Text harassment is a form of harassment involving the use of text messaging services. Harassers can use a number of tactics including flooding the victim with text messages and sending abusive or threatening messages. This form of harassment often accompanies dating violence, bullying, or sexual harassment in the workplace. There are legal steps available for dealing with text harassment and the process usually starts with filing a police report to document the harassment.
Texting technology allows people to send brief written messages that can be delivered to a phone or another mobile device. One problem with such services is that it is possible to spoof them, allowing someone to send harassing texts without being traced. People also usually carry their phones with them at all times and leave them on at night, providing numerous windows of opportunity for a harasser. Many phone companies only offer an option of blocking texting entirely rather than blocking messages from specific senders, so the only way to get the messages to stop is to not receive texts at all, which may not be feasible for some people.
One method of text harassment simply involves sending hundreds of messages a day, sometimes with the assistance of a service that can schedule texts to be delivered at a very high rate. The messages can vary in content and tone. Other harassers may opt to send occasional abusive messages. Tactics can include sending messages at odd hours or timing the delivery of texts for a time when the harasser knows that the victim cannot afford to be distracted.
If people are experiencing text harassment, they should document the texts and submit a police report. This alerts law enforcement to the fact that harassment is occurring. If there is an existing restraining order forbidding contact, the police may use the report as grounds for bringing the harasser into court for violation of the restraining order. Police reports can also be used to file complaints with the government authority that oversees telecommunications and with the phone company.
Options for handling text harassment can include deactivating text functions, as well as changing a phone number and keeping the new number as confidential as possible. These options may not appeal to people experiencing harassment because they may have reasons to keep their phone numbers or to keep texting enabled. If a phone company offers selective text or phone number blocking, this is the easiest and most direct solution.