The Social Psychology of Cyberspace: Self and Community in the Age of the Internet

PSY 380.K

Miami University
Spring Semester, 2000

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Individual Projects

Guidelines for 2000

William Baird
Taking It One "Frag" at a Time : Exploring the Growing Trend of On-line Multiplayer Gaming Addiction
Carlee Clark
Computers, the Internet, and Rural Primary Education: The Positives and Negatives of the Introducing Technology
Gina Cristofani
Face-to-Face vs. Interface
Brandon Debes
The Deterioration of Inter-personal Communication
Lee Desseker
Learning to Compute for the Business World
Brandon Doner
Kosta Giannoulias
"No More Brick ‘n’ Mortar"
Jonathan Kahn
The effects of increased technological speed on the individual
David Linich
Online Gambling:
Will the Dice Stop Rolling?
Jonathan Masica
On-line Ahead of Schedule: Adolescence in the Computer Age
Richard Olsen
Computers, the Internet and Education: A New Method of Teaching
Rylan Peters
Women and the Internet
Alicia Phipps
Online Communities: How the World Wide Web Fosters the Development of Special Interest Groups
Joshua Roessler
And Now For Something Completely Different … Maybe
Adam Schaaf
Universities and Napster--a bandwidth issue or something else?
Jonathan Schilling
Generation XXX
Matt Vorell
Beware of Hackers: Government and Industry's Response to Recent On-Line Attacks
Individual Projects From 1998 and from 1999







William Baird

Taking It One "Frag" at a Time : Exploring the Growing Trend of On-line Multiplayer Gaming Addiction

This is a rather personal topic, since I am a recovering (and often relapsing) multiplayer game addict. I will attempt to dissect the current phenomenon which has grown exponentially with the introduction of faster Internet technologies. I will explore the motivations behind gaming and the social consequences of slaughtering the digital "avatars" of fellow human beings. I will not only review the current state of the art, including Quake 3, Half-life, Everquest, and others, but I will also attempt to explore the processes behind addiction to such games as cribbage and hearts which can be found on many different sites today.

This will be accomplished using a variety of methods, including interviewing (via the Internet of active players) and review of any relevant written materials from a variety of sources. I will also discuss the recent sales of on-line characters on Ebay, many of which fetched tens of thousands of dollars. What would make someone spend that much money simply to gain a powerful digital persona?

Included will be crossroads into the scapegoating of "deathmatch" games, which have been blamed for everything from rising drop-out rates, to the tragedy in Columbine. Why are most intensely popular games so violent? Is it a result of their target demographic, young teenage males, or is the urge to best opponents, whether in a digital arena or in real-life, a universal characteristic of mankind. What percentage of players are female, and does this lead credence to any arguments regarding their violent nature. What are the psychological rewards of defeating a virtual opponent, whether with a rocket launcher, or a royal flush? I will examine what motivates players and the basis behind multiplayer addiction, if the addiction even exists, which I believe that it does.

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Carlee Clark

Computers, the Internet, and Rural Primary Education: The Positives and Negatives of the Introducing Technology

The computer and Internet as an educational tool is a relatively new idea and practice, and one which I would like to explore further. I grew up in a very small town in one of the more rural areas of West Virginia. Computers were scarce and the Internet and World Wide Web not yet global. When I was in elementary school I can only remember using computers for two things: playing educational games in second grade and then playing Oregon Trail during my Talented And Gifted (TAG) classes. The times have changed and though the are I live in is still very rural, children in elementary schools have more access to computers and the Internet. Children now use them for more than just educational games, and I feel that this access to computers and the Internet has made the rest of the world accessible to children living in rural areas, making a profound impact on their educational experiences.

For my individual project I want to investigate how rural primary education has changed since the computer has become more accessible and the Internet was introduced. I intend to do extensive research on past and more recent literature on this subject, but I also intend to pursue my own data. My mother has taught fifth grade in an elementary school that draws students from an extremely rural and underprivileged area since I was in fifth grade, and she has witnessed the introduction of technology into her classroom. I plan to interview my mother and her colleagues about the differences in educational opportunities and the changes in the attitudes and motivations of their students since they began working on the computer and using the Internet. After introducing the topic and discussing what I learned from my mother and her fellow teachers, I will then critique and explore the benefits and disadvantages of computer and Internet use for primary education in underpriviledged rural areas.

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Gina Cristofani

Face-to-Face vs. Interface

A recent survey done by Stanford University yielded some interesting, and perhaps
overlooked, results regarding the effects of the Internet. "A Newer, Lonlier Crowd
Emerges in Internet Study" cried the headline from yesterday's New York Times.
The study showed first of all that internet usage has skyrocketed with the average
user spending hours a week online - no big surprise to anyone. More intriguing,
however, was the implications of these new percentages on the way people to
people relations function. People are spending significantly less time with family and
friends, going out into areas such as shopping malls, and having any sort of
intellectual discourse on a face to face basis. More people are doing work at home
with no decline in work at the office, a fact I am sure pleases businesses but cannot
have positive connotations. A woman called my place of business complaining that
our website was down because she "didn't want to have to talk to an actual
person." I understand the internet has its convenience and quickness, but is it so
painful to interact with a fellow human being for five minutes? The Stanford study
along with others from Carnegie-Mellon University reveal increased levels of
lonliness, depression and social awkwardness accompany the advance of web
usage. Sometimes, online chat forums etc are cited as an excellent way for people
to express themselves in ways they are too shy to portray in real life. I am sure this
is true to a point, but what is the benefit in producing a society that can't function if
removed from the front of a monitor? It is easy to frightfully proclaim extremes, but
there is research out there that provides disconcerting information. The N-Gen
Learning article from Iapscott's Growing Up Digital states that there is no way
people are going to want to get together in person and discuss issues of any merit
(whatever they be). All subtlety and nuances of interpersonal communication seem
to suffer by the wayside.

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Brandon Debes

The Deterioration of Inter-personal Communication: An examination of the social implications of instant messaging.

(Also see web version)

What I essentially hope to accomplish with this study is to define the current state of IRC_type (internet relay chat) instant messaging as well as examine the possible outcomes of increased usage of this type of communication. As a case study, I wish to look at the Miami student community in particular. I plan to address the possible varying degrees of use or reliance on such means of communication and explore the effects that each of these could have on the psychological well_being of the user. Also, I'd like to look at the possible motivations for choosing this method of communicating as well as whether these are good or bad reasons for doing so.

By the current state of the medium, I mean the types of programs that are available which make use of this technology. Also, I will explore what types of functions these programs allow for (more than just sending text back and forth now). There are also issues regarding the implementations of this technology that exist today, such as online communities and things of that nature.

For example, there are extreme cases which can be observed where a person (specifically a student in my focus) chooses to communicate almost exclusively through this medium, drifting further and further from face_to_face contact and conversation. I have observed people messaging with students who live down the hall rather than calling them on the telephone or simply walking down the hall to interact. Not all users, however, use the medium to these lengths. Many use it in the healthy ways for which it was designed. There are convenience aspects that can be very positive if they are not exploited.

There are many questions I want to address as far as the psychological aspect of this technology. What is this communcation medium doing to our abilities to interact in real life social situations? Is this behavior healthy? What kind of restrictions or legislation should be impose upon this medium if any? Should we let our children get involved with this?

Among the many possible reasons for student usage of this technology is the fact that communication through this medium is not exclusive of other activities. Students are, in effect, using this form of communication to "multi-task." There are others to be explored and analyzed.

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Lee Desseker

Learning to Compute for the Business World

The topic I chose to do my individual term project on deals
with the idea that the ability to find your way around a
computer is not an asset, but a must in order to perform in
the business world. Technology is changing rapidly and
today's labor force needs to keep up with these changes.
Technology is on the rise and is used extensively in almost
all areas of the business world. The result of this
resurgence of computing means that all persons aspiring to
enter the business world must be somewhat computer savvy.

With this project I will try to discover how much computer
"know how" is really needed to be qualified for the business
arena. As we discussed in class with campus computing, it is
almost necessary to use a computer to get through college. I
feel the business world is the same way, only that it is
definately impossible to be successful without some help from
technology. Interviewers look at your credentials of course,
but still need to know if you can find your way around a PC.
Presentations, reports, and even memos are done through the
computer and without these skills you may find it difficult to
acquire a job.

In order to find out the true importance of technology to the
business world, I plan to do extensive research as well as
talk to adults already in the businees world. Hopefully, they
will have some insight on the importance of coming out of
college with a degree and also computer skills. They can also
expain how essential the technology is to this business world
and if there are any repercussions to the dependency we may
have on computers.

As for myself, I am not what you would call computer savvy.
Yet, I would like to pursue a carrer in the business world and
I am working on improving my computer skills. Through this
project I hope to gain some personal knowledge on the
importance of computers in my near future and how necessary
they will be to function in the world of business.

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Brandon Doner


The internet and cyberspace is a phenomena that has taken
society and culture by storm, seemingly coming from nowhere
and exploding into the mainstream at an astonishing rate.
Over the last ten to twenty years, technologies that enable
the most inept person the ability to reach seemingly limitless
amounts of information at the touch of a finger. The ease of
this technology for consumer use is one of its biggest assets
as well as one of its drawbacks. The question being, sure
it’s great to be able to get all of this stuff, but is it good
to be able to get any kind of stuff?
Another thing that has to be considered is that the
Internet is not only incredibly easy to use as an information
locator, but its startlingly easy use as a money-making system
for amateur entrepreneurs. All one needs s is the right
programs and knowledge of the proper codes and they have their
own site. Such sites can be used for trade, business, shopping
malls, virtually any type of business venture. Some sites
charge membership fees to those wishing to view or use the
material within while others provide free services, but are
paid to advertise for others.
Such businesses are becoming more mainstream and the
public is beginning to take notice. Banks are becoming more
willing to provide loans for such ventures, and larger, more
established companies are paying more attention.
This project will investigate the emergence of such
amateur online entrepreneurs and how they are able to turn a
simple idea into large profit with little to no outside
training. Also examined will be the growth of pornography,
which is one of the top money-making businesses on in
cyberspace, and the negative impacts it can have for other
online business ventures.

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Kosta Giannoulias

"No More Brick ‘n’ Mortar"

Until recently, the entire investing population had been investing with traditional Brick and Mortar organizations like Merrill Lynch, A.G. Edwards, Fidelity, etc. For 80 years everyone has stuck with these solid companies. Strong and reliable brand names remained in loyal investor’s eyes for years. Then everything changed.

The first discount broker came into the picture in 1972; a company by the name of Charles Schwab. The discount brokerage industry was non-existent compared to the larger, more dominant firms. All of sudden, in approximately 1989, when the Internet came into play, Internet discount brokerages emerged like a storm. Companies like E*Trade, Ameritrade, and DLJdirect rose up through the use of a locationless and timeless trading site. They began with a bang and have not stopped since. In the past five years customer accounts on the Internet have grown to over 1.5 million. (there are about 60 million investors overall) By the year 2002, Robertson Stevens, an analyst company predicted that online accounts with surge to a whopping 20 million.

Everyday we hear something new on the Internet whether it is a new service or good. The online brokerages have stormed into the timeless and locationless Internet and have made an unbelievable mark on the way we invest. With a password and as little as $500 (Source: Ameritrade Holdings Corporation), any individual can now engage into the stock market. How much further can the Internet Online Brokerage industry expand? For right now it seems limitless.

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Jonathan Kahn

The Effects of Increased Technological Speed on the Individual

We are fortunate enough to be alive in the early stages of a huge technological
explosion. Along with the massage search for information comes the quest to
increase in the speed at which this information is exchanged. This new cyber society
is an impatient one to say the least, with everyone scrambling for the newest, fastest
Internet connection. My purpose in this project is to explore the future of the
Internet, specifically what type of effect this new fast paced world will have on the
life of the individual. It will be an exploration into what the future holds for a human
being that will live his life enveloped in a sea of constantly changing technology.
There are, of course, many commercials boasting a company's role in creating the
new luxuries we will all soon enjoy. One such luxury cited in an advertisement is
ones ability to attend a meeting on the beach via Internet video conferencing.
However, will the individual actually be obtaining more leisure time, or will he
become a slave to technology, attached to the Internet like a fetus to its mother,
completely dependent on its existence 24 hours a day? How much time can better
technology actually save us, and more importantly what use will be made of this
time? Why is the human race obsessed in a quest for the fastest everything? To find
the answers to such questions I plan to explore the web sites of companies
specializing in Internet technology, as well as research predictions and expectations
of experts in this field of study.

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David Linich

Gambling has become an enormous and thriving industry on the web not just for the websites offering gambling, but for casino software companies, credit card companies and many more. Yet with this growth comes uncertainty about the future of gambling online.

I will explore many areas of Online Gambling and its impact on people, our economy and our legal system. More specifically, I would like to examine certain cases that have appeared before the courts that involve online gambling and credit card debt, and analyze any trends or implications of the decisions. (Cynthia Haines Case—She was awarded $225,000 from gambling software company after she racked up over $150,000 in credit card debt)

I will examine the issue from the perspective of the credit card companies. How much money are they making from this industry? Is there a definite and reliable future for them online? Will companies like Providian Financial block its cardholders from gambling online? Are they legally liable like in the case of Cynthia Haines?

What about State Lotteries that are accessible via the web? Are they considered illegal in the same way online casinos are? Why or why not?

Also, I would like to discuss recent actions by congress to block online gambling and argue for and against the legality of this practice. Are the actions of the online casinos illegal, and does congress need to intervene? What is the outlook for this industry? If the U.S. Government blocks domestic companies from offering gambling services, will people simply access foreign websites for gambling?

Important for this discussion will be a brief overview of gambling addiction as a disease.

There is a tremendous amount of very recent information about online gambling on the net. I will also check out periodicals and internet-related magazines for recent news and developments.

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Jonathan Masica

On-line Ahead of Schedule: Adolescence in the Computer Age

Regardless of the debate over whether modern computer technology has revolutionized society as of right now, there can be no doubt that subsequent generations will be profoundly effected by the infiltration of computer and on-line technology into their lives. The teenagers and children who do not qualify for membership in the overanalyzed Generation X have experienced computers in a way no other generation previously has: They have grown up with them, learned how to use what can be considered contemporary technology from their earliest years, and are altogether more in-sync with computing and digital technology than all but the most dedicated adults.

What does this mean for the developmental patterns of childhood and adolescence? As New York Times Magazine editor Camille Sweeney observed from her experiences in on-line chat rooms with teenagers, life has appeared to accelerate in this digitally connected world.

"[Just] like everything else in this cyberworld, kids are moving through their teen-age years at a lightning pace. The songs of teen-age life remain the same, but they're being remixed, played at a faster speed and a much higher volume."

The traditional adolescent search for identity has followed technology right into the twenty first century. Not only can children and teenagers explore themselves, they can now explore the world at the touch of a button, connect with millions of other searchers like themselves in on-line communities. Instantaneous response to typical teenage problems has altered the way in which adolescents view society and their peers, as well as how they interact with their world.

Of course, society has not arrived at a point where on-line interaction has replaced face to face contact, or a friendly phone call. But there is no question that today's children conceptualize on-line interactions differently than we do, and will continue to exploit technology in ways unimagined by older generations.

The questions of good or bad aside, what does this have in store for future generations? Will on-line interaction radically alter adolescents' conceptions of self? Does computer utilization from an early age promote or hinder developmental learning, and how?

My questions are somewhat vague at this point, but I expect to tighten the focus a bit after further research. This is an expansive topic, and I must decide how to limit it. Childhood? Adolescence? Identity? Social interaction? I have lots of options, and I will seek your advice on these as I explore them further.

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Richard Olsen

Computers, the Internet and Education: A New Method of Teaching

There is no denying the impact that computers and the Internet have had on society over the past decade or so. Computers have seemingly come from no where to dominate our society today. Computers and the Internet can be seen everywhere from the multitude of commercials during this year’s Super Bowl to more and more classrooms across America. The explosion of the computer industry and the Internet has given a tremendous tool for everyone to use. The information and the capabilities are just out there waiting for people to access them. This really brings about an interesting question that America is currently facing: what role should the computer play in the education of our children? What role can it play, and how can this be truly utilized?

The role of the computer and the Internet in today’s (and tomorrow’s) school poses quite an intriguing topic. By looking at the way in which the computer has been brought about in the educational process over the years, one might be able to see how it has been better utilized (or underutilized) as the technology has advanced. Through the examples of current and future teachers, one might be able to see how the computer is might be utilized in the future. I would like to talk with teachers who have been teaching for a while, to see what their stance on the computer issue is: what experiences they have had, what they have done to meet the needs of a technology they may not have been familiar with, etc. I would also like to talk with current education students in order to see how they are being prepared, to see what kinds (if any) differences there are in their preparedness to utilize the computer in their classroom. Basically, I want to look at the history of the computer in the classroom, see how computers are being utilized in the classroom of today and how teachers are dealing with that, along with looking at how the teachers of the future are

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Rylan Peters

Women and the Internet

The United States today seems to be moving towards a more gender equal society. However, the cyberworld is lagging behind and continues to be ruled by males. This is quite an interesting duality and one which I plan to explore in my individual project. Exploring why women "don’t write code" and use the Internet as frequent as men will definitely be an interesting study. I have been in a few computer programming classes at Miami and personally noticed the small amount of females in these courses. In a computational physics that I was enrolled in last year, there were two females in the 25 person class. This was the first time I thought about the "gender difference" issue in relationship to computers. I have since wondered why there are not more women that are interested in computers and the Internet. This project will definitely be an opportunity to investigate reasons why women are not more involved in computing.

There are also many social effects due to the gender inequality in computing. For example, a large majority of primary educators in America are female. If computer technology is to be implemented into primary education, there is obviously a major hurdle to be overcome in the educational system. Due to the fact that a minority of females are "interested" or "proficient" with computer technology, one can see many future social issues arising from this inequality. I plan to inquire why women do not use computer technology as much as men. There are many factors that can affect why women are not using computers. Hopefully, this project will investigate and isolate these factors.

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Alicia Phipps

Online Communities: How the World Wide Web Fosters the Development of Special Interest Groups

For the individual project, I would like to focus on the communities that can be found on the World Wide Web. The communities that I will be discussing are those in which the members have a similar special interest of some kind, whether it is a community of parents, an online fan club, or a group of writers. These communities can exist in such venues as newsgroups, chat rooms, or on message boards. I’m fascinated at how efficiently the World Wide Web is able to bring people with similar interests together from all over the world. I would like to research this phenomenon to learn more about several different aspects of it. Currently, some of the different areas that I had in mind to analyze include: the initial forming of communities, why people seek out these groups, the effects that membership in these communities has on people, and the interactions among members of groups.

For the first category I mentioned, the initial forming of communities, I would like to consider taking a look at what motivates people to develop the communities. I will also see if I can find out what kinds of communities gather the most support and become the most popular.

In the second category, why people seek out these groups, I will look at the basic characteristics of members of online communities, attempting to note any kind of pattern or major characteristics of online community members.

The third category, the effects that membership in communities has on people, will focus on any changes that may occur in members after becoming a part of the group, particularly looking to see if there are changes in offline behavior patterns.

The fourth category is the interactions among these group members and the relationships that they build. This is probably the most interesting of the four topics to me personally. I would like to possibly look at a couple sample communities in order to see if I can get a general idea of how interactions take place and what kinds of bonds are being created among members.

This whole new way in which the World Wide Web is helping the creation of communities is very interesting, and overall, these are the basic ideas that I have in mind to include on my individual project.

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Joshua Roessler

And Now For Something Completely Different … Maybe

In the early part of the century through the early sixties, the movie industry was controlled basically top-down, from the studios. Then powerful new directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorcese ruled the mid to late sixties and seventies. Agents rose with the eighties, scoring big bucks for the talent they represented and nixing or delaying more than a few movies. This lasted until the mid nineties, and supposedly we are now in the midst of an actor-run industry. All of which really does not matter a whole lot unless this subjective view of the movie industry can be transferred to include most of entertainment and how the product is formed. The prevailing trend seems to be outward and downward; it begs a question: Who is next? Internet proponents want people to believe that it could be you. That’s right, you. And, for better or worse, it is getting harder to argue with them.

The technology to make and publish creative endeavors is becoming more and more prevalent as prices go down and ease of use increases. Now John Q. Computerhead out there can record his own short film—written, directed by and starring him—on a digital camera, transfer it to a file on his computer and publish it on any of several web sites dedicated to amateur projects, or just put it on his own page. Needless to say, it is also possible to publish various other kinds of personal art, including but not limited to music (free publicity for your band!), fiction (and your writing!), drawings and paintings (exclamation!). Theoretically, the avenues opened up by this could change the face of entertainment as we know it. Unique voices that might never have had a chance to be heard can shout aloud and do it without going through the usual channels. Right now web entertainment serves merely as a minor enjoyment for surfers and as a way for artists to get noticed by the people who are in power, but in the future who can say. Maybe ten years from now Mr. Computerhead will only allow the visitors to his site to download his movies if they give him a valid credit card number, agree not to distribute it and allow him to charge five dollars a flick. Already there is talk—mostly just talk—about Hollywood and television eventually converting totally to this, a pay-per-view medium all accomplished through point and click. Ramifications of this are very disturbing.

Even more disturbing is that the same technology that lets people publish their own stuff online can be used for the transfer of illegal material, and this is something being done right now. MP3 is only the tip of an enormous iceberg consisting of millions of gigabytes of computer applications, video game emulators and ROMs, and movies—some of which have not even been released yet. While disbursement of these is not quite as prevalent (e.g. mainstream) yet as MP3s, the way things are moving it will not before everyone learns they can download the latest software and films for free. With so many violating the laws of society, something has to give. Either the laws will change or the companies in charge of creating the material being stolen will alter their own approach. The entire distribution structure could give way. Whatever happens, the next few years are going to quite interesting.

All of this boils down to a shift in power. Things are going to change, and it will affect the way we live from top to bottom. The companies will have to decide to either change the way they do business to fit a changing society or somehow strengthen regulations guarding their products. Entertainers must find a way to adjust to mediums in a constant state of flux. And the rest of us get to deal with it all and try to make sense of everything. What does it say about a society that can get everything for free? How will that alter the way we view entertainment? And of course: Who is next?

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Adam Schaaf

Universities and Napster--a bandwidth issue or something else?

Napster has spread across College campuses like wildfire. The program which allows users to share MP3s over the world wide web has been banned by many universities including Stanford and Miami University. The specific reason cited by Miami University for removing Napster from its servers has to do with bandwidth or the speed of transmission of data across the Miami network. There are some possible "behind the scene issues" for Miami to ban the program.

The specific manner of how Miami banned Napster is curious__no academics, librarians, or students were consulted on the issue. For Miami, the decision was made by MCIS or the computing division. Any time censorship takes place by a divison of a University that has nothing to do with educating, some serious questions must be asked.

In my project I would like to chronicle the rapid evolution of Napster,detail some of the reasons cited by Universites for banning the program,summarize the legal and bandwidth issues, and use Miami as a case study for how not to go about an internet issue.

As a Napster user myself, I find this topic very interesting. I believe the topic to be very timely and relevant to the course as it has to do with censoring internet traffic by univerities.

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Jonathan Schilling

Generation XXX

It has become apparent to me—through radio, television, cinema,
and advertisement—that our generation lacks the humility that once
occupied our collective values on what is appropriate for mass
communication and/or media. By screaming for our 1st amendment rights
of press, speech, and religion, our judicial system has had no choice but to
allow for the progression—turn—landslide popularity of using sexually
explicit images in advertising and allowing them to be shown in movies and
television programs “rated” as low as PG 13. Now that the Internet is
becoming the new way to communicate in the US, one is even more likely
to encounter risqué material with its overflowing availability and virtually
unlimited information potential. Alongside this trend, the accessibility of
pornographic material has increased and has been made easier for minors
to view and download images, sounds and video.

The focus of this investigation is to critically examine pornography’s place
on the World Wide Web, and to dig up some ideas about whether or not
individuals or groups of individual’s believe it is abusing our 1st amendment
rights exhibiting pornographic displays. I would also like to incorporate
arguments supporting pornography and maybe discover some intrinsic value
I am just not seeing. Overall, this project will embark on a quest to search
for some basic ideas and common threads surrounding the abuse and use
of the freedoms of speech on the Internet. By drawing comparisons to
issues such as music censorship and movie/television rating arguments,
perhaps a more clear definition of freedom of speech can be derived in
application to the Internet.

In my personal opinion, which will hopefully stand aside this project, I
believe that “porn” is too accessible for minors; however, I do not think
that our 1st amendment rights should be hampered over the Internet.
Thinking about the World Wide Web, our freedom of speech is really only
secondary to the laws of human nature that serve to govern the majority
of material on the Internet. While I do not agree with the censorship of
music either, I believe that by allowing people to have a choice of
purchasing specific media (much like purchasing compact discs or the
playboy channel) is the best way to allow for capitalism to censor or lessen
the effects of extremely explicit cases. Still the fact remains that I could
find a naked picture of practically anyone over the Internet in less than 5
minutes is frightening to think about. Overall, I believe that our life style
of excess has led us down this path and I believe it will have a deleterious
effect on future generations. I cannot watch MTv anymore because they
build every program on a foundation of sexual situations. Sitcoms are
really not that much different. I am not trying to be some “holier than
thou” overzealous and self-righteous person who only criticizes other
people’s actions; I am merely trying to state a situation that I have
observed over the years. I am worried that through the rise and availability
of the Internet, that it will eventually have a negative impact on younger
generations through pornographic media.

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Matt Vorell

Beware of Hackers: Government and Industry's Response to Recent On-Line Attacks

In the past Government knew how to deal with the enemy, figure out their identity, their plans, and stop them. However, a new kind of enemy has emerged due to the growth of PC and the Internet: cyber hackers. These are often young computer jockeys in their 20's who spend their time figuring out how to sneak past online security systems to crash public and private sites.

Recently, such hackers focused on bringing down online firms like Yahoo, E_Trade, and Amazon Books. Though such sites were only inactive for a few hours, the fiscal losses were substantial. Also, such problems shake the faith of visitors to such sites, who do not want to do business with a system that has crashed.

One would wonder what causes hackers to feel the need to cause havoc online. Many topics such as a need for power, identity, and deviance could be focused on in analyzing the personality of the average hacker. Perhaps if we have a greater understanding of why they do what they do, we could prevent such attacks in the future. Much like the guerillas in Colombia, these terrorists can be very difficult to track, but the US Government is not taking this recent incident lightly. The FBI launched a full_scale investigation into the wave of unprecedented cyberattacks. Industry has also responded to the attacks by installing security measures that prevent hackers from a gaining a launch pad in the first place. Some security experts feel that if hackers can't gain access to large computers they won't be able to launch such attacks in the future.

The recent attack on sites like Yahoo and Amazon Books offer an excellent case study to see the effects on business, the psychology of hackers, and how the Government and industry plan to prevent such things from happening again.

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Psy 380.K Miami University. Last revised: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 17:14:22. This document has been accessed 1 times since Feb 27, 1999. Comments & Questions to R. Sherman . Also See: Social Psychology at Miami University