Virtual Communication By: Mallory Leggett & Lynnsey Zimmerman Virtual Communication • Known as Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) • “CMC is the use of networked computer systems to communicate by transferring, storing, and retrieving information” (Yilmaz, 2011, p. 115) – Synchronous mode – Asynchronous mode Positives & Negatives • As with almost anything, there are positives and negatives to CMC • Positives – Relationship Development/Maintenance – Online Dating • Negatives – Cyberstalking – Cyberbullying – Sexting POSITIVES Relationship Development/Maintenance • Use of Facebook (Craig & Wright, 2012) – Perceived similarity, social attraction, self-disclosure, partner interdependence, and predictability • Xbox Live (Ledbetter & Kuznekoff, 2012) – XBL relational maintenance behavior, offline communication frequency, and relational closeness Relationship Development/Maintenance • Cross-Cultural Virtual Teams (Olaniran, 2004) – Develop new team culture, ongoing interaction, expectations of future interaction and sensitivity to other cultures • Student/Teacher Relationships (Sherblom, 2010) – As supportive CMC relationships grow, students feel more comfortable, become more honest, and engage in more personal self disclosure Online Dating • In 1980s and 1990s, adults seeking third-party assistance, crafted personal ads to put in the local newspaper. • Today: – 16 million adults in the U.S. have gone to a dating website seeking for a romantic partner – 7 million adults have gone on a date with someone through the dating website. • 3% of committed relationships originated in online dating services • Another 3% begin in online chat rooms (Nationwide survey in 2006) – Do you think this is an accurate percentage? Higher or lower now? Online Dating Virtues to Online dating: – Able to meet people from outside one’s geographical location and day-to-day life – Be able to meet your ideal partner (large sea out there) – Those who are too shy, may be more confident in CMC settings – Scientific matching sites (e.g., eHarmony)– pare people based on compatibility – The CMC may allow people to get to know each other on deeper levels of compatibility before meeting faceto-face Sprecher, 2011 Online Dating • Virtues continued – The service is always available – Finding others who are similar, even specialized, interests – Obtain great deal of information about another person before meeting or considering dating – Can anybody think of any other positives to meeting your partner online? Sprecher, 2011 Online Dating Match.com Online Dating • Although we focus on the positive side of online dating there also is a dark side. – What are some of the negatives or downfalls to online dating? – Do you think it is more dangerous for men or women? – Do people misrepresent themselves? Online Dating • Negatives: – Some show concern about their safety – Concerned about having personal info on Internet • Could lead to victimization – Misrepresentation • Are any misrepresentations acceptable? – Some show concern for how meaningful the relationship will be • Do you think that an online relationship can be just as successful as a traditional relationship? MATCH.COM GONE WRONG NEGATIVES Cyberstalking • Would anybody consider themselves a cyberstalker? – Facebook Stalker? • Has anybody ever had any experience with any type of stalking? Cyberstalking • Definition – “Cyber Stalking is very similar to traditional stalking in that an individual enters a person’s life and threatens and intimidates the person. Cyberstalking is done using electronic means such as chat rooms, e-mail, blogs, and other forms of verbal online abuse.” (Andersen & Greenbaum, 2010) – Do you agree? Facebook Stalking • Facebook Stalking is defined as: – “a covert method of investigation using facebook.com. It’s good for discovering a wealth of information about people you don’t actually know” (Urban Dictionary, 2009) – “allows the stalker to secretly gather information about the person they are interested in.” • Less likely to have an illegal component to it because if the person didn’t want others to know about their life, they wouldn’t post it all over the Internet. Online Harassment • Online harassment can take many forms, but cyberstalking shares important characteristics with offline stalking – Online or off, motivated by a desire to control the victim – Majority of cyberstalkers are men and the victims are women – In many cases, the cyberstalker and the victim have had a prior relationship • Stalking begins when the relationship has ended – Cyberstalkers can easily locate private information about a potential victim • Google • Pay for information Is cyberstalking less dangerous? • Since cyberstalking does not involve physical contact, it is misperceived as being less dangerous than physical stalking. FALSE! – Internet becomes a more integral part of out lives every single day. • Stalkers take this ease and anonymity of the Internet to their advantage • Making the fear more obvious and prosecution more unlikely Cyberstalking less dangerous Cont. • Internet provides new avenues to pursue their victims • Just the push of a button – Cyberstalking make be just the beginning to more serious behavior including physical violence. • Examples: – Sending manipulative, threatening, or harrassing emails – Hacking into a victim’s settings and passwords – Creating false online accounts, impersonating the victim – Posting the victims personal information on online discussion groups etc. – Signing the victim up for numerous online mailing lists and services Charged with cyberstalking Cyberstalking Study • Author of “It’s Complicated: Romantic breakups and their aftermath on Facebook” concluded that: – 88% of the respondents have stalked their exes through Facebook – 70% admitted in using a mutual friends profile or logging in as that mutual friend to see if their ex is sleeping around – 74% stalked their exes new partner (or even rumored partner) – 64% said they re-read or analyzed old messages from their ex – 52% said they were jealous of a picture their ex posted – 50% deleted pictures of their ex on their profile – 48% remain friends with their ex – 33% have posted a song lyric or quote about their ex – 31% post pictures to make their ex jealous Lucas, 2012 FACEBOOK CYBERSTALKING Cyberbullying • “using Internet or mobile phones to harass, insult, or discredit other people online” (Fawzi & Goodwin, 2011, p. 2) • “willful and repeated harm inflicted towards another. What makes cyber bullying distinct is the use of electronic communication technology as the means through which to threaten, harass, embarrass, or socially exclude” (Mishna, Saini, & Solomon, 2009, p. 1222) • “Evidence of cyberbullying manifests through unconventional methodologies (e.g., text messaging, social Web sites), and as a result, can deteriorate an individual’s sense of self, and hinders relationships with his or her peers” (Wong-Lo & Bullock, 2011, p. 64) • “Cyber bullying involves the use of ICT [information and communication technologies] to intimidate, harass, victimize, or bully an individual or a group of individuals” (Bhat, 2008, p. 54) Cyberbullying • Uniquely dangerous because of the farreaching capabilities of Internet communications • It is unclear whether there has actually been a measurable increase in the amount of bullying in our society, or if the advents of new technology just make it more visible or traceable • Role of online records 924 102 170 200 338 1,409 150 The Case of Megan Meier (2006) • First federal cyberbullying case to be brought to trial under the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act • Lori Drew (mom) creates fake MySpace profile of Josh Evans to flirt with Megan • “Josh” tells Megan the world would be better off without her causing Megan to hang herself ABCFamily’s CYBERBULLY Cyberbully Legislature • CFAA • As of July, 2010, five states have adopted legislation against cyberbullying specifically, and thirty have adopted legislation prohibiting electronic harassment • The Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act • Student Internet Safety Act • AWARE Act • SAFE Internet Act Sexting • “refers to sending, receiving or forwarding sexually suggestive messages or nude photos via the mobile phone” (Wei, 2011, p. 3) • Three types (Wei, 2011, p. 2) – Consensual sexting between two people in a romantic relationship – Mass circulated sexting – Sexting posted on the Web The story of 13-year-old HOPE WITSELL Lifetime’s SEXTING IN SUBURBIA Questions? References • • • • • • • • Anderson, W., & Greenbaum, D. (2010). Cyberstalking (cyber bullying): Proof and punishment. Insights to a Changing World Journal. 18-28 Bhat, C. (2008). Cyber bullying: Overview and strategies for school counsellors, guidance officers, and all school personnel. Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 18, 53-66. Craig, E., & Wright, K. B. (2012). Computer-mediated relational development and maintenance on Facebook. Communication Research Reports, 29, 119-129. Cupach, W.R. & Spitzberg, B.H. (2011). The darkside of close relationships II. Routledge. New York, NY. 119-136. Fawzi, N. & Goodwin, B. (2011). Witnesses of the offense: What influences the behavior of bystanders of cyberbullying?. (2011). Conference Papers -- International Communication Association, 1-34. Houser, M. L., Fleuriet, C., & Estrada, D. (2012). The cyber factor: An analysis of relational maintenance through the use of computer-mediated communication. Communication Research Reports, 29, 34-43. Ledbetter, A. M., & Kuznekoff, J. H. (2012). More than a game: Friendship relational maintenance and attitudes toward Xbox LIVE communication. Communication Research, 39, 269-290. Meredith, J. P. (2010). Combating cyberbullying: Emphasizing education over criminalization. Federal Communications Law Journal, 63, 311-340. References • • • • • • • Mishna, F., Saini, M., & Solomon, S. (n.d). Ongoing and online: Children and youth's perceptions of cyber bullying. Children and Youth Services Review, 31, 1222-1228. Olaniran, B. (2004). Computer-mediated communication in cross-cultural virtual teams. International & Intercultural Communication Annual, 27, 142-166. Are you being stalked? (2012). Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: Empowering. Sherblom, J. C. (2010). The computer-mediated communication (CMC) classroom: a challenge of medium, presence, interaction, identity, and relationship. Communication Education, 59, 497-523. Wei, R., (2011). Third-person effects, gender, and sexting: Effects of media channels on perceived influences of sexting among adolescents" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, Boston, MA Online <PDF>. 2012-06-18 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p489191_index.html Wong-Lo, M. M. (2011). Digital Aggression: Cyberworld meets school bullies. Preventing School Failure, 55(2), 64. Yilmaz, Y. (2011). Task effects on focus on form in synchronous computer-mediated communication. Modern Language Journal, 95, 115-132.