What is cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, group, or organization. It may include false accusations, defamation, slander and libel. Online stalking typically occurs through social media, but can occur anywhere online.

Three in four stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. A large portion of them are stalked by a former or current romantic partner.


Be mindful of who can see your content. If you post pictures and statuses publicly, they can be used against you by an online stalker, especially if they know you.

Online Harassment


Cyberstalking: the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, group, or organization.


Cyberstalking may include false accusations, defamation, slander and libel. It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or gathering information that may be used to threaten, embarrass or harass

Cyberstalking is a criminal offense under various state anti-stalking, slander and harassment laws. A conviction can result in probation, or criminal penalties against the assailant, including jail.

Child Exploitation and Sex Trafficking

Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse involving control of a child through means of force, threats, abuse, or manipulation. It happens to both boys and girls and often happens to young children, pre-teenagers, or even teenagers. Children and teenagers with certain disabilities may also fall victim to sex trafficking, as predators attempt to lure in the most vulnerable victims.


Many predators use the same tactics to lure in potential trafficking victims. Many times, this begins with the predator friending a young child or teen online in hopes of them talking to the potential victim. This is often called grooming. Children can groomed by a stranger, family member, or anyone who has access to talk to the child/teen. Grooming occurs both in real life and online. Grooming often involves promises to the child such as food, alcohol, drugs, gifts, affection, and/or love. Also common is when a predator convinces the child/teen into thinking that they are a friend or even a boyfriend. Many predators will force trust between between them and the child/teen and will convince the victim to meet them to 'hang out'. This can often lead to rape, abuse, assault, or kidnapping which could turn into sex trafficking or child exploitation.

Sexual Exploitation of a Child

Sexual exploitation of a child is defined as the act of using, persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions or child pornography. Actual acts that are considered sexual exploitation of a minor include the following:

  • Indecent touching or exposure to a child

  • Use of sexually explicit language towards a child

  • Involvement of a child in pornography

  • Showing a child pornographic images or material

  • Rape and/or sexual abuse/assault

  • Incest

  • Sexual slavery or sex trafficking


Sexual exploitation of a minor can sometimes also include transportation of the minor from one state or city to another with the intent of engaging the child in any type of sexual behavior.

NCMEC leads the nation in the fight to end child exploitation as well as working to find missing kids. Another new way that children are put in danger is through sextortion.

Sextortion: a relatively new form of sexual exploitation that occurs primarily online in which coercion and blackmail are used to acquire sexual content (like photos or videos) of a minor, to extort the child for money, or to meet to engage in sex with the child.

Children and Abuse


Children in exploitative relationships often receive something such as gifts, money or love and affection as a result of performing sexual activities or vice versa. Sometimes, children or teenagers believe that they are in a loving and consensual relationship. They may also see nothing wrong in what's going on, due to being

groomed and led to believe that the situation is normal. Young people often trust their abuser and don't understand that they're being abused.

When sexual exploitation happens online, young people may be pressured to do the following:

  • send or post sexually explicit images of themselves online or on social media

  • take part in sexual activities via a mobile device or webcam

  • have sexual conversations by text or online with adults

  • Images or videos may continue to be shared after the sexual abuse has stopped

  • Sometimes, child exploitation can be a result of gang activity and/or being part of a violent gang

Has your child run away?

1. Immediately call your local law enforcement agency.

2. After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678).

When contacting NCMEC, be prepared to provide detailed biographical information about your child as well as information about the circumstances surrounding the runaway event.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children also handles cases of missing kids and teens that have not runaway, but are missing for other reasons such as family abductions, attempted abductions, infant abductions, autism and wandering, long-term missing & unidentified children, children missing from care, and critically missing children and young adults. If you need immediate assistance, dial 911 or your local police department and contact NCMEC directly after. They also handle child exploitation and sex trafficking cases involving children and teens. 

The internet is an incredibly amazing part to our daily life. However, with over 15 million reports made to the CyberTipline since 2011, we are all aware that the internet is a tool that can be dangerously used for awful purposes.