Cyber Psychology and Human Factors
The online environment has become a significant focus of the everyday behaviour and activities of individuals and organisations in contemporary society. The increasing use of social media has led to concerns about the potential risks and associated negative experiences which can occur to users, particularly children and young people. This reflects the emergence of the online environment as a location for criminal and abusive behaviour (e.g. sexual exploitation, fraud, malware). One of the key aspects of understanding online victimisation and offending is the relationship between the characteristics of online communication and the affordances of the technologies, services and applications which constitute digital environments. This article examines the influence of these characteristics on individual and group behaviour, as well as the associated opportunities for victimisation and offending. 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. 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.
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