6 Reflecting on your experiences
The material covered so far in this course has shown that there are a variety of different types of online victimisation. As well the direct victims of cybercrime, the awareness of the possibility of being a target may influence other internet users. This therefore can be seen as a type of secondary victimisation that may serve to alter and constrain our online behaviours. In this final activity you are going to consider what you have learned and whether this might change how you will engage online.
Activity 6 Keeping yourself safe online, or secondary victimisation?
Reflect on the following questions:
- Based on the content of this course, what steps might you take to try to reduce the likelihood of being targeted by cybercriminals and internet trolls?
- What are the implications of these measures?
- a.Do these measures contain an element of victim blaming?
- b.How do you feel about these measures?
Like you have seen in the video in Activity 1, everyone takes a different approach when it comes to engaging with the online world. Some people are heavily involved online (e.g., social media, online shopping, banking and so on) whereas others are taking a lighter approach to it (i.e. being reluctant to invest themselves more than necessary). Regardless of where you place yourself, up to now it might have been done without reflecting too much about its impact to your virtual and real lives, as well as the risks associated with it. While it cannot be said that cybercrime does not exist, it is probably erroneous to look at it as being the modern-day plague (Wall, 2008). Indeed, the risks associated with online activities are real. However, it is important to emphasise that actual cases of cybercrime are not as common as the media seems to portray its prevalence. This discrepancy could be because the problem has been exaggerated by the media instilling moral panic but could also be because cybercrime remains largely unreported and unprosecuted due to shame or lack of evidence. The best strategy to reduce cybercrime victimisation rates is to raise awareness (Williams and Levi, 2017). Therefore, reflecting upon how you personally engage online is useful since there are not ‘one size fits all’ model and what one person might find acceptable, another may not. Regardless of how much time you have spent on this activity, it is worthwhile as it is important to think about the best (and current) ways to protect yourself. The internet itself is a great source of information but it is always important to favour official guidance such as the UK government (National Cyber Security Centre). The NCSC is offering a wealth of useful advice on how to stay secure online. You can find, below, a selection of such guidance that might be relevant to you:
- Phishing attacks: dealing with suspicious emails
- Using passwords to protect your devices and data
- Shopping online securely
- Sextortion phishing scams: how to protect yourself
- A guide to recovering your hacked online accounts
- Video conferencing: using services securely
- Video chatting: a guide for protecting primary school age children
- Video chatting: a guide for protecting secondary school age children
- Smart devices: using them safely in your home
- Smart security cameras: Using them safely in your home
- Securing your devices
- Online gaming for families and individuals
- Social media: protecting what you publish
- Revenge Porn Helpline
- Information about cyberbullying and how to respond to it
- Cyberstalking support website