Cyber bullying victim shares story, online safety tips

Kent State student Allyssa Griffiths is raising awareness about online saftey and dangers that are often overlooked. Griffiths was stalked online for five years, receiving no help when she approached police with her situation. Photo by Brian Smith.

Kent State student Allyssa Griffiths is raising awareness about online saftey and dangers that are often overlooked. Griffiths was stalked online for five years, receiving no help when she approached police with her situation. Photo by Brian Smith.

Bruce Walton

Allyssa Griffiths spoke to a full lecture hall Thursday evening in the Business Administration Building about her personal experience with cyber-stalking and tips to avoid it.

The junior applied communications major discussed her first encounter with a stalker in high school, starting when she received a picture message of a man naked from the neck down. Griffiths said she laughed it off, but the messages persisted, with each message becoming more aggressive and sexual. After she threatened to call the police, the texts stopped. Griffiths told the audience that she didn’t suspect anything until she discovered a Twitter account using her photos and posts under the name “Lauren Ashley Cook.”

“I became consumed by it for a time because I was so bothered by it,” Griffiths said. “I would lay in bed at night thinking, ‘Who would do this?’ ‘Why are they doing this?’ and ‘I want to know why’.”

Amanda Moscibrocki, a junior nursing administration major and Griffiths’ friend, said she went to the police with Griffiths to report the incident. Moscibrocki said their visit made the situation worse.

“(The police officer) thought that it wasn’t serious and all we should do is delete our stuff and that’s it, it will go away,” Moscibrocki said. “But it doesn’t go away because once it’s on the Internet, it’s there forever.”

Griffiths said she found pictures of herself on various social media sites, including dating websites. Moscibrocki said she found pictures of herself and Griffiths on a lesbian dating website where users would rate how hot they were.

After investigating on her own with no help from the police, Griffiths said she confronted the stalker and discovered her stalker was a 23-year old woman from Kentucky. Her stalker now uses Tumblr, a blogging site where one can change one’s URL, which makes it harder to track her. Griffiths said she still finds photos of her used online but has made peace with it and only wants to move forward.

Griffiths gave the audience tips to prevent cyber stalking, including reverse image searching yourself, a process some employers use to search job applicants. She said there are no laws to stop cyber stalking, so it’s important to protect your online information.

Griffiths also suggested paying attention to friend requests and monitoring what information is posted. She hopes the law will catch up with society and technology and that telling her story will help others avoid the same situation.

Contact Bruce Walton at [email protected].