Accusations of Cyberstalking and Cyberbullying Increase Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
People have spent even more time than usual engaged in online activities over the past six months due to COVID-19. As concerns over the coronavirus linger through the fall and winter months, many will continue to rely on the internet both as a part of their jobs and to stay connected with family and friends. Unfortunately, this increased usage has also brought about an increase in accusations of online crimes. Cyberstalking and cyberbullying are two common and potentially serious problems that have become even more prevalent during the pandemic. Our Daytona criminal defense attorneys explain some of the penalties you could face as a result of these charges and the steps you need to take to protect yourself.
Online Crimes: Cyberstalking and Cyberbullying
According to a recent CNBC News report, cybersecurity experts warn that online crimes have become an even bigger threat over the course of 2020 than they have been in recent years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of these types of crimes are perpetrated by sophisticated cybercriminals and groups of hackers who develop elaborate schemes to steal money or other’s identities, there are criminal charges that can result from seemingly harmless personal interactions one online user has with another.
Cyberstalking and cyberbullying are two common problems that have spiked in recent months. These situations can arise among coworkers, former romantic partners, people you were previously friendly with, or even complete strangers. They generally involve:
- Cyberstalking: This is when you invade someone’s privacy or personal space online. It includes monitoring their activities, commenting on their posts, attempting to communicate with them in chat rooms, and otherwise making contact that is unwanted. When it reaches the point of harassment or threats, you could end up facing criminal charges.
- Cyberbullying: This involves ‘trolling’ others, making threats, casting doubts on another’s reputation or character, attempting to turn others against them, or other types of virtual attacks. It has been an ongoing problem with teens but is increasingly common among adults during the pandemic.
Protecting Yourself Against Cyberstalking and Cyberbullying Charges
There is nothing wrong with meeting people online, using social media platforms to keep up with friends, or engaging in virtual debates with people whose opinions differ from yours. However, be aware that cyberstalking and cyberbullying laws have become more strict in recent years. Under the Florida Statutes, any credible threat could result in criminal charges that carry heavy fines and a potential jail sentence. To protect yourself against these types of charges, follow these steps:
- Respect the privacy of people you meet online;
- Be alert to signals that your attention is unwanted;
- Refrain from attempting to contact people who have blocked or unfollowed you;
- Avoid making personal attacks or any type of threat.
Let Us Help You Today
Charges pertaining to online crimes are aggressively prosecuted and carry heavy penalties. To protect yourself against a conviction, get Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. on your side. Call or contact our Daytona criminal defense attorneys online and request a consultation today.