Cell/mobile phone text abuse is a growing problem. A 2010 survey by the Associated Press/MTV found that half of the respondents between the ages of 14 and 24 have experienced digital abuse, including texting abuse.
The problem is so severe that it has been coined textual harassment. This is when people send repeated, unwanted, harassing text messages, often to friends or acquaintances. With more than 200,000 texts sent per second around the world, according to the United Nations, the problem is only expected to grow worse.
Here's what to do if you are a victim.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Cell/mobile phone records
- Legal resources
Identify the abuser. Since texters often use disposable cell/mobile phones, it may take some investigative work to identify the offender. File a police report so there is documentation of the texting abuse by authorities. The police report may also be needed to get a subpoena to access cell/mobile phone records.
Many cell/mobile phone companies will not release cell phone records without a subpoena.Cell/mobile phone texting abuse is a serious matter and can be classed as a crime. Cell/mobile phone companies ban harassing text messages. In many cases, involving police is an absolute necessity. If you find yourself the victim of texting abuse, it's important to involve police as early as possible.
Document the problem. It's crucial to document evidence, in this case, the offensive text messages. You need to keep complete and accurate records to prove to police that there is a problem. You can photograph the text messages or save them as evidence. Make sure they are saved in a safe place.
Find out what your local laws are about texting. You can use a variety of laws to stop and, in some cases, prosecute your victim. Though texting abuse is a fairly recent phenomenon, it's important to know your local laws. Most areas have anti-stalking laws that include electronic communication, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Four states --- Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington --- have specific laws that explicitly ban text messaging abuse.
Tips and warnings
- Remember, you must tell the abuser that you want offending texts to stop. You must prove that the person intentionally texted you after you asked him to stop.
- Though cell/mobile phone laws are different than laws about traditional landlines, no one deserves to be harassed by text.
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