A groundbreaking exploration of how cyberspace is changing the way we think, feel, and behave
Mary Aiken is the world’s leading expert in forensic cyberpsychology—a discipline that combines psychology, criminology, and technology to investigate the intersection where technology and human behavior meet. In this, her first book, Aiken has created a starting point for all future conversations about how the Internet is shaping development and behavior, societal norms and values, children, safety, security, and our perception of the world. Cyberspace is an environment full of surveillance, but who is looking out for us? The Cyber Effect offers a fascinating and chilling look at a future we can still do something about.
Drawing on her own research and extensive experience with law enforcement, Mary Aiken covers a wide range of subjects from the impact of screens on the developing child to the explosion of teen sexting, and the acceleration of compulsive and addictive behaviors online (gaming, shopping, pornography). She examines the escalation of cyberchondria (anxiety produced by self-diagnosing online), cyberstalking, and organized cybercrime in the Deep Web. Aiken provides surprising statistics and incredible-but-true case studies of hidden trends that are shaping our culture and raising troubling questions about where the digital revolution is taking us.
The Cyber Effect will upend your assumptions about your online life and forever change the way you think about the technology you, your friends, and family use. Readers will gain a new understanding of the rapid change taking shape around us and come away with critical tools to become part of this very necessary conversation.
Advance praise for The Cyber Effect
“Just as Rachel Carson launched the modern environmental movement with her Silent Spring, Mary Aiken delivers a deeply disturbing, utterly penetrating, and urgently timed investigation into the perils of the largest unregulated social experiment of our time.”—Bob Woodward
“Mary Aiken takes us on a fascinating, thought-provoking, and at times scary journey down the rabbit hole to witness how the Internet is changing the human psyche. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the temptations and tragedies of cyberspace.”—John R. Suler, PhD, author of The Psychology of Cyberspace
“Drawing on a fascinating and mind-boggling range of research and knowledge, Mary Aiken has written a great, important book that terrifies then consoles by pointing a way forward so that our experience online might not outstrip our common sense. A must-read for this moment in time.”—Steven D. Levitt, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Freakonomics
“Figuring out how to guide kids in a hyperconnected world is one of the biggest challenges for today’s parents. Mary Aiken clearly and calmly separates reality from myth. She clearly lays out the issues we really need to be concerned about and calmly instructs us on how to keep our kids safe and healthy in their digital lives.”—Peggy Orenstein, author of the New York Times bestseller Girls & Sex
“Having worked with law enforcement groups from INTERPOL and Europol as well as the U.S. government, Aiken knows firsthand how today’s digital tools can be exploited by criminals lurking in the Internet’s Dark Net.”—Newsweek