Prevention Of Students’ Victim Behavior On The Internet
Social media definitely open up unlimited opportunities for a person – they serve, as an information transmitter, facilitate the creation of communities of interest, the unification of people of different ages, religions and professions, ensure fascinating pastime. The indisputable advantage of social media sites is the opportunity to connect with friends, colleagues, relatives living abroad, in other countries and cities. It is a common practice to use social media to search for a future partner. Social networks undeniably act as a means of communication for people and perform a number of positive functions. Visiting Internet sites students create a special communication environment, learning the norms, values, settings of the Global Network. At the same time, however, communication in the Internet can negatively influence a young person and lead to the interaction with deviant individuals, such as hackers, bullies, cyber-terrorists, frauds. It is teenagers and young people who can become victims of criminals. The article deals with the essence, types and characteristics of victim behavior in the Internet. Victim behavior is considered as a deviation from the norms of safe behavior in the Internet, which is realized in social, mental and moral manifestations of young people. The paper analyses methods and forms of students’ victim behavior in the Internet that were reflected in the preventive project “We and the Internet space!”
Keywords: Adaptationvictim behaviorInternet addictionstudentsprevention
There is a term commonly known in the modern science as "loneliness in the crowd", or feeling lonely in a crowd, a large collective or group. This term is quite applicable to a regular Internet user. On January 26, 2017 the Russian branch of the research group GfK (Gesellschaft fur Konsumforschung) published a report "Trends in the development of the Internet audience in Russia". The total number of sample participants of the Russian national public opinion poll
Social networks definitely open up unlimited opportunities for a person – they serve as an information carrier, facilitate the creation of communities of interest, the unification of people of different ages, religions and professions, guarantee fascinating pastime. The indisputable advantage of social networks is the opportunity to find one’s friends, colleagues, relatives living abroad, in other countries and cities. It is a common practice to register in social networks to find a future partner. It should be noted that for people with disabilities social networks are often the only opportunity to get acquainted with new people and to communicate with them "heart-to-heart", not being afraid that they will be rejected or misunderstood. Social networks undeniably act as a means of communication for people and perform a number of positive functions.
The favorable impact of the Internet on a student’s personality is obvious. The Internet provides an instant access to diverse information, library resources, websites of various universities, the possibility to increase the circle of communication, enrich social experience and meet various social needs (communication, finding interest groups or on-line communities). Still, there is a number of scientists pointing out its negative effect, such as Orzack (1998), Griffiths (2000), Davis (2001), Babaeva, Voiskunsky, and Smyslova (2000), Belinskaya and Zhichkina (2000), Zhichkina (2001), Kandell (1998), Young (1998, 2000). Theoretical analysis of the problem revealed the following negative forms of the Internet impact on an individual: cyber addiction and provoking students to victim behavior, which are caused by cyber-terror (trolling), cyber-fraud, watching gambling and porn sites with graphic violence, illegal collection of personal data and their distribution in the public domain. The worst possible criminal impact is incitement to suicide. Currently, information and psychological security of a person is at jeopardy due to the presence of youth depressive subcultures with suicidal tendencies, sects and extremist-oriented groups, which form depressive states in young people, feelings of fatigue from life, boredom, uselessness by means of selecting appropriate pictures, music and quotes. All mentioned above form suicidal thoughts at an unconscious level. The Russian segment of the Internet in 2016 was struck by a deadly novelty - suicidal games spread in social networks, mostly in the popular among teenagers and young people network "VKontakte". The most typical were "Whales swim up", "Wake me up at 4.20", "A blue whale". Closed user groups conducted open propaganda of suicides (Sheremetyev, 2017). And this is not the only crime provoking students to become a victim (a victim personality) of criminal websites. To prevent suicidal ideas Rospotrebnadzor in 2016 blocked 9,357 pages and websites promoting suicides (In Contact with Death, 2016).
The problem of Internet addiction was studied by the following scientists: Palfrey and Gasser (2012), Greenfield (1999), Young (1998, 2000), Fedorenko (2010), Toncheva (2012), Babaeva, Voiskunsky, and Smyslova (2000). Internet addiction as a set of different behavioral dependencies was analyzed by such scientists as: Egorov (2005, 2007); the relationship of social identity and Internet users’ behavior was studied by Belinskaya and Zhichkina (2000), Zhichkina (2001); clinical aspects of Internet addiction can be found in the studies of Loskutova (2007), Kaplan (2002); the influence of the virtual space of the Internet on the life values of modern youth were studied by Patrikeeva, Solovyova and Selezneva (2015).
Fedorenko (2010), analyzing the external negative factors of the Internet impact on an individual, noted that the group of external factors includes: 1) absorption of surrogate information (horror, pornography, commercial advertising, other information of questionable quality), leading to "inflation" of intellectual-cognitive activity and formation of fragmentary, unsystematic knowledge and beliefs and erroneous, inadequate models of the world; 2) "artificial" communication, which gradually displaces communication with close people and friends for the benefit of virtual relationships, resulting in distorted social values and attitudes formation, loss of respect for traditions and authorities (the authority of the motherland, parents, power, law is depreciated); 3) virtualization of the living space of Internet users, recognition of the virtual reality priority over the reality of everyday social life; 4) preoccupation with virtual violence, brutal video games; 5) dangers for mental health: addictive syndrome (Internet addiction), the destruction of social connections and social activity. Young, for instance, identifies five main types of Internet addiction: 1) computer addiction: obsessional addiction to computer-related activities (e.g. games, programming); 2) net compulsions (compulsive navigation in the net): compulsive search for information in remote databases; 3) information overload: pathological attachment to Internet-mediated gambling, online auctions or electronic purchases; 4) cyber-sexual addiction: addiction to "cybersex", that is, on visiting pornographic Internet sites, discussing sexual topics in chats or closed adult content groups; 5) cyber-relational addiction: addiction to communication in social networks, forums, chats, group games and teleconferences, which can eventually lead to the replacement of real family members and friends for virtual ones (Young, 1998, 2000). Similarly, Drepa (2009a, 2009b) reveals 4 types of cyber-addition: 1) obsessive web surfing (information overload) - endless travels on the World Wide Web, information search; 2) addiction to virtual communication and virtual acquaintances - large volumes of correspondence, constant participation in chats, web forums, excess number of acquaintances and friends in the net; 3) game addiction – excessive use of computer games; 4) compulsive financial need – gambling in the net, purchasing in online stores or permanent participation in Internet auctions.
It should be noted that there is no such kind of addiction as a compulsion for virtual communication in deviant groups on different sites. There is a case of provocation, where the bullies involve trustful and naive people in adventurous, immoral, unrestrained and impulsive actions, namely, induce them to victim behavior.
Thus, we can state that Internet has a considerable negative impact on adolescents, which eventually can lead to victimity of a person.
The problem of potential victims of criminals was studied in in the aspect of
Victimity in the Internet is a dynamic formation and has different levels: latent, realized and formed. In the opinion of Frank (1977), “victimity is a potential or actual likelihood of a person, individually or collectively, to become a victim of a socially dangerous manifestation. Realized victimity is personal "propensity", or rather, probability to become a victim of a crime at some pressure and under certain circumstances. In the course of this study, we investigate the realized victimity, where we revealed the essence, factors and causes of victim behavior of students in the Internet. Having studied the concepts of various authors, such as Zagvyazinsky and Selivanova (2012), Malkin-Pykh (2009), Frank (1977), we can define victim behavior as careless, impulsive, provocative behavior of a person. Rivman (2002) believes that victimity of all members of the society is contingent upon existence of crime and differentiates between "normal", "medium" and "potential" victimity. In his opinion, any individual is a potential victim, since in a certain life situation he/she has a proclivity to become a victim of crime, which means a person does not acquire victimity, but simply cannot avoid it; the likelihood of victimity largely depends on the occurence of a specific situation. As for Andronnikova (2004), she breaks down victimity into 3 levels: "
It is crucial to consider the psychological characteristics of young age. Smolyan (2003) points out the following ones as the factors of victimity inherent in a person: immaturity of an individual, expressed in the inability to self-consciously choose information that is relevant to one's interests, beliefs and plans; attitude toward conformism, imitation, readiness to perceive manipulative information impact; state of the society, contributing to increased suggestibility, mass infection with ideas. Students are at a greater risk of victimity due to their age characteristics and new mental formations of their age. The main prerequisite for the development of Internet addiction among students, according to Drepa (2009a, 2009b), is the incomplete resolution of the crisis of meeting with adulthood, which manifests itself in the development of the identity crisis with the emergence of a conflict between self-identity of the individual and the proposed social roles and is replaced by a crisis of intimacy with psychological isolation formation; the Internet environment becomes attractive for resolving the mentioned crisis thanks to the possibility of constructing the desired reality in it.
Adolescence is a sensitive age for the formation of self-esteem and self-assertion of an individual. Besides, a young person has to solve the tasks of separation, formation of ego identity, establishment of relationships with peers, development of new social roles, which is all accompanied by communicative difficulties that are especially acute: shyness, impulsiveness and uncompromising stand. The lack of control over the activities of students in the Internet together with the appeal of the cyberspace "virtual world" become the reasons for the formation of cyber-addiction and victimity of students. The researcher Holmes (2011) claims that we state the pathological use of the Internet as soon as it starts to interfere with the rest of one’s life. Any addiction is characterized by an obsessive desire to continue some action, despite the harm caused by it. In his study Holmes (2011) found out that "pathological" users spent an average of 8, 5 hours a week, people with a limited set of signs of pathological use – an average of 3.2 hours per week and, finally, people who had no signs mentioned spent 2.4 hours a week.
It is obvious that effective measures to prevent the victim behavior of students in the Internet are required. The team of Russian authors Drozdikova-Zaripova, Valeeva, Shakurova (2012) highlighted that Young (1998) was the first to create a virtual clinic for the treatment of Internet addiction, where the addicts were consulted online. From the experience of preventive measures abroad it is also known that in China, for instance, adolescents are officially banned to visit Internet cafes, and the implementation of this legislation is periodically checked by the police. In 2007, the Chinese government recommended game manufacturers to build in special systems to stop the game lasting more than three hours (the longer the game, the more abilities and skills a game character loses). But the most prominent government initiative in China was the establishment of recreation camps.
Among effective measures to prevent extremism and the negative influence of Internet sites, Gadzhieva (2010) highlights the following: the creation of places in universities for talented youth; the development of a long-term program in the field of youth policy on the prevention of victim behavior of students; the use of family links to influence young people who have become victims of crimes on the Internet. As for the measures to protect adolescents and prevent victim behavior, Starikov (2008), Sinelnikov and Sereda (2002) emphasize updating forms of educational work with students at University faculties; the organization of virtual discussion sites of "web conferences" on the topic of youth problems, placed on the bases of regional government portals and on popular Internet resources most popular among young people.
Considering the importance of preventive measures, a special treatment program was developed in Russia focused on the main problems Internet addicts face. Significance of this problem is defined by the Federal Law No. 436 – FZ "On protecting children from information inflicting Harm to their health and development" dated December 29, 2010, which refers to the media security of children and defines the information security as a state of security, where there is no risk associated with causing harm to health and (or) physical, mental, spiritual and moral development
Having deep understanding of the problem of victim behaviour of students the authors of the article have come up with the following research questions:
How effective is the developed program to prevent students’ victim behavior in the Internet?
Do diagnostic tools work to prevent students’ victim behavior in the Internet?
Purpose of the Study
Although there have been plenty of studies on victim, little attention has been paid to the problem of students’ victim behavior prevention, where a system of preventive measures would be developed in a broad and extensive manner. We support the view that ‘in the West the problem of computer addiction was identified long ago, in 1995, and acquired special acuity by the beginning of the XXI century’ (Medvedeva & Shishova, 2009). It was added added that ‘in 2000 serious empirical materials appeared in respectable scientific journals; however, there is a lack of Russian empirical studies showing the impact of the computer on the physical and personal development of adolescents and young people, whereas there are many more publicist speeches’ (Medvedeva & Shishova, 2009).
The authors of the present research were primarily interested in determining the factors that affect specific manifestations of risk and the forms of victim behavior in the Internet, as well as developing effective interference to prevent unconstrained use of the Internet and wanted to study the negative impact of Internet sites on the psyche of young people, the deviations in their behavior and personal development connected with excessive enthusiasm for communication in the Internet.
1) timely psycho-pedagogical diagnostics (i.e. conclusion about the manifestations of the personality traits of a student, which are to be influenced in the course of psychological and pedagogical activity) to identify the level of victim behavior, the level of Internet addiction (cyber-information addiction), factors and causes of such behavior among students;
2) testing of preventive programs, including effective methods and forms of prevention, such as: general education of teachers and students about safe and meaningful use of the Internet, training, case studies, role-playing, "psycho-pedagogical cinema hall", organization of meetings with lawyers and doctors;
3) introduction in the educational process of higher education institutions of such disciplines and optional courses, which analyze the nature, factors, causes, measures for preventing cyber addiction, students’ victim behavior, and organization of effective educational work to involve students in active leisure and sports activities.
In the course of the study the following methods were used:
Realisation of the first pedagogical condition for the prevention of students’ victim behavior in the Internet.
Schubert's “Readiness for Risk” technique (RSK) aimed to reveal an assessment of one’s courage, willingness to take risks (Ilyin, 2012);
the questionnaire to detect the level of cyber-communication addiction (Toncheva, 2012), consisting of 20 questions, compiled on the basis of signs of cyber-communication addiction.
the technique "Propensity for victimized behavior" (Andronnikova, 2004) to determine the level of potential and realized victimity as a personality trait of a person. The technique of studying the propensity for victim behavior was designed to diagnose certain aspects of adolescents’ behavior associated with the implementation of internal potential victimity and to determine the leading type of personality’s victim activity.
Our diagnosis contains conclusions about the causes that led to victim behavior of students in the Internet including: anonymity and the inability to verify the reliability of information; personality features and peculiarities of a student (excessive trustfulness, indiscretion, increased temper and irritability, aggressiveness; a tendency to adventurous, insolent, unrestrained and impulsive actions); insufficient preparedness of the individual for the negative influences of Internet sites, etc.
Realisation of the second pedagogical condition for the prevention of students’ victim behavior in the Internet;
There are primary and secondary measures for the prevention of victim behavior of students in the Internet, which means a combination of various activities preventing the development of cyber addiction and formation of psycho-physiological disturbances and social deviations through the actualization of personal and behavioral coping strategies (coping strategies are the most rational ways to solve a complex individual life tasks). According to Maryina (2011), prevention of cyber addiction of young people is possible through the creation of psychological and pedagogical conditions to strengthen the legal responsibility of youth and informing them about the consequences of Internet addiction for the personal health and health of representatives of their social environment, as well as conducting preventive measures to strengthen moral and mental health. The authors of the study support Drepa (2009a, 2009b) and consider the prevention of victim behavior of students in the Internet as a complex process of developing the psychological characteristics of the personality, ensuring its resistance to addictive behavior with the formation of habits of healthy lifestyles to prevent the development and progression of cyber-addiction.
From this perspective the authors developed a complex preventive project "We and the Internet space!" The purpose of the project was to develop meaningful behavior of students in the Internet and resistance against negative impacts in the Internet. Objectives of the project were as follows:
informing students about the mechanisms of the influence of the Internet on a personality, the causes, clinical manifestations, diagnostic methods and the consequences of cyber-addiction, as well as on the methods of illegal distribution of banned information on the Internet;
development of meaningful behavior strategies for students to use the Internet and resistance to negative criminal influences;
formation of intra-personal motives and a system of values corresponding to a healthy lifestyle and the expansion of activities (leisure, sports, club) alternative to addictive behavior.
The project was implemented at the Institute of Psychology and Education of Kazan Federal University (KFU) throughout one year and was organized with students once a week (90-120 minutes). Various specialists were invited: sociologists, psychotherapists, physicians, psychologists and educators. The project had 3 directions (components):
Cognitive component. Students received knowledge about the mechanisms of the negative impact of the Internet on the individual; the methods of diagnosis and the consequences of cyber addiction; the causes of victimity and methods of preventing victim behavior in the Internet
Psychological component aimed at changing the psychological characteristics of the students’ victim personality, creating a favorable confidential climate in the team and forming their psychological and social adaptation. The main goal of this component was psychological and pedagogical support of students; help in overcoming feelings of anxiety, depressive manifestations; the formation of self-confidence, adequate self-esteem, stress-resistance, focus on success in achieving one’s objectives.
Activity-based component aimed at developing strategies for students for the meaningful use of the Internet; development of resistance to negative influences of social networks and criminal sites;
As part of the project, the following methods and forms of work with students were used: trainings, seminars, lectures, discussions, master classes with the participation of specialists of various levels, psychological instruction, relaxation classes, competitions (creating video-clips and social advertising, writing essays), individual psychological counseling.
Realisation of the third pedagogical condition for the prevention of students’ victim behavior in the Internet.
The implementation of the third condition was marked by the adjustment of the curricula and introduction to the educational process of elective disciplines, such as: "Fundamentals of preventive pedagogy", "Prevention of drug addiction and suicide", "Socio-pedagogical victimology"; development of study guides on the given disciplines, revision of the topics of lectures and practical assignments, including a whole block of classes on the prevention of victim behavior of students. The authors of the article developed and tested electronic educational resources for students: "Socio-pedagogical work with a deviant teenager" and "Fundamentals of Preventive Pedagogy", posted on Tulpar, the site of distance learning of Kazan Federal University. In the classroom, students prepared messages, videos, analyzed articles of scientists on the problem of victim and Internet - addictive behavior, performed exercises, tests, creative assignments. Credits and examinations were held in an unconventional form: participation in a round table meeting, Brain - Ring game, writing an original textbook on deviantology. Besides, the Master program on "Socio-pedagogical victimology" was developed. These innovations allowed the development of significant social and professional competencies in the formation of knowledge, skills and qualities of a student's personality and new experience in preventing deviant behavior in general and victim behavior in the Internet, in particular.
On the initiative of the pro-rector of KFU, the institute of curators was made to strengthen work on students’ deviant behavior prevention. The Institute of Psychology and Education implemented several projects in this direction. "We are for a healthy lifestyle!", "We and the children!", Janusz Korczak's volunteer movement "The Sun for Children", the annual All-Russian and International Pedagogical contests "Psychological and pedagogical support of children at risk", International Student Forums under the guidance of Professor Valeeva.
There were included various activities into the plan of educational work of the institute, which involved more than 72% of the students. Moreover, there was organized the adaptation seminar on the territory of the instructional camp "Zarechye" in the Republic of Tatarstan, which involved not only students at risk. The shift lasted 4 days. As far as the camp is located in the forest area, there was no Internet, which allowed more communication, participation in various trainings, leisure and sports events. There were organized the lectures "Positive and negative influences of the Internet", "Internet: Myths and Reality", the competition for the best social advertising, etc.
The study was conducted by a group of teachers of Kazan Federal University (KFU) and involved 127 students of the Institute of Psychology and Education of KFU (aged 18-21).
The authors identified the following components of victim and cyber-addictive student behavior:
"Readiness for risk" – medium and high risk appetite and courage;
"The presence of victimity" – average and high levels of potential and realized victimity as a personality trait;
"The presence of cyber-communication addiction" – the average and high tendency of cyber-communication addiction (social networks influence the student's life and cause problems in life).
At the ascertaining stage of the experiment using Schubert's “Readiness for Risk” technique (RSK) it was revealed that 19.6% (25 people) of students are not ready to take risks, being too cautious and prudent; 50.3% (64 people) have average indicators; while 29, 9% (38 people) are prone to unjustified risk, which manifests itself in the meaningless use of the Internet. These students have high readiness for risk, which is accompanied by low motivation to avoid failures.
The results of the questionnaire conducted to test of the level of cyber-communication addiction (developed by Toncheva, 2012) are the following: a low level of cyber-communication addiction is found in 37 students (29.1%), the average level is revealed in 65 students (51.1%), which indicates that social networks can have an impact on an individual, and are the cause of some problems. A high level of cyber-communication addiction was detected in 25 people (19.6%), which indicates that social networks have a significant and serious impact on the personality and cause significant difficulties in life. The results showed that 12 people (9.4%) are online for more than 2 hours a day, 93 people (73.2%) – very often, 22 people (17.3%) – less than 2 hours a day. More than 60% of students experience an irresistible desire to use the social network often and suffer in case the network does not work. However, a small percentage of 14.9 respondents tried to reduce the time spent in the social network.
The results of the technique "Addiction to victim behavior" (developed by Andronnikova, 2004) implemented in the course of the research are as follows. Here are the performance indicators for individual scales. On the scale of "Propensity for aggressive and victim behavior" there are high indicators in 14.9% of respondents, which indicates that these students tend to get into unpleasant and dangerous for their life and health situations as a result of the aggression they showed in the form of attack or other provocative behavior. Also, these students may be prone to antisocial behavior, violation of social norms, rules and ethical values. They easily respond to emotions, especially negative ones, they express them vividly; they are dominant, impatient, quick-tempered. 33.07 % showed an average level. On the scale "Addiction to uncritical behavior" there are high rates in 8.6% of students, which means that students can show carelessness, imprudence, inability to correctly assess life situations. Such people tend to idealize people, justify the negative behavior of others, do not notice any danger possible.
Sufficiently high rates on the scale "Realized Victimity" (7th scale) were observed in 13.3% of students, which means that respondents often get into unpleasant or even dangerous situations for their health and life. The reason for this is internal proneness and readiness of an individual to act in certain ways. In most cases it is the desire for a rash action of a spontaneous nature.
The pilot research allowed us to select students "at risk" out of 127 young men and women, who experienced intensified preventive work.
After the implementation of the pedagogical conditions, namely the measures aimed to prevent students’ victim behavior in the Internet, the authors conducted an additional diagnosis on the basis of the above mentioned techniques and obtained the results showed in the diagrams.
As we can see from Figure
As we see from Figure
The results of the technique "Propensity for victim behavior" after the formative activities changed as well. The 7th scale "Realized Victimity" was of special importance to the authors - the indicator decreased from 13.3% to 6.2%. This suggests that, respondents became more serious and thoughtful in analyzing the information found on Internet sites, less impulsive and trustful to the provocative actions of the bullies.
After conducting the forming experiment on Student's t-criterion, we obtained the following data:
- the differences between the mean values of the levels according to the Schubert Risk Preparedness (RSK) method in the experimental group before and after the experiment are reliable, since temp> tcr (temp = 2,1) at the level of significance p ≤ 0,01, p ≤ 0 , 05;
- the differences between the average values of the level of cyber-communication addiction in the experimental group before and after the experiment are reliable, since temp> tcr (temp = 4.3) at the level of significance p ≤ 0.01, p ≤ 0.05;
- the differences between the mean values of the levels according to Schubert's "Readiness for Risk" (RSK) technique in the experimental group before and after the experiment are reliable, as temp> tcr (temp = 6.2) at the level of significance p ≤ 0.01, p ≤ 0.05.
From the research it is possible to conclude the following:
The current study shows the complexity of the problem of the Internet influence on the personal characteristics of its users, which is associated with new opportunities and at the same time with the negative influences of network communication.
Cyber-addiction is a form of addictive behavior associated with the use of the Internet, which can lead to victimity of a person.
Realization of pedagogical conditions, in particular, the introduction of the project on the prevention of victim behavior in the Internet in the educational space of the University allowed to form and expand knowledge about information risks and develop skills to resist them and to form students' information literacy and adequacy when working in the Internet space.
The work is performed according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.
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