Cyber Psychology & Cyberbullying
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Cyber Psychology & Cyberbullying

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This PowerPoint presentation addresses the nature of social communication technologies combined with relative anonymity of cyberspace, which create conditions for users to experience less behavioral ...

This PowerPoint presentation addresses the nature of social communication technologies combined with relative anonymity of cyberspace, which create conditions for users to experience less behavioral inhibitions than in Real Life (RL) or Face-To-Face (f2f) interactions.

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    Cyber Psychology & Cyberbullying Cyber Psychology & Cyberbullying Presentation Transcript

    • CYBER PSYCHOLOGY & CYBERBULLYING: Life in a Virtual World Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts warrenblumenfeld@gmail.com
    • The Birth of CyberPsychology John Suler Introductory Video
    • AGENDA 1. Cyber Psychology 2. The “Online Disinhibition Effect” 3. Cyber Time 4. Cyber Space & Postmodernism 5. Freud Peering from the Computer 6. Bullying & Cyberbullying 7. Instances of Cyberbullying 8. What Can Be Done? 9. Suggestions for Targets of Cyberbullying
    • Cyber Psychology • The nature of social communication technologies combined with relative anonymity of cyberspace create conditions for users to experience less behavioral inhibitions than in Real Life (RL) or Face-To-Face (f2f) situations. • Altered state of consciousness
    • The “Online Disinhibition Effect” (Suler) • Positive: – through anonymity of cyberspace, users can exhibit extraordinary acts of kindness or charity that they may have felt inhibited from expressing in RL
    • The “Online Disinhibition Effect” • Negative: – this anonymity and altered psychological environment may allow users to communicate more objectionable needs and desires onto others.
    • Cyber Time • Exists Asynchronically: – people often do not have to interact in real time, which can add to the disinhibition effect when one does not have to deal with the immediate reactions of others. (Turkel)
    • Cyber Space • Transcends Distance: – virtually shrinking space making geography irrelevant. – Advantages: can bring people closer together, making a virtual world community. – Disadvantages: for people with anti-social motives, the nature of social communication technologies can enable users to abuse others not only next door, but also on other side of planet.
    • Cyber Space • Personae: – people can alter, change, emphasize different aspects of their personalities or identities, – or totally reinvent themselves – show different personae (Latin “that through which the sound comes” or the actor’s mask) (Turkel)
    • Cyber Space • Avatar: –individuals can engage in masquerade –change into a virtual costume known as an “avatar.”
    • Cyber Space • Communicating only with typed text in social communication technologies, • Users have options: –being oneself –expressing only parts of one’s identity – assuming imagined identities –remaining completely anonymous (Suler)
    • Cyber Space: Postmodernism • Computers embody postmodernism’s important tenets: – challenging – contesting – ultimately destabilizing identities. • individuals continually redeploy identities as fluid • changing • multifaceted • non-essentialized
    • Cyber Space: Postmodernism Identity destabilization presents many possibilities • Positive: – can allow individuals to relate in genuinely open and honest ways about themselves that might be frightening offline to discuss in real life personal encounters. • Negative: – with anonymity, individual can act out hostile or sadistic emotions by abusing others online. (Suler)
    • Cyber Space: Postmodernism • Equalizing Effect: – People begin on a relatively level playing field. – Virtual net democracy dependent largely on technical skills of user. – Regardless of social status: • Wealth, Race, Sex, Sexual & Gender Identity & Expression, Physical & Mental Attributes, & many other social identities (Suler)
    • Cyber Space • Altered Perceptions: – transitional space that becomes extension of user’s intrapsychic world – cyberspace communication can alter perceptions and one’s state of consciousness by becoming: • make-believe world • dream-like experience • even a game where rules of RL no longer apply This may explain forms of computer and cyberspace addictions.
    • College students throughout the world were asked to go 24 hours without digital media:
    • Freud Peering from the Computer
    • Freud Peering from the Computer • Transference: – individual’s unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. – Kapelovitz: “the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person's childhood.” – Suler: “we recreate in our relationship with the computer some aspect of how we related to our family members.” – cyberspace can recreate & replay past relationships, satisfy unmet, frozen, or thwarted needs from childhood
    • Freud Peering from the Computer • Erotic Transference: – Suler: does not consist of sexual feeling per se toward computers – “the perception of the computer as powerful, perhaps in ways similar to how parents are perceived as powerful.”
    • Freud Peering from the Computer • Erotic Transference & Cyber Abuse: – Technologies provide users means to act out unmet needs for power and control over others, – to transfer frozen needs for attention or acknowledgement not sufficiently satisfied within the family constellation
    • Cyber Space Overall Can inhibit a user’s sense of responsibility for actions online
    • Bullying & Cyberbullying
    • Bullying Defined “Bullying is a specific type of aggression in which: 1. the behavior is intended to harm or disturb, 2. The behavior occurs repeatedly over time, 3. There is an imbalance of power, with a more powerful person or group attacking a less powerful one.” (JAMA, 2001)
    • Bullying Can Take At Least Three Forms: 1. Physical: hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing, taking personal belongings. 2. Verbal: taunting, malicious teasing, name calling, making threats. 3. Psychological: spreading rumors, manipulating social relationships, or engaging in social exclusion, extortion, or intimidation. (U.S. Department of Justice, 2001)
    • Harassment Defined • Harassment is victimization based upon one’s real or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or marital status, physical appearance, or personality characteristics. • May include but not limited to: – Verbal, nonverbal, physical, or written harassment – Repeated remarks of demeaning nature – Implied or explicit threats – Demeaning jokes, stories, or activities – Unreasonable interference with a student’s performance (Iowa Department of Education)
    • Family Risk Factors: Some child-rearing styles found to predict whether young people will grow up to exhibit aggressive bullying behaviors: – Lack of warmth & involvement by parents. – Overly-permissive overly-harsh parenting – Harsh, physical discipline. – Family/community model/support bullying behaviors. – Victimization by older siblings Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber
    • Peer Risk Factors: – Lack maturity or insight – Friends have positive attitudes about violence. – High status aggressive persons seek to enhance their social power and protect their prestige with peers. – Low social status people seek to deflect taunting and aggression, or enhance their social position with higher status peers. – Social/relational aggression creates excitement, alleviates boredom, & secures friendships.
    • People Who Bully A+ • Imagination • Spontaneity D- •Impulse control •Empathy
    • Perpetrators of Hate Crimes by Age LA County, 2009
    • Perpetrators of violent crimes by sex 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 85% 90% 91% 95% 95% 95% 99.8% Females Males FBI 2009
    • 38% 27% 35% % of students who do nothing % of students who wantto help, but don't % of students who try to help Bystander Behavior in Bullying Incidents © The Olweus Prevention Group, 2004
    • 12-17 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+ 93% 93% 81% 70% 38% Internet Usage by Age Pew Internet, 2009 Pew Internet, 2009 ⌘
    • Cyberbullying Defined “Cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others.” (Belsey)
    • Similarities & Differences Between Face-To-Face Bullying & Cyberbullying • Similar: Both are about human relationships, power, and control, and actions can occur on numerous occasions (www.bullying.org). • Similar: Both may involve what psychologists call the “Leveling Effect”: people who bully often do so to diminish others to inflate their own egos reflecting their insecurities.
    • • Similar: Both do not simply involve those who bully and those who are bullied (the “dyadic view,”) but rather involve a number of “actors” or roles across the social/school environment. – People Who Bully – Assistant or Follower of People Who Bully – Encourager or Reinforcer of People Who Bully – Outsider or “Bystander” Who Does Nothing – Potential Defender or Ally of People Who Are Bullied – Defender or Ally of People Who Are Bullied – People Who Are Bullied • (Sutton & Smith, 1999; Olweus, 1993)
    • • Different: Users of technology often do things in cyberspace that they would not ordinarily do in face-to-face (F2F) or real life (RL) interactions—the “disinhibition effect.” (Suler, 2001) • Different: Cyberbullying is often even more invisible to adults than other forms of bullying. • Different: Cyberbullying is a particularly cowardly form of bullying. Cyberbullies can often hide in the anonymity of cyberspace.
    • • Different: With anonymity, cyberbullies do not have to “own” their actions, and often do not fear being punished. • Different: Cyberbullies can inflict pain without having to see the effects, which can result in a “deeper level of meanness.” (Harmon, 2004) • Different: The technology can shelter the user from tangible feedback about consequences of one’s actions, which can result in minimized empathy or remorse. (Media Awareness Network)
    • • Different: People can alter, change, or emphasize different aspects of their personalities or identities in cyberspace—they can reinvent themselves or show different per sonae (Latin for “that through which the sound comes” or the actor’s mask). (Turkle, 1995)
    • • Different: Cyberbullies can communicate their hurtful messages to a very wide audience with remarkable speed. • Different: Cyberbullying is often outside the legal reach of schools and school boards when it occurs outside of school.
    • • Different: Victims are often fearful of telling others about being bullied because they fear that reporting it would result in adults taking away cell phones, computers, or other forms of technology. • Different: Victims may not know who the cyberbully is since they may not be easily identifiable. • Different: Cyberbullying can occur any time and any place. Home, therefore, is no longer a refuge from peer bullying.
    • Similarities & Differences Between Face-To-Face Bullying & Cyberbullying • Similar: Both are about human relationships, power, and control, and actions can occur on numerous occasions (www.bullying.org). • Similar: Both may involve what psychologists call the “Leveling Effect”: people who bully often do so to diminish others to inflate their own egos reflecting their insecurities.
    • • Similar: Both do not simply involve those who bully and those who are bullied (the “dyadic view,”) but rather involve a number of “actors” or roles across the social/school environment. – People Who Bully – Assistant or Follower of People Who Bully – Encourager or Reinforcer of People Who Bully – Outsider or “Bystander” Who Does Nothing – Potential Defender or Ally of People Who Are Bullied – Defender or Ally of People Who Are Bullied – People Who Are Bullied • (Sutton & Smith, 1999; Olweus, 1993)
    • • Different: Users of technology often do things in cyberspace that they would not ordinarily do in face-to-face (F2F) or real life (RL) interactions—the “disinhibition effect.” (Suler, 2001) • Different: Cyberbullying is often even more invisible to adults than other forms of bullying. • Different: Cyberbullying is a particularly cowardly form of bullying. Cyberbullies can often hide in the anonymity of cyberspace.
    • • Different: With anonymity, cyberbullies do not have to “own” their actions, and often do not fear being punished. • Different: Cyberbullies can inflict pain without having to see the effects, which can result in a “deeper level of meanness.” (Harmon, 2004) • Different: The technology can shelter the user from tangible feedback about consequences of one’s actions, which can result in minimized empathy or remorse. (Media Awareness Network)
    • • Different: People can alter, change, or emphasize different aspects of their personalities or identities in cyberspace—they can reinvent themselves or show different per sonae (Latin for “that through which the sound comes” or the actor’s mask). (Turkle, 1995)
    • • Different: Cyberbullies can communicate their hurtful messages to a very wide audience with remarkable speed. • Different: Cyberbullying is often outside the legal reach of schools and school boards when it occurs outside of school.
    • • Different: Victims are often fearful of telling others about being bullied because they fear that reporting it would result in adults taking away cell phones, computers, or other forms of technology. • Different: Victims may not know who the cyberbully is since they may not be easily identifiable. • Different: Cyberbullying can occur any time and any place. Home, therefore, is no longer a refuge from peer bullying.
    • Instances of Cyberbullying • People sending hurtful, cruel, and oftentimes threatening messages to other people. – “Flame Mail”: designed to inflame, insight, or enrage. – “Hate Mail”: hate-inspired and oppressive-- racist, ethnocentric, sexist, homophobic, anti- religious, ableist, classist, ageist, etc. (Also known as “Cyberharassment.”) • People stealing other peoples’ screen names and sending inflammatory messages under those screen names to other people. (Harmon, 2004)
    • Instances of Cyberbullying • People creating online “polling booths” to rate a school’s girls as “hottest,” “ugliest,” or “most boring.” (Harmon, 2004) • Individuals taking pictures of others in locker rooms with digital phone cameras and sending those pictures to others, or posting them on Internet websites.
    • Instances of Cyberbullying • People creating web sites with stories, cartoons, caricatures, pictures, or jokes ridiculing or mocking others. • Posting material about a person involving private, sensitive, or embarrassing information. – e.g., www.juicycampus.com • Sending intimidating or threatening messages (also known as “Cyberstalking”).
    • CYBERBULLYING & EFFECTS ON YOUNG PEOPLE • Increased school absenteeism. • School difficulties. • Dropping out of school. • May be perpetrators of school violence (75% of perpetrators during last decade were victims of bullying). • Increased risk of alcohol and drug use. • Psychosomatic symptoms. • Linked to serious mental health problems: – Depression – Anxiety Disorders – Fear and Withdrawal – Low Self Esteem – Substance Abuse – Suicidal Ideation, Attempts, Completion
    • Suicide is third leading cause of death among adolescents, & is responsible for more deaths than all illnesses combined. Karch et al., (2004)
    • CYBERBULLYING & EFFECTS ON YOUNG PEOPLE • From Dardenne, Prairie, Missouri • Committed suicide, Oct. 2006, 13 years old. • Cyberbullied on MySpace. • Thought she was communicating with 16-year-old male named "Josh Evans.” • Mother of a friend of Meier,Lori Janine Drew. • Drew indicted on three counts of accessing protected computers to inflict emotional distress, and one count of criminal conspiracy. Megan Meier
    • CYBERBULLYING & EFFECTS ON YOUNG PEOPLE • He had a speech and language learning disability. • Rumors spread that he was gay. • Students cyberbullied him continually in middle school. • October 7, 2003, he took his life. • He was 13 years old. Ryan Patrick Halligan This site is dedicated to the memory of our son Ryan and for all young people suffering in silence from the pain of bullying and having thoughts of suicide. We hope young people become less ashamed to ask for help when feeling suicidal. We hope adults gain knowledge from our tragedy. As a society, we need to find better ways to help our young people through their most difficult growing years. John P. Halligan (RyanPatrickHalligan.org)
    • What Can Be Done? www.bullying.org 1. Awareness & Education: Educate yourself and your school to the problem. 2. Be aware of sharing personal information in person or online: name, address, phone number, school name, pictures of yourself, e-mail address. Never give your password except to parents or guardians.
    • 3. Don’t believe everything you read online: Sometimes people will not tell you the truth about who they are or what they want. 4. Use Netiquette: Be polite to others online just as you would offline. Do not respond if anyone treats you rudely or hatefully.
    • 5. Never send a message to anyone when you are angry: Wait until you have calmed down. Make sure your messages are calmly and factually written. 6. Do not open messages from someone you don’t know: If in doubt, ask your parents, guardians, or another adult. 7. If it doesn’t look or “feel right,” it probably isn’t: Trust your instincts.
    • 8. Disconnect or Unplug: You don’t have to be “Always On.” Take a break. 9. Contract with parents/guardians: Ask them to read the information about cyberbullying and Internet safety issues. 10. Allies come to the defense of those who are bullied. There is no such thing as an “innocent bystander” in bullying. If you are aware that bullying is occurring, intervene on behalf of those being bullied. This may include telling a trusted adult. There is a difference between “tattling” and “reporting.”
    • 11. Parents install “Keystroke Logger” software: to monitor their child’s computer interactions, for those who may be engaging in cyberbullying. 12. Information Sessions: Schools can present information sessions to students and parents/guardians about cyberbullying. 13. Inservice Training: For teachers, staff, administrators, and school boards on the topic of cyberbullying. 14. Curricular Inclusion: In-class curricula addressing issues of bullying and cyberbullying.
    • 15. Schools need to institute school-wide bullying prevention programs in conjunction with the community on an on-going basis. 16. Schools institute students’ “anti-bullying pledges,” which students can sign. 17. Update computer and Internet school policies: This update should include harassment and bullying done with new technologies such as mobile and wireless Internet information technologies. Policies should specifically prohibit cyberbullying and clearly include consequences for non-compliance.
    • Suggestions for Targets of Cyberbullies 1. Speak out: Do not keep it to yourself or do not isolate yourself. Tell an adult you know and trust. 2. Inform your Internet, Instant Messaging, or mobile phone service providers. 3. Inform your local police.
    • 4. Don’t reply to messages from cyberbullies!!! They want you to reply to them to know that they have worried and upset you. They are trying to control you. Don’t give them that pleasure. 5. Save all cyberbully’s messages: You don’t have to read them, but keep them as evidence and documentation. Police; Internet service providers; school teachers, counselors, and administrators; and telephone companies can use these messages to help you.
    • 6. Protect yourself: Never arrange to meet with someone you have met online unless your parents/guardians go with you. If you are meeting them, make sure it is in a public place. 7. You may need to delete and change your current e-mail accounts, cell phone/pager accounts, and set up new ones.
    • References • Belsey, B. Cyberbullying. http://www.cyberbullying.ca/main_frame.html. • Ericson, N. (2001, June). Addressing the problem of juvenile bullying. (OJJDP Fact Sheet #27). Washington, DC. U.S. Department of Justice. • Harmon, A. (2004, August 26). Internet gives teenage bullies weapons to wound from afar. America Online. The New York Times Company. • Iowa Department of Education Sample Policy on Bullying and Harassment. • JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 285(16). April 25, 2001. • Kapelovitz, L. H. (1987). To love and to work/A demonstration and discussion of psychotherapy. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson Inc.
    • References • Loeber, R. & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1986). Family factors as correlates and predictors of conduct problems and juvenile delinquency. In M. Tonry and N. Morris (eds.), Crime and Justice, Vol. 7. Chicago: University of Chicago Press • Media Awareness Network, Challenging cyber bullying, http://www.bewebaware.ca/english/CyberBullying.aspx. • Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. • Rigby, K. (1996). Bullying in schools—And what to do about it. Melbourne: ACER. • Smith, P.K., & Sharp, S. (1994). School bullying: Insights and perspectives. London: Routledge. • Suler, J. (2001). Psychology of cyberspace—The online disinhibition effect. http://www.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/disinhibit.html.
    • References • Sutton, J., & Smith, P.K. (1999). Bullying as a group process: An adaptation of the participant role approach. Aggressive Behavior, 25 97-111. • Tattum, D., & Tattum. E. (1992). Social education and personal development. London. David Fulton. • Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the internet. New York: Simon & Schuster • Wolak, J., Mitchell, K., Finkelhor, D. (2006). Online victimization of youth: Five years later. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. •
    • References • Ybarra, M., Mitchell, K., Wolak, J., Finkelhor, D. (2006). Examining characteristics and associated distress related to Internet harassment: Finding from the Second Youth Internet Safety Survey. Pediatrics, 118(4): E1169-E1177. • Ybarra, M., Mitchell, K. (2004). Youth engaging in online harassment: Associations with caregiver-child relationships, Internet use, and personal characteristics. Journal of Adolescence, 27(3): 319- 336.
    • The End