Why are they so awesome?
Well, Mr. Stevens, it’s definitely not a big truck.
The Internet is basically three things together:
Computers (many, many computers)
Some method of connecting the computers (phone, optical, wireless..)
The shared language they speak over that connection (
Wait, what is it, actually?
In some ways! Mostly in how hard it is to keep the Web
of somewhere, or get rid of it.
Is that important?
from punch cards to floppy disks
Bulletin board systems
precursor to the modern Internet
Basically the original social network
So many adolescents who are famous hackers today got started with these!
Before the “Online”
The original purpose of the Internet was rapid communication (military, of course
Once computers could ‘talk’ to each other, data transfer can actually begin!
But the original intent of the system remains its primary use for most Internet users.
Original forms were basically fancy telegraphs
computer direct messages.
mail: killer app of the Internet
USENET: Ever wonder who thought of ‘
Bulletin boards & mailing lists
IRC and chat rooms
Web applications and social networks
Forms of Communication
Original Internet communication (and, in many ways, today’s Internet communication) lacks
almost all the stimuli of face
Socially challenging to handle
“Impoverished social environment”
Think of sarcasm online, for example.
Some researchers call the anonymous Internet “impersonal”, but Walther (1996) termed the
idea of '
Trying to explain why online communication was so popular with e.g. socially anxious
the Internet is 'impoverished communication', wouldn't it be more difficult for people
who are socially unskilled?
People can conceal socially undesirable traits (e.g. picking their nose), and the people they
meet are likewise presented as more desirable (e.g., can't see them pick their nose)
Positive feedback loop
both more likeable and easier to like others
People develop more intimate relations more quickly with online friends than
CMC lends an (arguably false) feeling of safety, anonymity, and ease in accomplishing
No nonverbal cues = more resources for the remaining social tasks
provides time to carefully parse messages and construct responses
VERYDAY USERS on the Internet
as well as clinicians
have noted how people
say and do things in cyberspace that they
wouldn’t ordinarily say and do in the face
world. They loosen up, feel less restrained, and express
themselves more openly. (Suler, 2004)
Basically, people do and say things online they wouldn't do in real life.
Especially U.S. Politicians.
Suler further separates this into
on the Internet, people are more willing to share, be emotionally
honest, and are more likely to show kindness, generosity, or altruism.
Think of things like online fundraisers or charities, popular social movements, etc.
Benign vs. Toxic Disinhibition
is pretty much exactly what you're thinking of.
Why? Punishments on the internet are (ostensibly) pretty mild for most people.
But sometimes not. See: U.S. politicians.
Benign vs. Toxic Disinhibition
lists 6 major reasons.
Minimization of Status and Authority
of people with common interests and practices that communicate regularly and
for some duration in an organized way over the Internet through a common location or
Message boards, social networks, YouTube channels, IRC (anybody old enough for this?),
Might be organized around a particular hobby, group/identity (e.g., GLBT, people of
(e.g., political affiliation
), or real
life connection (club, clique, team, etc.)
Provides a unique social outlet that provides incredibly rich communication
face communication in many ways!
Also an excellent way to see the entire spectrum of human horribleness, from 'banal' to
Why do people like online communities? (Ridings & Gefen, 2006)
Current events, gossip, opinions & reviews, downloads, general interest...
Reddit, 4chan, etc.
Online communities can provide support for disenfranchised (e.g., young mothers) or
rare (e.g., congenital disorders) communities by putting them in touch with each other
where it would otherwise be impossible
Spending time with people you like is, itself, rewarding! Strange idea.
People find online communities a fun and enjoyable way to spend time.
People are wrong. Sometimes, they're very wrong. Usually, they're online.
The ease by which you can enter a virtual community is matched only by how easy it
is to leave
You can't tell me you've never seen someone looking at
The Internet is a safe haven for any number of horrible opinions.
Children are not particularly good at critically appraising online opinions.
Or even doctors and teachers!
Even ordinary users can find themselves using reprehensible material 'ironically'.
Example: Ana/Mia support groups
Eating disorders: a lifestyle?
Think of how much money we spend on health education.
The Internet changes its face so quickly that research is almost always a step behind.
Even so, the Internet has enough power that it’s captured the eye of politicians, news
By the time our research on
and Twitter finishes, where will the Internet be?
Traditional definition of bullying (Hurst, 2005):
“…an imbalance of power that exists over a long period of time between two
individuals, two groups, or a group and an individual in which the more powerful
intimidate or belittle others.”
Initial research on bullying and the Internet attempted to port the same definition over, but
involves the use of information and communication technologies to
support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group, that
is intended to harm others."
Research Kristen Welker in our lab is doing (right now!) on
to see if it’s
perceived as such by actual children
It’s not! Some factors are more or less important:
Imbalance of power
Period of time
Method of attack
A New Beast
has become a hot topic in the news and in politics with some high
new laws and policies? Are the old policies just bad at handling all
Video games have been a bogeyman in the mass media (and, promptly afterwards, the
literature) for about 15 years now.
They’ve done pretty much everything: incited violence, failed children out of school, given
people heart attacks, and otherwise tormented mothers everywhere. Right?
The Old New Beast?
The link between violent media and violent behaviour is
well studied (50+
years). The conclusions: not very clear (Ferguson & Ferguson, 2009)
There is a causal link between violent media and short
term violent behaviour
This link is of very low
. Anybody here remember their statistics?
There is little to no evidence for long
term violent behaviour and violent video games.
Additionally, there is a heavy
in violent media research.
The Violent Beast?
An article by Gentile, Lynch, Linder, & Walsh (2004) found that game
boys in argued more with teachers, got in more fights in school, and had worse grades.
They interpreted this through the
General Aggression Model
(e.g. aggressive personality) and
(e.g. video game
provocation) input variables lead to
by influencing several
states and the outcomes of automatic
controlled appraisal (or decision)
processes.” (Anderson & Dill, 2000)”
But more recent research (e.g., Ferguson, 2010) says no
The Stupid Beast?
Lots of horror stories about people playing
in LAN cafes for two weeks and dying
of caffeine overdose.
Has been treated in the literature like other addictive behaviours, e.g., drinking, gambling..
e.g., 2010 study of 9
grade German students measured
preoccupation, conflict, loss
of control, withdrawal,
for video games (
People have even tried treating it with drugs (
)! (Han, Hwang, &
That said, disorder was proposed and rejected for DSM
V in 2007
(to overusing jokes)
Scourge (or saviour) of lab reports, writing
assignments, and open book exams...right?
Anonymous, open, and free encyclopedia.
Well, mostly open.
esteemed contributors and moderators
And almost anonymous.
Wikipedia Scanner: tracks IP addresses of people who edit Wiki articles
Democratic National Party headquarters editing Rush Limbaugh
CIA editing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
And pretty much free.
Giles, Nature (2005)
Wikipedia errors comparable to Encyclopedia Britannica
But there are problems with:
Readability and organization
Prominence of radical scientific theories (Fill the atmosphere with ash to stop global
On the other hand, a Wikipedia article can be made for pretty much any topic of interest
(no space concerns)
Errors can be corrected as soon as an error is found, not in the next edition of a book!
Almost all scientists
Wikipedia, and many of them
Only 10% have ever
a Wikipedia article, even to make a correction.
Most prolific Wiki editors are middle
regardless of topic.
There have been several high
profile Wikipedia contributors with false credentials exposed
”, professed Ph. D. at private university, actual chump
This guy was interviewed by The New Yorker!
Jimmy Wales: "I regard it as a pseudonym and I don't
really have a problem with it."
Originally a Wikipedia for leaked confidential documents.
Now, it's a more traditional publishing outlet.
Based of Wikipedia's technology, but now...
Information all sent to a central source (the WikiLeaks group)
Information is sent encrypted (PGP, etc.)
Central source decrypts, then publishes the information for the whistleblower to
protect their anonymity
Whistleblower's identity is never known
Most famous documents published by
about a dozen people, including 2 Reuters journalists,
being shot by a US helicopter
embassy messages by US embassies for decades
Guantanamo Bay prisoner dossiers
Afghan and Iraq “War Logs”
massive amounts of military documentation
Most of these are allegedly from
, a computer hacker, fingered Bradley Manning as
Manning was arrested in Iraq on May 26, 2010
Manning has been in military prison for almost two years, and only in February was ordered
to stand trial (date not set)
Modern encryption still requires a ludicrous amount of computing power to break
easier for a computer to make a lock than break a lock
The U.S. government is constructing a
computer center ($2 billion dollars!) in Utah for
the express purpose of having a computer network strong enough to break encryptions …
And a database to store so much data off the Internet that
they haven’t made up the name
for that unit of byte yet
(highest one is 10
Internet Security in 2012
Holy crap! 2 billion dollars!
Holy crap! Encrypted data broken! That means banking information, health and
education, even online shopping and bills!
Holy crap! All that data, stored forever in some bunker in Utah!
Holy crap! 2 billion dollars!
Internet Security in 2012