Project

Cyber Awareness Interventions and Training

Goal: This project explores the online exploitation of young people in the context of popular and everyday online activities. Although this effort is broadly focused, particular importance is placed on identifying strategies that can be used to curb risk and promote safe online practices.

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Project log

Boaventura DaCosta
added a research item
The misuse of the Internet that takes advantage of adolescents and young adults’ lack of understanding along with their growing online presence has left them at risk. A study comprising 1,092 South Korean high school students investigated ways in which adolescents and young adults may be exploited while engaged in popular and everyday online activities. Specifically, exposure to sexually explicit material (SEM) and violent content, cyberbullying, malware, phishing, and identity theft were examined in the contexts of social media, streaming movies and/or television, streaming and/or posting videos, downloading and/or listening to music, downloading and/or sharing files, involvement in free and/or subscription-based online gaming, reading news, emailing, surfing, and completing school assignments. The findings reveal prevalence rates consistent with the literature on young people’s technology use and online activities; moreover, exposure to SEM and cyberbullying were found to have statistically significant relationships with these activities. These are findings consistent with studies concluding that exposure to SEM and online bullying are two of the most serious issues related to young people today and, therefore, warrant continued attention to identifying strategies that can be used to curb risky online behavior. With more and more students using the Internet to access educational content and complete schoolwork, it is imperative that young people are taught how to safeguard themselves when online.
Boaventura DaCosta
added a research item
Video games offer rich interactive experiences. At the same time, their popularity coupled with their global connectivity has raised concerns about safety. Although it can be argued that video game developers and publishers have been plagued by crime since its beginnings, with early concerns centered on piracy and reverse engineering, video game companies are not the only targets. Cybercriminals also have their sights on gamers. This chapter examines cybercrime affecting the video game industry and its players. Focused on the most deliberated forms of cybercrime found in the literature within the past few years, this chapter discusses data breaches, compromised accounts and stolen data, the theft and sale of in-game items, and money laundering. The literature reveals that there is an overall lack of consensus regarding the extent to which cybercrime has impacted the video game industry and its players. Yet, the number of data breaches that have occurred in recent years are cause for alarm and help underlie the importance for game developers and publishers to actively address these new cyber threats head-on. Then there is the belief that what gamers perceive as typical gameplay for quick advancement may be problematic, illustrating the need for cybersecurity-related interventions and training intended to help gamers understand the threats, their causes, and the respective consequences. All in all, this chapter presents that online safety is a shared responsibility between the video game industry and gamer community. Game developers and publishers should take the forms of criminal activity seriously, by building better security into games, to advance not only the industry and technology, but to also protect players. Simultaneously, gamers are accountable for their actions, and have a responsibility to ensure that they are not contributing to today’s online criminal activity. While this chapter is anticipated to be of value to educators, practitioners, researchers, game developers and publishers, it should by no means be considered an all-inclusive reference, but rather a catalyst for discussion, debate, and future research.
Boaventura DaCosta
added a research item
The cyber awareness of online video game players (n = 183) was investigated by examining their online safety practices and the degree to which they were exposed to threats. With findings revealing that gamers engaged in poor online practices, despite expressing concern for their safety, this investigation supports the view that gamers are unaware of the possible consequences of their online actions, and/or continue to show resistance to cybersecurity practices perceived to hinder gameplay. While the findings should be regarded as preliminary, game developers and publishers, policymakers, and researchers may find them valuable in obtaining a clearer understanding of gamers' cyber awareness and online practices. Coupled with ongoing research, these findings may also prove valuable for the identification of strategies that may be used to curb risky online behavior.
Boaventura DaCosta
added a research item
Enthusiasm about the educational benefits offered by the World Wide Web has been tempered in recent years by apprehension regarding the prospects of mitigating associated online threats. Numerous safety measures exist, from legislation to technical controls. Though no doubt helpful, they are not substitutes for education and training. The current study (N = 1,092) aimed at identifying technologies young people have access to, the degree to which they engage in risky online behavior, and their literacy of cyber security practices. Recommendations for tailoring and refining awareness-raising training and interventions are also presented. Overall, findings are discouraging, with participants showing poor judgment with regard to safeguarding their wellbeing in the contexts of preventing malware, handling passwords, dealing with data encryption and storage, and surfing the Internet. The study is predicated on the premise that effective awareness-raising education can be implemented through a better understanding of today's youth and their online practices.
Boaventura DaCosta
added a project goal
This project explores the online exploitation of young people in the context of popular and everyday online activities. Although this effort is broadly focused, particular importance is placed on identifying strategies that can be used to curb risk and promote safe online practices.