Whether you’re lying by the pool, getting a tan on a beach, or just chilling at home, your phone is guaranteed to be pinging right beside you and the temptation to see what everyone’s doing is impossible to ignore. But why do we love peering into other people’s lives without their knowledge and why is it such a common practice especially when it comes to stalking our former friends and romantic partners? Let’s find out together.
Creeping on our partners
According to a French study conducted by the Norton group, which specialises in cybersecurity, more than half of the generation Z and millennial population in France—that is around 61% of 18 to 39 year olds—admit that they have stalked their former or current partner online. 43% of the group said it was because of curiosity while 30% said it was because they didn’t trust their partner.
Furthermore, 23% of the respondents said that they were just checking in on their loved ones. Meanwhile a significant 52% said that they supported online stalking especially if a partner was suspected of being unfaithful.
A group effort
What’s even more interesting is that when it comes to checking up on a partner, or seeing if a person could be the right fit—stalking has become a group activity, the study unveiled. Elise, a 26-year-old, confirmed that she digs up dirt on her friend’s romantic interests to find out whether they’re the right fit. She said:
My sister often asks me to inspect a profile before a future meeting. It's a time saver to know if the person is a good match or not.
Inability to let go
While it might be a good technique to learn more about a potential partner, other respondents have been using their stalking skills to see what their former friends and exes are doing after a breakup or fight. 27-year-old Alice admitted to creating a fake account after she got blocked by an ex. She then used the same account to follow up on a former best friend. She said:
This fake profile was actually used to stalk my former best friend. We were inseparable and after a big fight, I had this urge to see what she was doing.
Charles-Thibault Henriot, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, says that online stalking usually happens when a person has invested a lot of time and energy into a relationship. When it suddenly ends, they then compensate by discretely catching up on their lives through social media.