Is Digital Stalking as Romantic as 'You' Shows?

By Avantika Chopra February 15, 2023


American actor Penn Badgley was quite shocked to find out that women around the world were romanticizing Joe Goldberg, the character he plays on the Netflix thriller series You.

Is Digital Stalking as Romantic as YOU Shows?

Replying to multiple tweets on the microblogging platform, Badgley tried to warn the fans who were attracted to the idea of a “creepy stalker” and serial killer. However, Badgley is not the only one trying to warn individuals of digital stalking With the release of the You season 4 of the series, cybersecurity experts are warning viewers to watch out for digital stalking and to stop romanticizing the concept of a stalker and serial killer.

"It is important that we do not romanticize the behavior as seen in You, but instead denounce it for what it is: stalking. Regardless of whether it is happening online or digitally stalking and stalkerware is a form of violence"

— Christina Jankowski Senior External Relations Manager at Kaspersky.

Is Digital Stalking as Romantic as YOU Shows?

While stalking, online and offline, is a criminal offence. However, series such as You may create a form of sympathy among viewers, which can justify such obsessive behavior and dilute the gravity of the issue. A recent report released by Kaspersky highlighted a stalkerware, a commercially available software which was often used in abusive relationships that enabled the perpetrators to track individual and their private life without their knowledge.  In 2022, over 29,312 people were affected by stalkerware.

Romanticization of Digital Stalking

“Stalking is a criminal, traumatic, and dangerous offence. Yet movies, TV, and music consistently present stalking as desirable, cute, sexy, and/or flattering – but in real life, it’s unwanted, terrifying, and illegal,”

— Karen Bentley  CEO, WESNET .

Is Digital Stalking as Romantic as YOU Shows?

Practical Help: Coalition Against Stalkerware and TinyCheck