Death Threats on the Internet
Have you been a victim of death threats on the Internet, should you take these threats seriously? What to do if you have death threats placed against you.
- What is a Death Threat
- Is Your Life Really In Danger?
- Will Police Take Internet Death Threats Seriously?
- Safety on the Internet
What is a Death Threat
A death threat is when a person threatens to kill you.
Somebody saying "I wish you would die" is not a death threat, however saying "I am going to kill you" is a death threat.
In order for a death threat to be taken seriously by police the person receiving it must have a reasonable expectation to consider their life to be truly in danger.
Is Your Life Really In Danger?
Sometimes death threats are real, such as threats made to the writer of the Satanic Verses, or founder of Wikileaks, but more often than not they are just the result of a heated debate in which two people disagree on a point of view.
Your life is not in danger if the threat comes from a person in an other country who cannot possibly know where you live.
Most threats on the Internet are nothing more than petty fights, or bullying.
Will Police Take Internet Death Threats Seriously?
Yes, if the death threat is serious.
For example in the case of a divorce or separation if one person has repeated threats made against them (perhaps on Facebook) by their former partner, the police will consider this to be a real threat.
If, however, the death threat is more of an incident of bullying or a difference of opinion on a subject, in which the "victim" of the threats is in no immediate danger of actually being hurt by the "attacker" the police have no cause to investigate further as it would be a waste of their time and resources.
Bullying is common on the Internet, people feel safe to do so.
In some cases bullying is really just a difference of opinion perhaps taken too far in a heated disagreement.
In some cases bullying is really "bullying" where a person picks on somebody over and over. Usually they get a rise out of their victim's reaction, which of course only makes them continue with more venom. Have you ever wondered why bullies target one person? It is because that person makes it "fun" to do so; they react.
Bullies rarely continue to attack people who ignore them, what is the point?
I am not excusing the bullies here, nor trying to "blame the victim", clearly bullying is wrong.
Safety on the Internet
In order to remain safe on the Internet there are many things a person can do.
Stay away from controversial subjects. Again I remind you about the Satanic Versus and Wikileaks. Although getting your views across is important, you have to balance it with your fear level. For some writers getting the right information out there is all that matters.
Do not ever post your location, or phone number.
If using sites where personal information may be available, such as Facebook, be selective in who you accept.
Do not use your real name.
If you feel a death threat is real and that somebody in your immediate area is a threat to you, for sure call the police. However you must have enough evidence about the person and why you think the death threats are real enough to consider your life truly being in danger. Remember somebody saying they wish you were dead is very different than if somebody says they are coming to kill you.
Real death threats should always be taken seriously.