Look who's stalking!

Oct 15, 2012, 07:14 IST | Dhara Vora

How far will you use social media, to snoop on your ex? We quiz five Mumbaikars to come clean about their tryst with cyber stalking, and also give you the dope on why it's un-cool to keep at it


Everybody is aware of it but most are afraid of admitting  about doing it, in reality. Ditching your ex but checking out on his/her whereabouts on social media using an alias is becoming a common occurrence these days. 

A recently published paper on Facebook surveillance of former romantic partner warns that it affects your post break-up recovery, adversely and also affects your mental health. In the survey, more than half of the people were still ‘friends’ with their exes online and kept a check on them.

Veer Sharma, 30, Businessman
I signed on to Facebook because my girlfriend is on it. It’s not as if we don’t trust each other or have an unhealthy relationship. I would want to stay in tune with what she does online and whom she is in contact with. A lot of people who don’t care about social networking do it, but don’t accept it. As for an ex, hacking into the account would be a strict no-no; it is a crime but I would check her holiday pictures, see if she has photographs with a guy or how close she is to someone in a photograph, even though I cant do anything about it. If the photos are not locked I wouldn’t mind glancing through them, time and again.

Illustration/ Amit Bandre

Harshal Doshi, 17, Student
I don’t consider it stalking, but obviously, I have scanned through my girlfriend’s photographs and status updates to track her whereabouts. Also on Whatsapp, one can see when she is online and until what time. So, when I see her on till 2.45 am, something must be cooking. I wouldn’t hack into her account, but I knew one of my ex’s password, and once read her chats. That’s when I realised I have to stop and move on because the act disgusted me.

Anjali Iyer, 24, Financial Analyst
Yes, I have done it. I’ve checked whatever is available for public viewing to cling to that life. It’s possible to continue irrespective of privacy policies or the extent to how much one’s conscience allows you to, or till your current boyfriend finds out and asks you to stop. Many of my girlfriends get their boyfriends’ passwords and log into their profile, without their knowledge. It’s not only guys who do it; even women cannot refrain from subtle stalking.

Manan Karmarkar, 23 Events Manager
I have friends who stand beneath the house of a girl they like, honk from their cars, and follow them to their homes, bombard them with constant messages and friend requests. I don’t bother about my ex, but I would check her photographs, and if she’s not on my list, I type her name in the search bar to see what sort of details on her profile are open to public. Everyone does this. I don’t think checking someone else’s profile regularly, is stalking.

Meenal Shah, 25, Artist
It began with questions about the rest of the people with me in a photograph during a college trip. One day, I was unable to log in to my account as it flashed that my password has been changed. After I confronted him about it, he admitted that he had hacked into my account to check on whom I was in touch with. I couldn’t do anything about it, and after we broke up I opened a new profile.We have insufficient support to fight for such petty issues though they might cause a lot of trouble. It’s better now as email and cell phone notifications are available to be alerted when someone logs on to our account.

That you are stalking someone is a problem in itself, and is unhealthy. Digital surveillance is a common occurrence now. Those who are afraid to be alone and have obsessive attachment behaviour to the person they had a relationship with, typically do it. Usually, we advise a person who has broken up to delete all sorts of contact or information on all digital platforms as it is the excess information that we have nowadays, is where the problem lies.

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