This module is a resource for lecturers
In addition to the exercises, other assessment tools used in this Module are review questions and homework assignments.
The questions can also be used to promote class discussions during the lecture.
- What are the different types of interpersonal cybercrimes? Please justify your response.
- How is child sexual exploitation and abuse facilitated online?
- What are the similarities and differences between cyberstalking, cyberharassment and cyberbullying?
- What are the obstacles to investigating and prosecuting interpersonal cybercrimes?
- What cybercrimes are considered gender-based interpersonal cybercrimes?
- How can interpersonal cybercrimes be prevented? How would you characterize current efforts to prevent these cybercrimes?
Students can be assigned one or more of the following assignments to be completed before class as a written homework assignment (one to three pages long) and/or be part of the class discussion:
Homework # 1 - The roles of apps in interpersonal cybercrime
Children continuously adopt new apps and use them to communicate. In the United States, popular messaging apps in 2017 included video messaging apps (FireChat and Marco Polo), Snapchat, Instagram, and even Yubo (Krischer, 2017). Yubo (formerly known as Yellow) has been dubbed "Tinder for children." Tinder, while a dating app, is primarily known as a "hook up" app, which facilitates connections between people who largely are seeking casual sexual encounters. Like Tinder, with Yubo, children swipe right to connect (or become friends) with another child or left if they do not want to become friends. The app connects children to strangers within their geographic location, facilitates communication with these strangers, and enables the arrangement of in person meetings. Because age verification does not exist on this site, adult predators can create fake profiles, and use the site to contact and ultimately lure children. This practice by online predators is not unique to this app, it is common on most websites, chat rooms, messaging apps, video apps, and social media platforms used by children.
For this assignment, find a popular messaging app in your country.
- What are the features of this app?
- Who commonly uses the app (i.e., adults, children or both)? For what reasons?
- Has this app been used in your country by perpetrators of interpersonal cybercrime? Please justify your response. If you answered yes, please provide a real-life case where this occurred.
- In what ways can the app be used to conduct an interpersonal cybercrime a victim?
- What, if anything, can be done to prevent the use of the app to commit interpersonal cybercrime?
Homework # 2 - National laws on online child sexual exploitation and abuse
Randomly assign students a country to research. Instruct students to conduct research on the laws in their assigned country on online child sexual exploitation and abuse. Task students to answer the following questions:
- What, if any, laws are used to prosecute online child sexual exploitation and abuse?
- What are the limits of these laws in prosecuting online child sexual exploitation and abuse?
- What laws, if any, apply to online child grooming? Is the following requirement in the law: "intent to meet the child in person"?
Homework # 3 - Technologies of surveillance
Lecturers can assign the following web exercise before class: Ask students to search for an app and/or programme that promotes surreptitious surveillance of users. After the student selects an app or programme, the student should answer these questions:
- What are the capabilities of your chosen app or programme?
- Why might someone want to use this app or programme?
- How can this technology be leveraged to commit interpersonal cybercrime?
- In what ways might the app or programme be considered to contribute to the continuum of gender-based violence?
- What can or should be done to address concerns that might arise from the use of this app or programme by perpetrators of interpersonal cybercrime?
Homework #4 - Disinhibition effect
Disinhibition refers to the process whereby an individual demonstrates a lack of social restraint with regards to online behaviour (Suler, 2004). Disinhibition facilitates behaviours and acts that are often suppressed in the real world due to laws and other social constraints. Disinhibition can be benign (i.e., if it facilitates positive personal growth) or toxic (i.e., if it does not facilitate personal growth but instead results in the expression of anti-social desires and immoral and/or illegal acts) (Suler, 2004, p. 321).
Suler (2004, pp. 322-324) identified the following factors as causing an online disinhibition effect:
- Dissociate anonymity ("you don't know me") involves the detachment of online behaviour from offline behaviour due to the anonymity afforded to them when utilizing the Internet and digital technology. The individual's online identity and behaviour is dissimilar to the person's offline identity and behaviour.
- Invisibility ("you can't see me") involves the use of the Internet without other users knowing that one or more persons are present (e.g., individuals can view social media profiles on certain platforms that will not reveal to other users that their page was accessed), emboldening users "to go to places and do things" they would not normally do.
- Asynchronicity ("see you later") refers to the lack of real-time interaction that often but not always occurs online. Delays in feedback for communications and actions result in disinhibition.
- Solipsistic introjection ("all in my head") refers to the fictional image of others created by users' perceptions of others and their traits absent contextual data, including the relationships they have with them based on imagined rather than real information.
- Dissociative imagination ("it's just a game") refers to users' view of cyberspace as a forum within which the rules of everyday interactions, codes of conduct, social norms, and/or laws do not apply, disinhibiting the individual to act in a manner contrary to offline rules of everyday interactions, codes of conduct, social norms, and/or laws.
- Minimizing authority ("we're equals") refers to view of the Internet as levelling the playing field, resulting in the treatment of others as peers instead of authorities (even if they are authorities in real life). This lack of authority - or at least the perception of the lack of authority - results in a disinhibiting effect because individuals operate on the assumption that authorities are not present to censure, sanction, or otherwise punish immoral, illegal, or other misbehaviours online.
Students should be randomly assigned to a group before the class to enable them to complete the assignment before the class meets. Each group should be randomly assigned one of the following topics: cyberstalking, cyberharassment, image-based sexual abuse, sextortion, cyberbullying, or Internet trolling.
Students should look up a case on their assigned topic in UNODC's SHERLOC case law database.
Once they have identified a case, each group should be prepared to discuss the following in class:
- The case they chose and why
- Details of their case utilizing online disinhibition effect
- The factors that caused the online disinhibition effect in their case (using examples from their case to illustrate their points).