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Finally, cyber violence may be targeted at individuals or groups, the latter being more characteristic targets of cyber violence than of offline, physical violence, due to the ease with which a single perpetrator can gather information about and make contact with large numbers of people on the Internet.This is another aspect of online violence that can cause it to have widespread effects. Research has shown that men are disproportionately the perpetrators, and women disproportionately the victims, of violence in the physical world (Cyber-stalking.net, 2002). Women were the victims in 84% of online harassment cases, and men the perpetrators in 64% of cases reported to the organization Working to Halt Online Abuse in 2000-2001 ([email protected], 2002).
One out of five adult female Internet users reported having been harassed online as of 1994 (Brail, 1994), and as many as one out of three female children reported having been harassed online in 2001 alone (Thomas, 2002).However, to ignore the larger gender pattern associated with violence is to miss a basic insight into the social reality of violence as a means of control and intimidation.That is, it tends to be perpetrated downward along a power hierarchy, thereby reinforcing societal gender asymmetries.We went out a few times and I fell in love with her.Unfortunately I did not realize that she was lying to me the whole time. Now she is in jail and I have less money than I had before.Cyber violence is less prototypical than physical violence in where and how it takes place, in allowing perpetrators to deny their intent to harm more easily (see below), and in enabling "normal" people to perpetrate widely-targeted harm, without requiring that the perpetrator be in an extreme emotional state (or risk his or her life) to carry it out.
Because cyber violence differs from our prototypical associations of violence, it may be difficult at first to recognize it for what it is, and accordingly, harder to resist and punish it.
Thus a necessary first step in fighting cyber violence is to identify and name its manifestations.
The numbering of the types is intended to suggest their distance from "prototypical" violence, with (1) being closest, and (4) most distant, from the real-world, physical prototype. The first type of cyber violence involves online misrepresentation (usually someone represents themselves as being nicer or more socially desirable than they actually are) leading to abusive off-line contact, including, but not limited to, financial fraud, theft, unwanted sexual contact, and/or beating.
Nonetheless, the case fits the definition of cyber violence in that it involves online behavior that leads to assault against the well-being of an individual.
It also features a perpetrator with criminal tendencies.
The advantages of defining and classifying cyber violence include 1) making the behaviors easier to recognize and name when they occur, 2) allowing strategies of resistance and redressive action to be articulated that are tailored to the demands of each, 3) distinguishing cyber violence from other, less serious forms of annoying online behavior, and 4) revealing underlying relationships between cyber violence and other phenomena, such as pornography, that might otherwise go undetected, but that help us to situate cyber violence within a broader perspective.