THE CYBER EFFECT
FADI ABU ZUHRI
The world has transformed over the ages. Long ago, people used to use postage to convey information or messages. Today, emails have replaced postage. Then came the newspapers and magazines to share information on a periodic basis with a larger mass market. Today, people can find information on the World Wide Web through various search engines (Hay, Meldrum, & Mann, 2010). While all this seems quite exciting for the population, advancement in technology does not always mean that the world is progressing in the right direction. This is referred to as “The Cyber Effect” where advancement in technology or life may be good but at the same time pose serious threats and risks to the people.
According to Aiken (2016), people need to find a balance in an era of cyber-utopianism. Cyber-utopianism is the belief that online communication is liberating and that the Internet is the platform for sharing ideas and thoughts. Ideally, cyber-utopianism is that naive belief that the web favors the oppressed rather than the oppressor. Aiken (2016) compares the current situation to what existed several years ago when making her argument. She states that the world without the Internet was simple. People who were in that era knew what they have, who they are, and what their values were. After the advancement in technology, things changed. Values were broken and people started to behave differently. Despite the fact that advancement in technology acted as a source of information to many people, it leads to the deterioration of moral standards. This is the first adverse Cyber Effect.
In her book, Aiken (2016) further stated that cyber-utopianism is like that moment where one is going on a trip and as they are heading out of the door with their luggage, they have to confirm and make sure that they have everything that they need before they embark on their trip. Before a country embarks on a journey of technological advancement, it has to make sure that enough security measures are in place to mitigate any risks and threats that may come as a result. Countries ought to invest in strong security measures and seal all loopholes before advancing its technology to prevent any loss of confidential data and information (Naughton, 2016). This is the second adverse Cyber Effect.
According to Aiken (2016), the world is not prepared for cyberspace. She describes cyberspace as a place that is separate from us (Ahuja, 2016). Aiken (2016) anticipates that by 2020, technology would have advanced to a point where people would be immersed in their smart homes and smart cars and they would be clad in wearable technologies. During that time, she anticipates that their babies would be in captivating seats with their tablets and they would be wearing face-obscuring helmets. Besides, their age-mates would be fractured in various social networking sites and platforms, human labour would be replaced with robots, and dark thoughts would pervade the country (Ronson, 2016). This is the third negative Cyber Effect. Here, it is evident that cyber space would change the lives of people and thus lead to deterioration of moral standards, loss of jobs, complex lives and cyber threats such as cyber-bullying and cyber-terrorism.
FORENSIC CYBER PSYCHOLOGY
The main question that arises in Aiken’s (2016) book is that we cannot afford losing out on forensic science (Spiegel & Grau, 2016). According to Aiken (2016), forensic science is the study of physical evidence of a crime scene such as body fluids, fibres and fingerprints. Aiken (2016) further states that even if the world is changing, the physical evidence of a crime scene from fossils will still remain the same over years to come. Aiken (2016) states that forensic cyber psychology will remain to be the same for generations to come (Steiner-Adair, 2016). Forensic cyber psychology means the cyber behavioural evidence that are left online. Apparently, every contact or user leaves a trace and thus add his or her footprint on cyber space.
Cyber space is also beneficial to a country. The internet could be used to arrest the biggest human trafficker and curb internet crimes against children (CBS NEWS, 2016). Aiken (2016) gives an example of how the Internet could be used by the law enforcement agencies to curb crime. It is, therefore, evident that cyber space has both negative and positive effects.
People nowadays are living through an exciting moment of history since lives are being transformed through advancement in technology. However, everything new is not always good and advancement in technology does not always mean that a country is progressing. Having cyber space may have several effects such as deterioration of moral standards, security threats, loss of jobs as humans are replaced with robots, change in the ways of lives of people, cyber threats such as cyber bullying and adoption of complicated lives by people (Ando & Sakamoto, 2008). To conclude, one thing that has not changed and that is not bound to change despite the advancement in technology is human emotions and cultural affinity among people. However as people move more of their lives online, one is left to wonder if technology can improve emotional intelligence.
- Anjana, Ahuja (2016). The Cyber Effect by Mary Aiken review. Financial Times. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from, https://www.ft.com/content/8d571710-8bdf-11e6-8cb7-e7ada1d123b1
- Alexandra, Frean (2016). The Cyber Effect by Mary Aiken. The Times. Retrieved June 19, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-cyber-effect-a-pioneering-cyberpsychologist-explains-how-human-behaviour-changes-online-by-mary-aiken-fwkxkj3t6
Ando, R., & Sakamoto, A. (2008). The effect of cyber-friends on loneliness and social anxiety: Differences between high and low self-evaluated physical attractiveness groups. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(3), 993-1009.
- CBS News (August 23, 2016). Cyberpsychologist Aiken on catching online bullies. Retrieved June 20, 2017, from, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cyberbullying-prevention-social-media-teenagers-mary-aiken-cyberpsychologist/
- Catherine, Steiner-Adair (2016). Who are we and who are we becoming in the cyber-world? Cyber effect Review. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/who-are-we–and-who-are-we-becoming–in-the-cyber-world/2016/08/18/30c1068e-60cc-11e6-af8e-54aa2e849447_story.html?utm_term=.58038d402277
Hay, C., Meldrum, R., & Mann, K. (2010). Traditional bullying, cyber bullying, and deviance: A general strain theory approach. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 26(2), 130-147.
- John, Naughton (2016). The Cyber Effect by Mary Aiken – review. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/14/the-cyber-effect-mary-aiken-review-internet-social-media-psychology
- Jon, Ronson (2016). The cyber effect Review: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online by Mary Aiken. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/11/books/review/cyber-effect-mary-aiken.html
- Mary, Aiken (2016). The cyber effect: A Pioneering cyberpsychologist explains how human behavior changes online. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from, http://www.maryaiken.com/cyber-effect/
- Spiegel & Grau (2016). The cyber effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online. KIRKUS Review. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from, https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mary-aiken/the-cyber-effect/