Cyberpsychology and Human Factors

Bryce, Joanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9144-2899 (2015) Cyberpsychology and Human Factors. Engineering & Technology Reference, 8 .

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The online environment has become a significant focus of the everyday behaviour and activities of individuals and organisations in contemporary society. The increasing mediation of communication has led to concerns about the potential risks and associated negative experiences which can occur to users, particularly children and young people. This is related to the emergence of the online environment as a location for criminal and abusive behaviour (e.g., harassment, sexual exploitation, fraud, hacking, malware). One of the key aspects of understanding online victimisation and engagement in criminal behaviours is the characteristics of online communication that are related to the affordances of the technologies, services and applications which constitute digital environments. The aim of this paper is to examine the influence of these characteristics on individual and group behaviour, as well as the associated opportunities for victimisation and criminal behaviour. These issues are of relevance for those involved in the design and implementation of technologies and services, as the ability to assess their potential use in this way can enhance strategies for improving the security of systems and users. It can also inform educational strategies for increasing user understanding of potential informational, privacy and personal risks, and associated steps to improve their security and privacy. Each of the main characteristics of mediated communication is examined, as well as their potential impact on individual and group behaviour, and associated opportunities for victimisation and offending. The article ends by considering the importance of recognising these issues when designing and implementing new technologies, services and applications.

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