All the positive aspects of the internet and the positive changes it has brought in the daily lives of people across the world, would belittle the negative aspects that have come with it. Cyber victimization which is the most disturbing vice in the information highway is a major concern all over the globe. Cyber victimization can be said to be most recent form of serious threat to society, yet without the necessary awareness of its magnitude and effects to society, could easily escape attention.
As it would be expected, the increase in the use of the internet has attracted criminals of all sorts, as the very nature of the internet provides them with the “invisibility” and anonymity they require to articulate their agendas. The availability of the internet in homes, schools, offices and public libraries as well as the facilities that come with it makes it easy to access at all times. The internet will continue playing an integral part in the lives of Americans and therefore it is only prudent that studies be made to establish the abusive use of the same and how to mitigate the occurrences (Mitchell et al, 2003).
Cyber Victimization-The Trend As it would be expected, the youth are the most adventurous in any given society. Their enthusiastic embrace of the internet has opened endless opportunities to them. Access to information on all subjects is readily available, be it in entertainment or education. Information on subjects that they would otherwise find hard to discuss openly is readily available. Incidences of molestation through the internet are on the increase as media highlights indicate that a majority of the youth are sexually molested even through unsolicited availability of pornography.
This has become a major source of concern to families. Household values and concerns have been brought to task since parents cannot fully control what material their child accesses in the internet. Sexual molestation remains the biggest form of victimization the youth encounter in the internet. This comes in the form of sexual requests from adults and people looking for vulnerable children online. However, some the perpetrators of these harassments do entice the youth to meet them at a physical address. Girls are targeted more than boys when it comes to sexual approaches, while boys are the bigger target for exposure to pornography.
In the case of harassment both sexes are equal targets. Threats of physical assault also have a worrying trend. Youths have been threatened of actual bodily harm to them, family members, friends or their property. The “invisibility” and anonymity provided by the internet enables the perpetrators of victimization to hide their true identities thus giving them undue advantage over their victims. The perpetrators, just like the victims are youths, children and adults. The males are the majority. Interestingly a majority of the perpetrators are friends and people known to and live close to the victim.
It is also common for victims to withhold their disturbing encounters from relevant authorities for fear of being reprimanded, feeling embarrassed or otherwise. The temptation to go back to the sites is also prevalent. The encounters usually come up as a result of wrongly spelt address, e-mail links clicking on the site as well as unknowingly surfing the websites. Ignorance about what measures or even where to report disturbing encounters in event of harassment largely contributes to the increase of victimization.
Lack of information on the depth and dynamism of the problems the internet has brought makes it difficult to devise solid mitigating solutions. The limited use of the available computer software which provides access control mechanisms to block and filter un-wanted materials in the internet expounds the problem (Mitchell et al, 2003). Limiting Chances of Becoming a Victim There is a great prevalence cyber-victimization yet a majority of those who fall victims are ignorant especially on the measures to be taken to mitigate the chances of being one. This is disturbing given that there are clear and elaborate measures to put a stop to this.
Studies have shown that a big number of internet users do not make use of filtering or blocking software that is readily available in the market. Informing the internet service providers of such occurrences would be an advisable step to mitigate this vice. The internet user’s ability to overcome the temptation to surf web-sites that are not well known to them is by large the most suitable measure to ensure that the does not fall victim to scams and other forms of harassments (Mitchell et al, 2003). Conclusion The internet has transformed the lifestyle of people in America by becoming an integral component of daily life.
However with all the benefits it has created cyber victimization must be addressed as an emerging trend that could easily become a major source of distress in this country. Public awareness on the existing mitigating steps to deal with this vice must receive the attention it deserves. The National security institutions as well other relevant institutions must take the lead in this issue (Mitchell et al, 2003). References Mitchell, K. J. , Finkelhor, D. , & Wolak, J. (2003). Emerging issues in child victimization; Victimization of youths on the internet . The Haworth Press Inc.