Cyberbullying Tactics 2014
How Cyberbullies Cyberbully
Cyberbullying continues to rapidly grow, psychological devastating both pre-pubescent and adolescent children. Unlike pre-Information Age bullying, cyberbullies and their tactics are primarily designed and instituted in the hidden realm of cyberspace. Given all humanity thrives at the beginning of the Information Age, no one knows the depths children will venture in their criminal, deviant and deceptive practices to harm other children. Provided below are this writer’s compilation of cyberbullying tactics used by minors to harm and victimize other children.
Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is the use of Information and Communications Technology between minors to humiliate, taunt and disparage one another. Cyberbullying is intended to tease, embarrass, deprecate & defame a targeted minor with the assailant’s developmental needs for peer acceptance and recognition being a priori. Dissimilar to physical bullying, cyberbullying does not involve face-to-face contact and primarily occurs online using electronic devices as the tools for information dissemination.
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.
Cyberbullying Tactics, Methods & General Cyber Abuse Behaviors
Cyberbullying tactics are Information and Communications Technology (ICT) methods used to harm, tease and disparage children by other children. Cyberbullying is one typology included in the concept of iPredator, which is a theoretical construct developed by this writer, New York State licensed psychologist and certified forensic consultant, Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. As Information and Communications Technology (ICT) becomes widespread; cyberbullying prevention, education and protection are areas requiring immediate attention. The Information Age has many benefits to humanity, but it is vital to identify and prevent the malevolent and nefarious elements that exist in cyberspace.
Bullying, or classic bullying, is a term used to define recurrent and sustained verbal and/or physical attacks by one or more children towards another child who is unable or unwilling to deescalate the engagement. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault, coercion, intimidation, humiliation and taunting. Bullying is comprised of a combination of four basic types of abuse: social, emotional, verbal and physical. Despite variants in definition, bullying always involves abuse with the use of harassment, force or coercion to affect a targeted child. Classic bullying requires face-to-face interactions within the repertoire of behaviors.
Cyberbullying is a term used to define recurrent and sustained verbal and/or physical attacks by one or more children towards another child who is unable or unwilling to deescalate the engagement using Information and Communication Technology (ICT.) Like classic bullying, cyberbullying is harmful, repeated and hostile behavior intended to deprecate a targeted child. Cyberbullying describes threatening or disparaging communications delivered through ICT. Whereas classic bullying typically involves face-to-face interactions and non-digital forms of communication, cyberbullying consists of information exchanged via ICT and may never involve face-to-face encounters.
By definition, classic & cyberbullying occurs among young people. When an adult is involved as the aggressor, it meets criteria for cyber harassment or cyberstalking, which in many states is a criminal act. Although the terms “bullying” and “cyberbullying” includes adult intimidation behavior in contemporary culture, these describe pediatric behaviors and will not include adult applications in this manuscript.
Like classic bullying, cyberbullying is harmful, repeated and hostile behavior intended to taunt, deprecate & defame a targeted child initiated and sustained by another child or group of children.
Cyberbullying describes harmful, threatening or disparaging information against a target child delivered through Information and Communications Technology (ICT.) As Information and Communications Technology (ICT) becomes widespread; cyberbullying prevention, education and protection are areas requiring immediate attention. The typologies of iPredator include cyberbullying, cyber harassment, cyberstalking, cybercrime, online sexual predation and cyber terrorism. Within this construct, cyber harassment and internet trolling is the adult form of cyberbullying and used when the perpetrator and victim are adults.
The term, iPredator, is a global construct designed to include any child, adult, business entity or organized group who uses ICT to harm, abuse, steal from, assault or defame other ICT users. Also included in this construct are people who use ICT to benefit from the victimization and harm of others, but are not the principal perpetrators. Prime examples of this iPredator subset are criminals who engage in the sale and profit of child pornography using ICT. As ICT advances and humanity becomes more dependent upon information technology, it is inevitable the typologies of iPredator will expand as well. This writer’s 2013 formal definition of iPredator, Cyberstealth and related constructs are as follows:
iPredator: 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, tampers 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.
Cyberbullying Impact Factors
Cyberstealth is a concept formulated along with iPredator and is a term used to define a method and/or strategy by which iPredators use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) , if they so choose, to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they troll and stalk a target. Cyberstealth is a methodology entrenched in Information Age Deception or also called cyber deception. Given the Internet inherently affords everyone anonymity, Cyberstealth used by iPredators range from negligible to highly complex and multi-faceted. The rationale for using “stealth” in the suffix of this term, serves to remind ICT users the primary intent fueling iPredators. This intent is to hide their identity by designing false online profiles, identities, covert tactics and methods to ensure their identities remain concealed reducing their probability of identification, apprehension and punishment.
Unlike classic deception used by traditional criminals and deviants, online deception completely relies on the anonymity and “veil of invisibility” available to all ICT users. The primary difference between Information Age deception and Cyberstealth are the activities iPredators and ICT users engage in. In this writer’s construct, Cyberstealth is reserved for iPredators who actively plan a strategy that have criminal, deviant and harmful implications to targeted victims. Information Age deception includes all forms of Cyberstealth, but also includes deceptive practices that do not have elements of crime, defiance or harm against others.
“Cyberstealth relies upon Information Age deception and the hidden dark side of cyberspace.” Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. (2013)
Cyberstealth is a covert method by which iPredators are able 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. When profiling or conducting an investigation of an iPredator, their level of Cyberstealth complexity, digital footprint, victim preferences, ICT skills and behavioral patterns are used to identify who they are.
“In nature, wild animals stalk and measure their prey using stealth and tactical strategies increasing their probability of success while decreasing potential for injury. iPredators also use stealth, Cyberstealth, to stalk online users increasing the probability of achieving their aims, while decreasing their potential of identification and punishment.” Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D., (2012)
IPREDATOR VICTIM INTUITION (IVI)
A fourth criterion, not included in the triad defining an iPredator, is what this writer has termed iPredator Victim Intuition (IVI) and reserved for seasoned iPredators. IVI is the aptitude to sense a target’s online vulnerabilities, weaknesses and technological limitations increasing their success with minimal ramifications. iPredators, through practice and learning, develop a sense and/or skill of being able to experience an intuition to know what ICT user will be a successful target.
An iPredator’s IVI acumen is based on practice, trial and error, understanding of human behavior and knowledge of internet safety dynamics and ICT. Just as a locksmith has expertise at unlocking locks, an iPredator has expertise choosing a target they have concluded will not cause them to be identified, apprehended or punished. An iPredator’s IVI falls upon a continuum of dexterity whereby some iPredators are advanced in their IVI skills and other iPredators are novices. Whether the iPredator is advanced or novice in their IVI acumen, the fact that they engage in developing an IVI makes them a potentially dangerous ICT user.
OFFLINE DISTRESS DICTATES ONLINE RESPONSE
In addition to information shared while in cyberspace, advanced ICT and online safety skills also include awareness of how offline behavior and lifestyle can modify online behavior. Far too many adults and parents of children fail to be cognizant that offline circumstances and psychological stressors dictate and govern online behaviors. In this writer’s entire file of research and hours of investigation engaged in the formulation of the construct of iPredator, the one theme emphasized throughout his entire philosophical framework is as follows:
Offline Distress Dictates Online Response or ODDOR postulates that both a child and adult’s response to their offline environment is directly correlated to how they behave online. When home, school, work, finances or other offline factors are causing significant distress, research has proven online users of all ages are more apt to be less vigilant in their Internet safety tactics and more likely to engage in high risk online behaviors. Under the concept of D4 (distracted, distressed, discouraged or dysfunctional,) online users that have been highly stressed offline are profiles the iPredator seeks to target. Depending on the advanced IVI (iPredator Victim Intuition) of the iPredator, an online users ODDOR can be quickly recognized by an iPredator.
D4: Distracted, Distressed, Discouraged or Dysfunctional
Internet Addiction and Internet Use Disorder are synonymous terms describing the compulsive dependency people experience using Information and Communications Technology. Humanity is thriving at the beginning of the period called the Information Age whereby digital devices and electronic communication channels are a priori. Internet addiction, information technology, cyberspace and virtuality are new terms introduced to the English lexicon. Just as any new human experience, the Information Age and the growing dependency upon Information and Communications Technology is a proverbial “double edged sword”.
Contemporary Information Age society has now been introduced to Internet Addiction. In 2013, Internet Addiction and its psychopathology is a new mental illness for a new societal paradigm. In Mid-May 2013, this writer spent 3 days conducting research on Internet Use Disorder and the cornucopia of terms found were numerous.
INTERNET ABUSE & INTERNET DEPENDENCE DEFINITIONS
Internet Abuse: Internet Abuse (aka Internet Addiction & Internet Use Gaming Disorder) is an umbrella concept defining a child or adult’s compulsive and progressive abuse of the internet and electronic devices designed to obtain, exchange or disseminate information. Although the internet is the predominate arena in which Internet Abuse takes place, electronic devices and communications channels not internet enabled are also included in the definition. Internet Abuse causes dysfunctional cognitive, affective, behavioral & perceptual intrapersonal consequences accompanied with employment, academic, familial, peer & intimate partner interpersonal consequences.
On a continuum of severity, ranging from absent to mild, cessation of Internet and/or electronic device usage causes withdrawal symptomology, psychological and/or physiological, combined with perceptual tolerance. Also on a continuum of severity, Internet Abusive online users engage in criminal, deviant and/or deceptive online activities ranging from absent to severe.
The chronic and more debilitating condition, Internet Dependence, is more chronic, severe and self-destructive. Internet Abuse is segmented into six typologies as follows: Cyber Sex Fixated, Cyber Relationship Fixated, Internet Gaming & Online Commerce Fixated, Information Implosion Fixated, Dark Side Fixated and NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) Fixated. The NOS Fixated typology applies to internet abusing online users who share more than one typology, has a co-existing mental illness or medical condition causing psychiatric dysfunction.
Internet Dependence: Internet Dependence (aka Internet Addiction & Internet Use Gaming Disorder) is an umbrella concept defining a child or adult’s compulsive and progressive dependency upon the internet and electronic devices designed to obtain, exchange or disseminate information. Although the internet is the predominate arena in which Internet Dependence takes place, electronic devices and communications channels not internet enabled are also included in the definition. Internet Dependence causes dysfunctional cognitive, affective, behavioral & perceptual intrapersonal consequences accompanied with employment, academic, familial, peer & intimate partner interpersonal consequences.
On a continuum of severity, ranging from mild to severe, cessation of Internet and/or electronic device usage causes withdrawal symptomology, psychological and/or physiological, combined with perceptual tolerance. Also on a continuum of severity, Internet Dependent online users engage in criminal, deviant and/or deceptive online activities ranging from mild to severe.
The mild and less debilitating condition, Internet Abuse, is not as chronic, severe or self- destructive. Internet Dependence is segmented into six typologies as follows: Cyber Sex Fixated, Cyber Relationship Fixated, Internet Gaming & Online Commerce Fixated, Information Implosion Fixated, Dark Side Fixated and NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) Fixated. The NOS Fixated typology applies to internet dependent online users who share more than one typology, has a co-existing mental illness or medical condition causing psychiatric dysfunction.
Educators, parents and the community at large must treat cyberbullying as a societal toxic phenomenon. To thwart this growing epidemic, it is paramount the adult community becomes educated on the tactics cyberbullies use to taunt and victimize other vulnerable children.
Given the variety of methodologies cyberbullies use, provided below are the most commonly used cyberbullying tactics that were used in 2013 and likely to exist throughout 2014. Although most of the terms used to describe cyberbullying tactics are considered general knowledge by those who specialize in cyberbullying prevention & non-proprietary, they are many other terms that describe the same type of behavior. The most important goal is to understand the theme of each tactic in relationship to the tactics & methods children use to harm & disparage other children. Furthermore, many of the tactics listed are also used by adults engaged in cyber harassment, cyberstalking and cybercrime. A short description of each tactic is as follows: