WVU taking proactive approach toward preventing cyberstalking

MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - WVU Peer Advocates and the ITS department are taking proactive steps to educate the campus community about cyberstalking.

While it's not necessarily an issue specific to WVU, it meets that demographic because of the growing age of technology, specifically communicating in a cyber world.

This is an issue that has impacted more than seven million people a year in the United States. With the growing digital age, it's something WVU offices feel is important to warm people about.

"When the Title IX office contacted us about partnering with cyber security, we thought that would be a good relationship to develop to provide information about how students can keep their data private to help prevent cyberstalking," said Amanda Griffith with the WVU ITS department.

So what exactly is cyberstalking? While definitions vary, it would be a form of conduct that could lead to someone feeling a sense of fear.

"It's unwanted contact," said Diandra Bosch. "It's something if you've told the person please stop contacting me, please don't send me e-mails, don't send me messages and they continuously do this and they continuously go against your wishes."

Bosch says the idea is to educate people on ways to prevent themselves from being a victim. Big one -- avoid putting too much out there that gives a potential stalker more information.

"I think it's the culture," Bosch said. "You're more social in college, you have more going on just besides your classes, you're meeting new people for the first time ever, you're meeting people from different walks of life."

With January being Cyberstalking Awareness Month, their priority is to make sure the campus community has all the resources they need in the event that someone has an issue.

"We always tell people to have unique passwords for all of their accounts, use strong passwords that are 12 characters long," Griffith said. "The important thing is if you feel threatened, then that is cyberstalking."

Check out other tips in the Related Items section.