Conversations with your friends in a metro ride can be interesting. Conversations which you overhear in a metro ride can be equally interesting, especially when that conversation is a 20-something girl dwell into explicit details about how to stalk a guy on social media, as she divulges the secrets of her expertise by detailing how she “checks on a guy” who had blocked her, using multiple accounts.
Yes, I can’t make this stuff up.
So, here’s a conversation which I overheard during one of my usual metro rides and I’ve tried to elucidate it as precisely as possible:
Disclaimer: Let’s refer to the girl as Riya and the guy as Nitin. The real names have been changed.
I overheard this girl Riya being extremely serious and talking to her friends, where she talked about a guy called Nitin.
She went on to say that she had made 3 separate accounts on Facebook, out of which 2 accounts had been blocked by Nitin, with those accounts going by the usernames of Riya Kapoor and Riya Kumar (again, names have been changed for the fake accounts, as well).
She further detailed on how she had made 2 Instagram accounts, where she hadn’t added Nitin on the 2nd account and uses it to check on him since the 1st account had been… Yes, blocked by Nitin.
And lastly, she talked about how she had used the Dual Apps feature in her phone to make a separate WhatsApp account and advised her friend to do the same and turn off the read receipts (the blue ticks) so that her friend’s boyfriend can’t keep track of her “Last Seen” on WhatsApp but she can use the other WhatsApp account to check his “Last Seen”.
THIS. IS. SCARY.
I can’t sugar-coat this even if I want to since the idea that a normal, college-going 20-something Delhi girl could take up a workshop on how to stalk a guy rings a lot of red alert bells for me.
And no, let’s not get into the redundant debate about blaming social media here because what social media does is that it merely gives you a space to socialize and exhibit your interests in an open environment.
Social media doesn’t ask you to stalk a certain someone and then be passive about it like it’s your day job. Even worse, spreading that disturbing idea among your peers fuels the fire of an already problematic ideology.
The Eternal Man vs Woman Debate:
Had a guy been detailing the same things to his friends, judgments would’ve spread like wildfire after reading this article but the ones who try to rationalize the idea of stalking among women will perhaps conclude that the guy “Nitin” must’ve done something wrong to the girl in question.
Now, this becomes problematic on 2 levels:
A. It highlights our double standards that no matter what, we refuse to believe that women can stalk people out of obsession, as well.
And B. It shows that we are institutionalizing the very idea of stalking because of our passive behavior.
There’s a fine line between observing someone and monitoring them. And the fact that millennials are crossing that line more often than usual these days is a sign of worry.
Sure, one can argue that stalking becomes dangerous only when a consequential action follows which results in physical or mental trauma but why do we need to show off our stalking skills and talk publicly on how to stalk a guy or girl?
This problematic ideology generally stems from reasons as basic as jealousy, insecurity, inferiority complex it needs to be controlled, especially among the millennials who form the largest share of the user-base of social media platforms.
The act of cyber-stalking has ascended itself from being a one-off incident to a norm, where a number of my acquaintances have told me similar incidents, one of which included a girl sending Facebook friend requests under different names to her boyfriend’s friends, just so she could see every pic of his.
It’s imperative that the idea of stalking is prevented from being institutionalized and healthy online practices are actively promoted via peer-to-peer means.
And as for the ones reading this article, stay safe out there and make sure you don’t accept friend requests from total strangers who might just be a turbulent ex-girlfriend or boyfriend in disguise, looking at some of your most private moments.
Image Credits: Google Images
Sources: My Daily Metro Rides