Online Interactions

Option #1

Schrock and Boyd (2011) discuss issues of problematic online interactions such as cyberbullying, solicitation and harassment.  Most of us can agree that these are bad things, but there is sometimes a tendency for people to say, “oh well, kids just need thicker skin these days.  It’s not like they are really being bullied or beaten up.”  This could not be more incorrect, because as is regularly seen in the news, cyberbullying is a huge cause of depression and even suicide among kids/teens and is still a problem with college age students.

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There was some research at ASU in 2013 about harassment sent via text messaging, and SO MANY students at ASU had examples of when this happened to them.  It is particularly harmful because it is part of a pattern of being bullied/harassed in person/at school, but unlike the old days, people now have the bullies follow them home via technology.  The only way to avoid the bullying is to not have a Facebook page and not have a cellphone, in which case, you have been socially cut off, which is a horrible way to live.  So, consider the following questions regarding legal issues:

Knowing that cyberbullying, harassment, solicitation, and deception are bad things, should there be laws to help protect people from it?  What should the laws include in terms of what is “illegal harassment or bullying” and what is “free speech”?  If the victims/perpetrators are children, then who should be held accountable – the child, the parents, the school?  Use the readings to support your claims.  In addition, you may draw from popular press stories you have heard about or use personal examples from you or someone you know.  Avoid simply retelling a popular press story.  Instead delve further into the overall issue.

Option #2

Dunbar and Jensen (2011) discuss issues regarding digital deception.  Popular opinion generally suggests that CMC is dangerous because it is so much easier for people to lie via CMC than it is for them to lie FtF.  This viewpoint assumes that people are able to detect deception FtF and are less able to do so given the lack of cues when using CMC.  This chapter presents a lot of research regarding deception, in both CMC and FtF contexts.  Focus particularly on a few factors here: 1) Motives and perceptions are HUGE when it comes to deception.  You have to purposely mislead someone either by omitting, exaggerating, or directly stating something that is false.  2) People lie a LOT FtF.  Multiple studies suggest that the average person uses some level of deception in 1 of every 3-5 interactions.  Research about offline relationships also shows that we lie the most to people who are closest to us.

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Is online deception really that big of a deal?  Are people’s fears about the dangers of online deception warranted?  In what circumstances are they warranted?  Note that we are talking about ALL CMC use, not just anonymous settings.  Therefore you should address various settings and types of CMC (not FtF) in your post.  Use the reading to support your claim and feel free to draw from personal experience also. For more information on Online Interactions check out :


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