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Online Psychological Harassment

Psychological harassment is an umbrella term for a wide range of habitual and intensely negative behavior toward someone that has observable, emotionally damaging effects. It can occur in the workplace, at schools, or in any other public setting.

The soaring popularity of Internet communication has regrettably come at the cost of establishing yet another avenue through which harassment may occur. From the new legal dilemma of “cyber-stalking” to virtual gangs of grade-school children relentlessly attacking a classmate, psychological harassment online can be particularly vicious due to the degree of anonymity behind which perpetrators can hide.

Studies of this phenomenon have repeatedly shown that people are much more aggressive when not face to face with the subject of their attacks. Moreover, those who are themselves victimized “in real life” are prone to feeling empowered to engage in harassment with the barrier of the computer screen to protect them.

As constant Internet communication becomes ever more integrated into our daily reality, however, the results of these episodes can be tragic. In one recent and widely-publicized example, a mother attempting to find out what a classmate of her 13-year-old daughter was saying about her child created a fake social networking profile. After being teased about the incident online, the classmate killed herself, leading to charges of impersonation and harassment against the mother and those who helped her.

There can be no question that the Internet has radically reshaped our world. We can no longer act as though the things we say and do online have no consequences. Cases such as the one above make this point painfully clear, and they are becoming alarmingly more frequent with each passing day.

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Online psychological harassment is real. If you or someone you love has been affected by harassment over the Internet, you deserve to know your legal options. Contact the Sheboygan personal injury attorneys of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at (920) 459-8000.