The Cyber Effect A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online by Mary Aiken

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“There are risks that reward us and risks that ruin us.”

I found myself thinking about Cyberspace as a world unto itself. Rich with information and communication, more and more impossible to avoid we step into it as through a doorway, or a rabbit hole.  I admit, the depravity is disturbing and this book had me thinking about things I never even imagined about the internet. It is another world, it isn’t crazy to think of it as an alternate universe, because it is. The addictions, the abuse, the hackers, criminals- sometimes being in cyberspace is a disappearing act. As with all things, there is good and bad but the balance may be off here. Lack of inhibition, pushing further than you would have otherwise gone in exploration of the forbidden is shocking! As adults, we think we’re safe but the issue is, are we safe from ourselves? When Mary Aiken brings children in cyberspace into the conversation, it changes everything you thought you knew.

This isn’t a book trying to scare you out of cyberspace, because as times change we are growing far more dependent on it, even for simple things such bill paying, education, you name it. We certainly are far more connected than ever, and that isn’t all negative. Never before could we instantly communicate with loved ones so far away or travel with the tap of a finger to the far corners of the world. News can ‘inform us’ but who better to tell it then the people there, experiencing and showing the truth through our devices? We’ve broadened our horizons, we’re learning to open our eyes to the rest of the world, to people different from us. There is nothing we can’t look up or search for, no question too big to find answers too.  It’s not all predators, it’s not all sorcery and madness- but there are limits we should be setting, questions we need to be asking. There are dark things lying in wait too, some corners better left locked behind cells. We are manipulated in cyberspace just as we are in the walking day. It’s far more lawless than the solid world.  I took more horror away with the effect it is having on children. Heartbreaking is the need for attention children are going without as so many parents have their noses buried in screens. Far more horrifying is the child predators and human trafficking. This is a must read for everyone, because even if you somehow are off the grid, off the internet- the rest of us are floating in the cyber-world.

Very provocative, and I think there will be a lot of conversation about the issues brought forth. I am appalled there were so many things I hadn’t even considered, because some are obvious. Any world where monsters can roam free isn’t safe for any of us, it is a utopia for the corrupt, and as cyberspace continues to expand, we need safety measures. But how?

Random House Publishing Group- Random House
Spiegel and Grau

Publication Date: August 23 2016

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