Tagged: research

Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online

Rainie Lee, Kiesler Sara, Kang Ruogu, Madden Mary. “Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online.” Pew Research Center. 5 Sept. 2013. Online. 12 Sept. 2013. <http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Anonymity-online.aspx>

For this annotated bibliography, I looked at the other side of the argument on why people prefer to anonymous. It mostly has to do with privacy and security over the web. The Pew Research Center, in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University, researched around 700 different users and monitored their activity online. What they found was that many people try to cover up their online footprints by deleting cookies and passwords, as well as changing things they might have posted in the past. In this case, it is not so much about feeling empowered on the internet, but feeling safer. No one wants to get their credit card information stolen because they were irresponsible with how they handled their online identity. Anonymity gives people a sense of security; it could also be the reason why some people feel brave enough to harass others. The research does not directly relate to that subject, but I can see how I could use it in my paper. A vast majority of the people who participated in the research stated that they should be able to be anonymous online. For them, it is almost like a given right to do what they want on the internet without being judged. Furthermore, young adults were found to be the most likely to use some sort of method to hide their identities. The article continues to talk about how privacy is a major issue and that many still feel like there are not enough laws put in place to protect one’s privacy on the internet. I find this fascinating, as it is still very easy to anonymously interact with others online. I want to do more research on the psychology behind being completely anonymous, as that seems to be what most people want when it comes to surfing the web.

Adolescents’ Identity Experiments on the Internet

Valkenburg, Patti M.  and Peter, Jochen. “Adolescents’ Identity Experiments on the Internet: Consequences for Social Competence and Self-Concept Unity.” Communication Research. April 2008vol. 35 no. 2 208-231. Mar 9, 2008. Online. Oct 3, 2013. <http://crx.sagepub.com/content/35/2/208.full.pdf+html>

This research was done on teenagers and how the internet affected their sense of social competence. It wasn’t so much about how anonymity affected the user’s decision making, but how the internet in general affected the minds of its users. The study found that adolescents who were more open to experimenting with their online identity were also more likely to reach out to people of other backgrounds. In other words, they were more open to talking with others and were not held back by their inhibitions. This is important in the case of my thesis because it shows how the internet affects certain individuals. The research also found that lonely adolescents experimented more with their online identity, and benefited the most from the research in terms of self-image. The internet blocks out the visual side that would normally come with carrying out a normal conversation, so it makes sense that people are also more likely to branch out and expand their social abilities. How it exactly relates to anonymity is yet to be determined. The article isn’t directly related to my topic, but it still provides interesting information that could be useful later on for proving a point on the psychology behind people taking more risks on the internet.