Belfast Telegraph

Online 'addiction' leads to cyberstalking, says expert

By David Wilcock

Cyberstalking behaviour can be linked to people suffering an online addiction who increasingly lose touch with reality because they are tapped into social networks and websites, experts have warned.

People spending a lot of time on their computers or smartphones can find their ability to form normal, healthy relationships away from the screen "shrivels", according to Dr Emma Short, director of the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research.

This can lead to them becoming fixated on people with whom they have a solely virtual relationship and engaging in stalking behaviour like bombarding a person with messages or other attention over a sustained period of time.

Psychologist Dr Short, a co-author of A Practical Guide To Coping With Cyberstalking, said: "It (stalking) can be a consequence of internet addiction, so your cyberstalker's ability to form normal, healthy relationships is compromised. If you are spending all your time online, your relationships largely become online".

Belfast Telegraph