A cyber argument that gets out of hand. Often, cyberstalkers engage in flame wars to get the attention of—and eventual control over—their targets. Those who routinely start flame wars online are reported to be rude, obnoxious people having less-than-ideal social, emotional, and communication skills. Flame warriors’ ideas of having a good time are to release online obscene or abusive messages at another user just to upset that individual. These cyber harassers are often loners who do not have a companion or a strong social network, and their attempts to attract other targets’ attention are often socially immature and/or crude. Care should always be taken when responding to or rejecting these flame warriors because they are highly sensitive to rejection by others. They perceive the rejection intensely, often becoming very angry or deeply humiliated. They are apt to cause a vendetta against the target who rejected them, threatening harm or becoming violent. It is important to note that although flame warriors tend to be clumsy and crude, they are often quite bright individuals who are very organized in their wars against their targets. The best defense against flame warriors is to inform them early in the flame war that no further contact with them online is desired, and that if they persist in such obnoxious behaviors, the police will be contacted. Grafx-Specs Design and Hosting. Cyberstalking: A Real Life Problem. [Online, 1997.] Grafx-Specs Design and Hosting Website. http://grafx-specs.com/News/ Cybstlk.html; Schell, B.H., and Lanteigne, N.M. Stalking, Harassment, and Murder in the Workplace: Guidelines for Protection and Prevention. Westport, CT: Quorum, 2000.
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