“Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking, Cyber Harassment & iPredator-A Brief Introduction” is an article authored by Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D., NYS licensed psychologist, forensic psychology consultant and author of the new Information Age Forensics construct, iPredator. In addition to providing the reader present definitions of Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking & Cyber Harassment, Dr. Nuccitelli also provides definitions of his two constructs, iPredator and Dark Psychology. Lastly, Dr. Nuccitelli introduces the definition of a new construct he is working on with iPredator associates to address the area of Online Victimization Dynamics. Their working definition term at present is called Information Age Wellness.
Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking, Cyber Harassment
A Brief Introduction
by Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
The Information Age is a societal paradigm and period of time beginning in the last quarter of the 20th century and presently thriving in the second decade of the 21st century. The Information Age is a stage in societal and technological development similar to the Industrial Revolution (1750-1942). The Information Age represents the evolution, emergence, consumption of and reliance upon Information and Communications Technology (ICT). In a mere four decades, ICT and its importance to humanity have led many to surmise that the planet and its human inhabitants are amidst an Information Revolution. Mobile digital technology, telecommunications, social media and the abstract concept and artificial universe of cyberspace are just a few examples of humanities newest frontiers to obtain, exchange and disseminate information.
The planet is experiencing a shift from traditional industry, born and bred during the Industrial Revolution, to an economy based on the creative and rapid manipulation of information. Just as the Industrial Revolution greatly changed the lives of humanity, the Information Revolution is a societal shift rapidly changing humanity’s social, economic and psychological conditions of the times. The Information Revolution marks another major turning point in history, following the Industrial Revolution and changing every aspect of daily life unlike ever before.
Information and Communications Technology = ICT
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is an umbrella term used to define any electronic or digital communication device or application used to obtain, exchange or disseminate information. ICT stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications, which enable users to create, access, store, transmit and manipulate information. ICT consists of all forms of telecommunication, information technology, broadcast media, audio and video processing, transmission and network based control and monitoring functions. ICT has rapidly become one of the basic building blocks of modern society and will become increasingly important as the Information Age matures.
Many industrialized nations now regard understanding ICT and mastering the basic skills and concepts of ICT is vital and now considered part of the core of education, alongside reading, writing and arithmetic. The importance of ICT to humanity lies upon a continuum of relevance ranging from minimal impact to vital requirement regarding an ICT user’s day to day activities. For some, ICT and the Internet are nothing more than tools of convenience for conducting their responsibilities. For others, their social, scholastic, business and/or financial affairs disclosed in cyberspace via ICT are crucial to their self-esteem, self-worth, success and perceptual world.
ICT has changed the way humanity interacts, exchanges and accesses information. Smartphones, mobile devices and social media are the latest in a succession of advancements growing at a feverish pace. It is often hard to fathom that the Internet, used by two billion plus people globally, only celebrated its 20th birthday in 2011.
As ICT continues to expand at a feverish pace coupled with seemingly daily introductions of new technology, ever-increasing obstacles will challenge humanity. Already, ICT users have been confronted by the ever-increasing detriments of having incredible amounts of information, which can be obtained, exchanged and spread at incredible speed. Another challenge, that includes the dark side of humanity, is the usage of ICT and cyberspace to harm others inflicting psychological, physical and/or societal damage.
The construct iPredator, created by this writer, encapsulates these harmful typologies and is as follows along with brief definitions of iPredator typologies and this writer’s definition of his theoretical criminology construct termed, Dark Psychology.
iPredator: iPredator is a person, group or nation who, directly or indirectly, engages in exploitation, victimization, coercion, stalking, theft or disparagement of others using Information and Communications Technology (ICT). iPredators are driven by deviant fantasies, desires for power and control, retribution, religious fanaticism, political reprisal, psychiatric illness, perceptual distortions, peer acceptance or personal and financial gain. iPredators can be any age or gender and are not bound by economic status, race, religion or national heritage.
iPredator is a global term used to distinguish anyone who engages in criminal, coercive, deviant or abusive behaviors using ICT. Central to the construct is the premise that Information Age criminals, deviants and the violently disturbed are psychopathological classifications new to humanity. Whether the offender is a cyberbully, cyberstalker, cyber harasser, cyber criminal, online sexual predator, cyber terrorist or engaged in internet defamation or nefarious cyber deception, they fall within the scope of iPredator. The three criteria used to define an iPredator include:
I. A self-awareness of causing harm to others, directly or indirectly, using ICT. II. The usage of ICT to obtain, tamper with, exchange and deliver harmful information. III. A general understanding of Cyberstealth used to engage in criminal or deviant activities or to profile, identify, locate, stalk and engage a target.
Unlike human predators prior to the Information Age, iPredators rely on the multitude of benefits offered by Information and Communications Technology (ICT). These assistances include exchange of information over long distances, rapidity of information exchanged and the seemingly infinite access to data available. Malevolent in intent, iPredators rely on their capacity to deceive others using ICT in the abstract and artificial electronic universe known as cyberspace. Therefore, as the internet naturally offers all ICT users anonymity, if they decide, iPredators actively design online profiles and diversionary tactics to remain undetected and untraceable.
Cyberstealth, a sub-tenet of iPredator, is a covert method by which iPredators attempt to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they engage in ICT activities planning their next assault, investigating innovative surveillance technologies or researching the social profiles of their next target. Concurrent with the concept of Cyberstealth is iPredator Victim Intuition (IVI). An iPredator’s IVI is their aptitude to sense a target’s ODDOR (Offline Distress Dictates Online Response), online & offline vulnerabilities, psychological weaknesses, technological limitations, increasing their success of a cyber-attack with minimal ramifications.
Offline Distress Dictates Online Response
“Malevolent in intent, iPredators rely on their capacity to deceive others using information technology in the abstract and artificial electronic universe known as cyberspace. Therefore, as the internet naturally offers all ICT users anonymity, if they decide, iPredators actively design online profiles and diversionary tactics to remain undetected and untraceable.” Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D., iPredator Inc. (2013) www.iPredator.co
Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is defined as threatening or disparaging information directed at a target child delivered through information and communications technology (ICT.) Like classic bullying, cyberbullying is harmful, repeated and hostile behavior intended to taunt, embarrass, deprecate & defame a targeted child. Dissimilar to classic bullying, cyber bullying includes a phenomenon called Cyberbullying by proxy. Cyberbullying by proxy is when a cyber bully encourages or persuades other ICT users to engage in deprecating and harassing a target child. Cyberbullying by proxy is a dangerous form of cyber bullying because adults may become accomplices to the cyberbully and may not know they are dealing with a minor or child from their community.
Cyberbullies are usually motivated by a need for peer acceptance and/or power and control. A small percentage of cyberbullies engage in these maladaptive behaviors out of ignorance of the distress they cause a target child. The most malevolent form of cyberbully, feels minimal remorse for the harm they are inflicting upon the target child. It has been speculated that children view the real world and the online or virtual world as part of a seamless continuum. Unable to differentiate reality from virtual reality, victims of online bullying can become psychologically devastated and/or bullies themselves.
Cyber Harassment: Cyber harassment is defined as the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to harass, control, manipulate or habitually disparage a child, adult, business or group without a credible or implied threat of harm. Unlike physical harassment requiring physical contact, cyber harassment occurs in cyberspace using ICT and is verbal, emotional or social abuse of a person based on their race, gender, religion, socio-economic status, physical attributes, sexual orientation or beliefs. Cyber harassment is a tactic used by an ICT assailant that may or may not be rooted in an attempt to control, dominate or manipulate their target.
Although cyber harassment pertains to unrelenting taunting and disparaging information directed at a child, adult, public figure, group or business using ICT, the motivations of the assailant may be rooted in their own pathological drives and motivations. Cyber harassment differs from cyberstalking in that it is generally does not involve a credible or implied physical threat. Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose. In a rapidly expanding digital world, an ICT user’s privacy and reputation becomes more vulnerable to corruption. As anonymity via the Internet becomes more feasible, cyber harassment continues to flourish. Cyber harassment is the adult form of cyberbullying to a minor.
Cyberstalking: Cyberstalking is defined as the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to stalk, control, manipulate, threaten or make unwanted advances towards a child, adult, business or group. Cyberstalking is both a tactic used by an ICT assailant and typology of pathological ICT user. Cyberstalking tactics include false accusations, threats of harm, habitual monitoring, surveillance, implied threats, identity theft, damage to property and gathering information to manipulate and control their target. To meet the criteria of Cyberstalking, the information and tactics used must involve a credible or implied physical and psychological threat to the target. An example of physical threat involves bodily harm to the target or their loved ones via ICT.
Examples of psychological threats involves disparagement, humiliation, dis-information dissemination and environmental damage to the target’s reputation, credibility or financial status if the target does not acquiesce to the cyberstalker’s demands. The Internet is a global medium regardless of frontiers, and this creates new possibilities for the growing class of online. Given the Internet is inexpensive and easy to access, distance between cyberstalkers and their targets are no longer a confounding factor. Cyberstalking is both a strategy to target other ICT users and a psychiatric pathology. When internet is a tactic, the assailant does not need to be motivated by psychiatric illness.
ONLINE SEXUAL PREDATION
Online Predation: The typology of iPredator that is categorized as Online Predators have a variety of different terms used to describe the same patterns and motivations for their abuse. Online Sexual Predators are defined as adult online users who seek to exploit vulnerable children or adolescents for sexual and other abusive purposes. Online Predators are sexual predators who use Information and Communications Technology and the Internet to locate, target and victimize minors. Common forums used by Internet Predators to target children include chat rooms, instant messaging or social networking sites for the purpose of flirting with and meeting others for illicit sexual experiences.
Online Child Predators are motivated to manipulate or “groom” a minor with the ultimate goal of meeting and engaging in sexual activity, despite knowing they are engaging in illegal activities. In instances where meeting their victims is not the primary objective, Online Predators also attempt to persuade children and adolescents to participate in some form of online sexual and/or sexually provocative activity motivated by financial gain engaging in the distribution and sale of child pornography.
Cybercrime: Cybercrime is defined as crimes and criminal activity committed on the Internet using Information and Communications Technology as the tools to target victims. All forms of cybercrime involve both Information and Communications Technology and a targeted victim(s). Cybercrime is segmented into two distinct categories involving the focus of the cyber criminal activities. These activities are focalized on the technology of ICT to achieve the cyber criminal’s aims for personal and financial gain or targeted at the person using the Information and Communications Technology. When the individual is the main target of cybercrime, ICT is the tool rather than the target. These are the crimes, which have existed for centuries in offline societies.
Scams, Identity Theft and Internet Fraud have existed long before the development of information technology, but in non-digital form. Cyber criminals utilize technological tools that increase their potential pool of victims and make them difficult to identify and apprehend. Cybercrime targets people, property or governments using Information and Communications Technology.
Cyber Terrorism: Cyber Terrorism is defined as the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) by iPredators, organized groups and/or terrorist groups to advance their agenda motivated by religious, political and/or philosophical ideologies. Examples of cyber terrorism include 1. The use of ICT to organize and execute attacks against networks, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructures. 2. The exchanging of information or making threats electronically. 3. The act of hacking into computer systems. 4. Introducing viruses and malware to vulnerable networks. 5.Defacement of websites and blogs. 6. Denial-of-service attacks 7. Terrorist threats made via electronic communication.
When strategic cyber attacks are motivated for financial gain, these attacks are defined as cybercrime. Cyber terrorism is any premeditated, politically, religious or philosophically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs and data, which results in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents. A cyber terrorist attack is designed to cause physical violence or extreme financial harm to the targeted victims or community.
According to the U.S. Commission of Critical Infrastructure Protection, cyber terrorist targets include the banking industry, military installations, power plants, air traffic control centers and water systems. The F.B.I. define cyber terrorism as “The premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs and data which result in violence against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.”
INFORMATION AGE FORENSICS
iPredator is a global concept that includes children, adults and organized groups who, directly or indirectly, use ICT to harm or exploit others. The goal of the United States and all industrialized nations is to stop the growth of iPredators by educating its citizens on their tactics and strategies. From a profiling and investigation standpoint, assessment of an iPredator’s Cyberstealth tactics and Digital Footprint can assist authorities in their profiling, identification and apprehension. Just as classic criminal profiles have signatures used to apprehend them, iPredators have digital signatures as well.
The importance of ICT and the Internet to humankind is different to everyone and as unique as a fingerprint. For some, ICT and the Internet are nothing more than tools of convenience for conducting mundane tasks. For others, their social, scholastic, business and/or financial affairs disclosed online are crucial to their life functioning, self-esteem, self-worth, success and perceptual world.
As ICT, social media, virtual reality and the Information Age rapidly expands becoming integral to humanities daily activities, understanding the basic tenets of these new dimensions are preponderant. In 2011, the Internet celebrated its 20th birthday. In 2013, most of humanity continues to fail in understanding the golden rule of all new territory exploration. What always comes with opportunity and new frontiers are elements unknown and potentially dangerous. It is these unknown and dangerous elements, lurking within cyberspace, which ICT users and their loved ones must be vigilant about.
“Prior to the Information Age, physiological health was a priori to survival and self-preservation. Now, and ad infinitum, psychological health is equally, if not more, important.” Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D., iPredator Inc. (2013)
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. is a NYS licensed psychologist and cyber criminology consultant. He completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Adler University in 1994. In 2010, Dr. Nuccitelli authored the dark side of cyberspace concept known as “iPredator.” In November 2011, he established iPredator Inc., offering educational, investigative, and advisory services involving criminal psychology, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, online predators, internet trolls, the dark side of cyberspace and internet safety. Dr. Nuccitelli has worked in the mental health field over the last thirty-plus years and has volunteered his time helping cyber-attacked victims since 2010. His goal is to reduce victimization, theft, and disparagement from iPredators.
In addition to aiding citizens & disseminating educational content, Dr. Nuccitelli’s mission is to initiate a sustained national educational and awareness internet safety campaign with the help of private, state, and federal agencies. He is always available, at no cost, to interact with online users, professionals, and the media. To invite Dr. Nuccitelli to conduct training, media engagements, educational services, or consultation, please call him at (347) 871-2416 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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