The internet has improved and simplified principle parts of our everyday life, and while composing a manually written mail that takes days to be received, the web has made messages instantly received. It made communication with individuals around the globe much less demanding, and conversely easier through social media. Furthermore, its advantages have transcended the personal sphere into the business medium and the work place. For example, the web has altered business significantly in many areas such as online shopping and e-commerce which have turned into the most utilized and convenient types of shopping. Added to this, the internet has contributed to change the patterns of work in forms such as working from homes and virtual offices. In the field of online shopping, based on a recent study by Pew Research, eight out of ten Americans are currently shopping online, and 79 percent of U.S. shoppers shop on the web or their telephones, up from only 22 percent in 2000 (Perez,2017). Nevertheless, the internet helped in the daily life, it has opened a door for a new way of crime called cybercrime.
Cybercrime per definition, is a sort of wrongdoing carried by devious criminals by methods of PC or the web. This form of violation utilizes the dark side of technology and innovation to get to individual data, business exchanges, legislative privileged insights, and savagery. Individuals who commit these crimes are regularly alluded to as Hackers. Normal sorts of cybercrime are phishing (utilizing counterfeit email messages to get individual data from web clients), identity theft (abusing individual data), hacking (closing down or abusing sites or PC systems), spreading abhor and impelling fear based oppression, disseminating youngster sex entertainment, and prepping (making lewd gestures to minors). Reinhart highlights that, nearly a quarter of Americans, 23% say that they or someone in their household fell victim to this type of cybercrime in 2018, little changed from 25% who reported being so targeted last year (Reinhart, 2018). It has become widely accepted that being a victim to any type of cybercrime has an evident impact on grownups mentality. This is provocative and logically brings us to raise the following inextricably linked questions:
- What are the psychological effects of cybercrime on grownups mentality?
- How does it affect the victims?
- How can we prevent cybercrime?
As our current world revolve around the internet, cybercrime has evolved as one of the fears that grownups face. Moreover, the fear of being a victim of identity theft, cyberbullying, phishing, or any other effects of cybercrime, takes a toll on the grownups mentality. Firstly, cybercrime has dangerous effects on its victim’s mentality in forms range from depression to suicidal thoughts. Secondly, teenagers nowadays use social media as part of their daily life, and this makes them vulnerable to a kind of cybercrime called cyber bullying. Added to that, an investigation driven by Samantha B. Saltz, MD, boss inhabitant at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital, found that, Fifty-four percent of the youngsters utilized Facebook, 53% utilized Instagram, 33% utilized visit rooms, and 30% utilized Twitter in any event once every day. Out of the 50 members, 20% (10 youngsters) had been casualties of cyberbullying, while just 6% (3 teenagers) confessed to being the cyberbully (Neuman,2017). The emotional effects suffered by the victims included depression, dissociation, and anger (Neuman, 2017).
Probably, foremost among the negative consequences of cyberbullying, is the issue of depression as elaborated in the following anecdote. A 22-year-old young lady shares her experience on cyberbullying.org when she was 15 years of age and how she was cyber bullied. She said that one day a gathering of young ladies she called companions betrayed her and made a profile on Myspace that contained her own data. Then, they photo shopped her in indecent sexual photos and posted them on this profile, and consequently, this drove her to be stalked by odd men. Other than that, they spread sexual bits of gossip and sent threatening messages to murder her. Furthermore, she said “I lived in fear for so long. I knew they were looking for a fight and I refused to give them one so I deleted all known online presence and changed my number. I became recluse, a prisoner in my own home. Once I graduated high school I applied to college outside of my hometown to run away. Now, I am 22 and still have to live with the effects of these cruel girls. Trauma is hard to recover from but I know it is possible and I am stronger now than I have ever been. I am not that scared 15-year-old girl but I am still haunted by the girl I used to be.”
Identity theft, another form of cybercrime, has affected many people in past couple of years. As stated by Symantec corporation that almost 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft, as argued by an online review in 2018 by The Harris Poll. That equivalent review, demonstrates about 15 million consumers experienced identity theft in 2017. The most common types of identity theft are employment or tax-related fraud (34%) and credit card fraud (33%) (Symantec corporation). Employment or tax-related fraud is a type of fraud that is used to file an income tax return, while credit card fraud is used to use the victims credit card to make fraudulent purchase. Aside from the social impacts of identity theft, the people experience the ill effects of different mental clutters, for example, dejection, outrage, vulnerable, and suicidal thoughts. As expressed in a 2017 production by Herb Weisbaum, a NBC columnist, expresses that ITRC overviewed 176 casualties of fraud crosswise over USA and almost every one of them endured mental impacts, for example, 80% felt irritated, 56% felt outrage, 67% felt apprehensive for their budgetary future, 37% where stressed over their family, 66% felt violated, 58% felt revered, and 7% thought about suicide.
It might be said that some individuals suffer financial problems, and this adds to the mental burden they suffer. In order to coop with that burden, some victims sell their belongings or pile up debt. In this sense, given the fact that within the past year, cybercrime victims have spent $126 billion globally and lost 19.7 hours – the time it would take to fly from New York City to Los Angeles four times – dealing with cybercrime (Symantec employee). Therefore, it might be deduced from the preceding argument that cybercrime has become evident to be certainly a worrying issue that may be difficult to be overcome.
Admittedly, cybercrime is now considered as at least as serious, and painstaking endeavors in the forms of extreme measures have to be taken in order to tackle this issue and ameliorate its consequences. Probably, the first plausible answer to this problem is to raise awareness regarding cybercrime’s dangers and forms. This can be done through campaigns that address the vulnerable age bracket from teenagers and older for example the campaign that is lunched by UNODC titled “Do Not Trust Emojis”. Secondly, the other possible remedy is to legislate laws that sentence the offenders who commit such kinds of crimes in such a scheme. The government is surely playing a role in the fight against cybercrime as stated by Homeland Security by enforcing certain enactments to achieve higher rates of deterrent to web crimes. For instance, law authorization plays out a fundamental job in accomplishing our country's cybersecurity destinations by researching a wide scope of cybercrimes, from robbery and extortion to youngster misuse, and capturing and arraigning those mindful. Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) works with other government offices to direct high-sway criminal examinations to disturb and crush digital culprits, organize the enrollment and preparing of specialized specialists, create institutionalized techniques, and comprehensively share digital reaction best practices and devices (Homeland Security). Other simple measures should be taken like using strong passwords, apply system updates, install firewalls and solutions for viruses to secure devices, and not opening emails unless from known sources, although phishing emails usually fake the identity to trick the user.
In such a scheme, in the situation if you are falling a victim to any of the forms of cybercrime, the following actions should be taken into consideration to mitigate the negative impacts of web based crimes. For instance, if someone encounters identity theft, the following courses of action are recommended to preempt any potential drawbacks. First, if the credit card is stolen, the credit card issuer should be contacted and informed that the card has been objected to theft. Second, the credit card statement should be checked to see whether there are any fraudulent purchases made. In case of any purchase is made without prior authorization, it is advisable to immediately contact with the credit card company. In the case of being cyberbullied, simple guidelines and measures should be followed in order to stop the case. Firstly, inform the trustworthy people around you that there is something serious has happened, albeit it may look hard, but suffering in silent will not help. Secondly, block the person to stop him from texting and threatening you. Thirdly, report the person/group to concerned authorities will aid in taking the abuser down. Finally, stay positive and cheer up because that helps in the long run.
To recapitulate, not only are cybercrimes debilitating and pressing issues, but also challenging for both individuals and governments alike. Their negative consequences are severe and could lead to as serious outcomes as suicide. Possible answers may involve raising awareness about the associating risks and dangers. It is mandatory for the governments to intervene through sentencing, finning, and imprisoning the offenders to frighten anybody from committing such crimes. Finally, we have to welcome the self-protecting measures, however simple, they are highly efficient.
While searching google for research topics I stumbled upon a topic under the name of the effects of cybercrime on society. At first I didn’t know anything about the topic, but it grasped my attention for I found it really interesting. So I took the liberty and started researching the topic. During my research, I discovered how serious cybercrime is, and that not so many people knew about it, I for example was one of them. Cybercrime has been something that tormented many people for the sake of evil, and that the criminals who do such a crime get off the hook easily. Taking all this into consideration incited me to do this research to help raise awareness about the lurking evil of the web, and to gain information on how I can protect my beloved ones and I.
Building this research has been one of the hardest things I tackled this year, but as hard as it is it was enjoyable watching the people around me and myself help each other to overcome this task. The opinion of the people around me, espically my father, has helped me in improving my research to the better. In the end, as hard as this research was, it made me gain new experience and knowledge, and that is something I am grateful for.
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