine. Pathways of Addiction - Opportunities in Drug Abuse Research. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1996.
    17U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, Office of Applied Studies. Summary of Findings from the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Rockville, MD, 1999.
    18Johnston et al., Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975-2000. Volume 1: Secondary School Students. NIH Publication No. 01-4924. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2001.
    19High Risk Drinking in College: What We Know and What We Need to Learn Final Report on the Panel on Contexts and Consequences. Task Force on the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. NIH. 4/02. www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov
    20U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010, conference edition, Vol. II, Washington, DC: USDHHS, 2000.
    21Knight, et al. Alcohol abuse and dependence among U.S. college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 2002, in press.
    22Sher et al. Short-and long-term effects of fraternity and sorority membership on heavy drinking: A social norms perspective. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 15(1): 42-51, 2001.
    23U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. Summary of Findings from the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Rockville, MD, 1999. Table 57.
    24Stingson FS, Nephew TM. "State Trends in Alcohol-Related Mortality, 1979-92."
    25Federation of Tax Administrators. State Tax Rates and Structure: State Beer Excise Tax Rates, January 1, 2000. www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/beer.html
    26Monitoring the Future. National Results on Adolescent Drug Abuse: Overview of Key Findings 2003. National Institute on Drug Abuse. http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/overview2003.pdf
    27Nicholls, P.; Edwards, G.; and Kyle, E. Alcoholics admitted to four hospitals in England: General and cause-specific mortality. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 35(3):841-855, 1974.
    28Saunders, J.B.; Davis, M.; and Williams, R. Do women develop alcoholic liver disease more readily than men? British Medical Journal 282:1140-1143, 1981. Tuyns, A.J., & Pequignot, G. Greater risk of ascitic cirrhosis in females in relation to alcohol consumption. International Journal of Epidemiology 13(1):53-57, 1984.

What Factors Contribute to Academic Success in Children?

It's important to remember that factors for academic success are statistically based, which means some children will be academically successful despite being at high risk for academic failure. We have all heard stirring and motivational stories of people who rose from poverty, abuse, cultures of violence, and other terrible circumstances to great heights through continued trying and sheer gumption. Such self-motivated individuals may be helped along the way by teachers, perhaps the only resource, in some cases, to achieve their dreams. These kids who succeed are wonderful, but tend to be exceptional in ability to self-motivate, something that may be stripped of other children in similar circumstances.

Probably one of the greatest determining factors in academic success is parental involvement and parental motivation. About 70-90% of children who get As or Bs in schools report they are encouraged by parents to do well in school. This alone may help children understand that school is important. Such parents may also be around to help with homework, occasionally volunteer at school, and they attend any conferences or meetings with teachers. In contrast, children who earn Cs or lower, at least in one study, report at about 49% that parents do not encourage them. Schools also regularly report that better performance and academic success is more likely when parents are actively involved in their child's education.

Socio-economic indicators for academic success in children tend to exclude the children — about 19% in the US — who live in poverty. Middle class and upper class children tend by in large to get better grades, while children from poorer families, especially the poorest, are more likely to repeat grades. Traumatic events, abusive parenting, the impact of violence, and being parented by a single parent frequently correlates to lower grades. In the last instance, what seems to most determine academic success is the degree to which a single parent has time to share with children, since the single parent in most cases must work at least full time to support his or her family. It is clearly the case that many single parents do very well with this, and are able to balance the needs of work and family and be extraordinary parents.

Quality childcare and early childhood education, especially of a caliber that helps children develop socially, mentally, and emotionally, tends to be a positive factor in academic success. Conversely, childcare in crowded institutions that are the only choices for parents on a budget may not give children the skills they need to do well in school. Programs for children like early intervention pre-schools and Head Start do tend to make a difference.

Getting adequate nutrition can't be underestimated. Many studies have shown that students perform better on standardized tests when given breakfast the day of the test. While this is great knowledge to have, many parents wonder why students aren't then fed every day, since grades are usually not determined by standardized test performance. When schools can offer free or reduced lunch programs these may positively affect academics, but many argue these programs are not far reaching enough and cover only the most impoverished children.

Regular school attendance tends to produce more successful students. Frequent absences, due to illness, disruptive home life, or chronic conditions negatively affects academic success. Peer relationships, especially when instances of bullying occur, can affect both attendance and academic success, so both parents and educators must be vigilant to potential bullying or abusive situations in the school setting.

This short list is only part of the factors that create academic success. There are clearly many things that will affect student performance, and it takes fine teachers, great schools, and good parents to help each child progress.

Top 10 Reasons to Go to College

Now that you have skipped a few years after graduating from high school, you might be a bit nervous about going back to college. Nonetheless, there are a number of reasons why you should go to college, no matter how scary the thought may be.

1. Go to College to Secure Your Future

One reason you should go to college is to secure your future. Many employers higher only college grads. This is particularly true of higher paying jobs that come with benefits.

2. Go to College for a Better Lifestyle

Making more money = a more luxurious lifestyle. College graduates make substantially more money than those that graduate only from high school.

3. Go to College So You Can Lead Your Family to Greatness

College graduates tend to live healthier lives with a better value system. This will make it possible for you to be a better parent and leader to your family.

4. Go to College and Become a More Rounded Individual

Aside from the monetary benefits of going to college, the education you receive and the experience you gain from going to college will make you a more well-rounded person. With the knowledge you gain combined with your improved communication skills, you will be exposed to a whole new world.

5. Go to College to Enhance Your Personal Interests

What can be better than making a living doing something you love? Going to college allows you to learn more about something that interests you and qualifies you to actually make money doing it.

6. Go to College and Gain New Confidence

Experts have stated that going to college improves one's self confidence and actually makes them more emotionally secure.

7. Go to College and Expand Your Opportunities

When you go to college, you gain new career opportunities. You also gain the opportunity to teach those around you about the things you have learned.

8. Go to College and Learn a Sense of Fairness

When you go to college, you learn more about the world around you. As a result, you gain a greater sense of the difference between right and wrong.

9. Go to College and Get a Great Return

No investment wields as great of a financial return as going to college. The money you invest in going to college will come back in multiples when you land a higher paying job.

10. Go to College and Continue the American Dream

When you go to college, you continue the path to the American Dream that was established years ago.

With so many reasons to go to college, the only real question is: What took you so long? So, get out there, get past your fears, and begin making the world yours!