School of Computing

Oct 2
11:00 - 12:00
Cyber Stalking, Cyber Harassment and Adult Mental Health
School of Computing - Security Group Seminar
Speaker: Francesca Stevens (University of Kent)

Abstract: Traditional (offline) stalking and harassment have long been associated with causing a myriad of negative impacts upon victims' mental health, including anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Most research that examines online stalking and harassment focuses on adolescents and school-aged children, with limited research investigating the impact upon adults' well-being. To our knowledge, a review regarding the impact of cyber stalking and harassment on the mental health of adult victims (i.e. aged 18 and over) had not yet been conducted, so we decided to conduct one over the last year utilising the PRISMA technique. A total of 1,204 articles were extracted, and ultimately 43 articles analysed. Forty-two of the reviewed articles reported that victims of cyber stalking and/or harassment experienced a multitude of harmful and detrimental consequences for their mental health including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and panic attacks. Victims recounted the lack of support they received from the criminal justice system, and their subsequent distrust of technology post abuse. Only one study found no relationship between cyber abuse victimisation and the well-being dimensions they examined. Our research highlights the need to devise practical solutions to tackle and minimise this victimisation. Furthermore, it underlines the necessity for adult education concerning safer technology use, as well as for researchers to be transparent regarding the platforms that victims have been abused on so we can better infer where and how exactly individuals need support to interact safely online.

Bio: Francesca received her BSc in Anthropology from UCL, and her MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from City, University of London. Her Master's thesis explored female victimisation specifically in relation to sexual harassment in the workplace and whether social movements such as #MeToo and Time's Up have impacted if women are more or less likely to speak up against these crimes. She is interested in cyber victimisation, mental health, the criminal justice system and gender equality.


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Open to everyone, especially those interested in cyber security research,


Contact: Jason R.C. Nurse

School of Computing, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 824180 or contact us.

Last Updated: 14/08/2015