Technology has created life simple, quick and worth living for human beings. This is due to its inclusion into many components of the daily life of humans. People today have, therefore, become more dependent on technology compared to centuries ago. It is not feasible for some to imagine how life without technology would be part of it. Technology has supplied safe, secure and quick alternatives that add to greater results for most complicated tasks that have traditionally been viewed as impossible. However, the negative elements of technology have long being ignored yet they are associated with remarkably immense negative outcomes. Three negative aspects of technology discussed here are cyber bullying, identity theft and negative health impacts resulting from cell phone use. The paper reveals that cyber bullying is one of the leading causes of suicide amongst young people given their higher access and use. The victims of cyber bullying always have an underlying problem that is used by bullies to humiliate, ridicule and hurt. Parents should be careful in identifying instances of aggression among young people. Identity theft results to impersonation, whereby a person’s information is obtained online from other website or using fraud websites and later used for offensive purposes. Identity theft results into impersonation that is not immediately identified until after some time. The paper also reveals that the use of cell phones is responsible for a significant number of cancer cases, infertility in men and other health problems in newborns.
The invention of technology was an enormous achievement for humankind in the world. In appreciation, numerous people today praise technology and technological devices used in their everyday lives. Besides its invention, technology has a fast rate of evolution. This evolution has resulted to the realization of some things that, years ago, were never thought. One such device is the cell phone. Today, cell phones have made communication remarkably easy as people who are distances apart can relay information without having to travel and engage in face-to-face communication. Technological devices have taken the world by storm such that people do not imagine the nature of life without them. In addition, life seems impossible without the internet, chat elements and emails among others. Other technological evolutions include Television, video games and movies. With these advancements, human beings have been presented with new and varying possibilities and choices. For instance, people have access to TVs with about 300 channels from all over the world thereby being exposed to beneficial information. From these examples of technological devices, it is clear that in the veins of the society, technology can be felt. In addition, technology fuels lives since it is an indispensable part of them. The nature of human life today is enough evidence that technology has introduced ultimate solution to ancient impediments of time and space. Automation, for example, has allowed human efforts and time to be preserved. In addition, automation in airplanes and trains has brought distant places closer while simplifying access to IT has introduced quickly, simple and reliable methods to do stuff for both adults and kids. Technology’s primary beneficial effects are communication, entertainment and advertising, data management and information retrieval, transport and automation in the family and business (Oak para2).
Despite making the world a smaller place to live in, technology causes distractions. While people celebrate the positive impacts of technology, the negative impacts technology has on people’s health should not be sidelined. Some of the most common negative impacts include obesity, poor academic performance, promoting laziness, violence in children exposed to video games, and general impact on family life. The use of mobile phones, internet and social media also contribute a share of negative impacts of technology on health. The main negative impacts are cyber bullying, identity theft, and other negatives arising from the use cell phones. Cell phones and social networking sites require one to be cautious as they use them. However, children are key victims of increasing cases of cyber bullying and identity theft. This does not exempt adults, as they too have to deal with cases of identity theft, addiction to cell phones and cyber bullying. The discussion in this paper focuses on exploring the negative impacts of technology. The discussion focuses on aspects of cyber bullying, identity theft, and negative impacts of cell phones on health.
Cyber bullying: Traditional bullying
Smith and his co-authors define bullying as a form of antagonistic, deliberate act or conduct that an individual or group directs at a defenseless victim over time and repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, relational resulting to social exclusion, verbal, and indirect bullying. These are the chief traditional ways of bullying. Indirect bullying involves distribution of rumors about someone that are not true. In most cases, the bully does so willingly and intends to cause harm. On the other hand, the victim of bullying is made to feel defenseless. As a result, the bullying victim is hurt emotionally or physically. The bully can use name-calling, offensive comments, hitting, mocking, taking belongings and taunting (376).
The invention of technology has altered traditional bullying over the past few years. Today, bullying is done through electronic means especially cell phones and the internet. This form of bullying is known as cyber bullying (Smith et al. 376). In cyber bullying, the bully uses contacts of electronic forms repeatedly and over time to hurt persons without self-defense. Cyber bullying through mobile phones and over the internet involve the sending of offensive images, emailing, and sending inappropriate text (O’ Brien 9). Four main attributes of cyberbullying from the definition are Aggression, intentional, repetitive and power imbalance. In face-to-face bullying, the main attributes are power imbalance, intentional and repetitive (Doobley, Pyzalski and Cross 183).
Agatston, Kowalski, and Limber argue that the use of technology is sophisticated among young people. As a result, young people easily adopt new technologies in their everyday lives. In addition, about 94 % of young people agree accessing the internet and going online from various locations. This means that young people easily go online with little or no supervision from adults. As a result, young people are exposed to high risks such as drugs, pornography, cyber bullying and violence.
Cyber Bullying and Traditional Bullying
Traditional bullying and cyber bullying have some shared characteristics, which include repetition, power imbalance and intention. Conversely, cyber bullying and traditional bullying have their differences. With cyber bullying, there are aspects of anonymity, rapidity, and inability of the victim to flee from the bully. These qualities of cyber bullying present it as a key challenge among young people in the digital age. About a third of young persons aged 11-16 have experienced online bullying (O’Brien 9-11).
In both forms of bullying, repetition plays the relevant role of eliminating any form of occasional aggression acts that are directed at other people at different times. Other forms of repeated acts considered as bullying are when an individual directs aggressive acts to numerous persons regardless of whether they are bullying victims. Repetition of aggressive behavior in bullying is also used to inculcate fear. Such fear psychologically harms the victim. However, there are some exceptions to the application of the term repetitive in cyber bullying. Such incidents involve uploading embarrassing photos of a victim online where numerous persons can view them. In this case, the act of bullying is not repeated but harm is already done (Dooley, Pyzalski and Cross 183). Vandebosch and Van Cleemput point out that a single act of online bullying resulting from numerous previous offline bullying acts is sufficiently considered as cyber bullying. Dooley, Pyzalsi and Cross (p.182) proved such considerations in their study that revealed the use of picture or image in cyber bullying as being the most severe. This was because such images or photos were exposed to a larger audience.
In order for any form of bullying to occur, power imbalance must be experienced. In this case, the perpetrator is more powerful that the victim. This imbalance of power distinguishes bullying from aggression, where involved parties have equal power. Dooley, Pyzalski and Cross reveal that there is complexity involved in the measuring of power. This is because power could be physical, psychological or social. Despite the nature of power, the victim of bullying is mentally weakened thereby damaging victim’s social and relational status. The result is that the victim is unable to flee from the bullying. The inability to escape from technology also arises from the fact that interactions are not limited to time and can transpire in daylight or night. In such a case, the bullying victim loses control over the bullying acts thereby gaining powerlessness feelings.
Compared to ancient bullying, cyber bullying is considered more anonymous (O’Brien 12). This anonymity introduces the aspect of fearless engagement in activities that are not possible offline. In this case, the bully conceals identity through false screens and inexistent identities. Apart from concealing the bully’s identity, anonymity promotes cyber bullying and is attractive. As result, cyber bullying creates an impossibility of identifying the perpetrator and permits the avoidance of responsibility by perpetrator for their actions. Avoidance of responsibility for actions results to erosion of fear in the perpetrator. As a result, the perpetrator is refrained from constraints of normative and social conduct in the real world. In addition, technology use eliminates instances of feedback, which means that users may lack awareness of the harm induced to others online. As a result, there is no acknowledgement of empathetic reaction or remorse feelings. The fact that cyber bullying is present to large audience implies that victims experience increased impact as followers conceal behind computer screens (Dueck 11).
Forms of Cyberbullying
In order to inflict harm, cyber bullies use numerous tactics. This means that parents, teachers and guardians must be aware of communication conventions in cyberspace. For instance, capitalization and punctuation rules are dropped paving way for shorthand. This is done to allow fast typing of messages and chats. Forms of cyber bullying include flaming, harassment, denigration, masquerading, social exclusion, outing and trickery. In masquerading, the perpetrator mimics the victim and sends offensive messages whose source is associated with the victim. Harassment involves repeatedly sending offensive or cruel messages intended via email, bulletin board, chat rooms and phones. In outing and trickery, the bully ensures that the target is manipulated to disclose information or provide statements that the perpetrator then publicizes to embarrass the target. In the cyberspace, social exclusion involves the use prohibition of target from joining chat rooms or friend lists. The most frightening form of cyber bullying is cyber threats and cyber stalking. In cyber stalking, a target receives messages containing future threats time after time. Conversely, cyber threats involve frequent messages sent to target and containing threats to harm self, third parties, or other. These forms of cyber bullying result emotional distress on the victim. In flaming, vulgar and explicit language is used in writing angry stimulating messages. This occurs during cyber-fights and may result to war (Bauman 3-4).
According to Bersely, cyberbullying takes up numerous forms. This means that the bully can use several means in causing harm to the victim. These forms of cyber bullying include email, text and multimedia messages from cell phones, instant messaging or IM, defamatory web logs or blogs and online personal polling sites. Willard argues that in instant messaging or IM, the sender and recipient are online simultaneously thereby sending messages back and forth synchronously. This aspect differentiates IM from email. The conversation is written in real-time through the internet. Most of the present IM programs are free and allow several participants in chats. A profile searchable by registered members is established once a person signs up for IM services. When signed in, a person develops a list of friends and the IM programs alerts them of friends online. In order for instant messages to be exchanged, involved parties must be friends. In addition, a member is subject to as many IM dialogs as possible simultaneously. A member can choose to invite others members in IM dialogs while excluding others.
IM dialogs appeal more to youths in middle school in the United States. Such youths are highly social and are technology familiar but are not free to socialize with other teenagers in other ways. Despite promoting communication, IM raises concerns on information confidentiality. This is because the IM conversations can easily be copied without sender’s consent or knowledge. This information can then be sent to unintended recipients and is known as outing. Naïve IM users may issue their passwords to strangers. This creates room for scrupulous users who impersonate and send materials that are offensive and embarrassing. This problem can be overcome by blocking some senders. However, the preference of most young people is to obtain new screen names, which promote further personal information disclosure given the presence of anonymity. Besides promoting disclosure of personal information, IM is a good way of promoting social skills for shy persons (Willard 500).
These are conversations that are written on real time basis. However, the conversation content remains public to every user present in the chat at that time. Publicity of chat rooms is overcome through the shifting to private chat. Private chat is a form of IM conversation that creates social exclusion since intended persons can be invited while all others are excluded. According to Bauman, most young people who have engaged in private chat rooms reported stronger emotional distress and stressors in the environment. In addition, risky behaviors like drug use are common for private chat users and so is exposure to sexual abuse or running away from home. This makes cyber bullying consequences on such users very harmful. In some cases, chats promote anonymity in comments posting. This promotes cruel, true, harmful or false messages from anonymous users. Such environments include Multi-user Dungeons or MUDS that compare to chat rooms. However, MUDS allow one to engage with numerous users online concurrently. Worst of all is the fact that these users do not know each other outside the MUDS environment where users use icons or avatars to represent themselves. In MUDS, users establish roles and adventure in them using text (5).
Personal Polling Sites
These sites are dedicated to voting for youths associated with defined traits by other youths. Although the intention of these sites is clear, the use of hurtful or demeaning messages against other students promotes cyber bullying (Bauman 6). Trash or personal polling sites are comparable to message boards. Here, visitors to the site post their comments regarding a given topic. For haters, topics targeting their victims are commented using insults, offensive and hurtful messages. This results to emotional and psychological distress for the victims. In these sites, visitors are at liberty to write anything they feel like about a given person. This reason makes such websites to be mediums of extremely vindictive bullying (Dueck 6).
Online diaries are referred to as blogs. However, blogs are posted online for public viewing and comments. Weblogs include video and text. Willard reveals that in the US, 38% of the teens read blogs while 19% of them own their own blogs. Through blogs, it is possible to establish bloggers’ communities through linking of blogs. Blogs allow visitors comments. These make them platforms for posting comments by bullies. In addition, blog readers can also make hurtful or cruel comments as reaction to blogs. Conversely, others could misuse blog owner’s personal information since more than half of the demographic information is real (500).
Emails, happy slapping, social networking, and Bluetooth bullying
Among adults, email messages are more common than in young people. Email messages can be offensive with the intention to harass or masquerade thereby causing harm. Internet providers have made email services free or remarkably cheap. In this case, a bully only has to set up an email address and with the victim’s email address, send them offensive or harassing messages (Dueck 6). Fake email addresses promote bully’s anonymity thereby protecting him or her from the ramifications of their actions. In London, Happy slapping was a joke during its initiation. Today, happy slapping is a strong tool for cyber bullying as people no longer slap and upload the video on a website but bully and upload bullying incidents online. In jack toothing or Bluetooth bullying, bullies sent text messages to phone users within given vicinity. In most cases, Bluetooth bullying is applied when one needs to solicit social encounters in a bar or other place. For persons that are not aware of the message source, Bluetooth bullying messages are usually a shock. Like in the case of emails and blogs, social networking sites are vulnerable to cyber bullying (Bauman 7).
Cell phone technology has worsened cyber bullying incidents. The cell phone has contributed to converging technologies used in communication. Today, cell phones are not just tools for phone calls – they contain cameras, sending text and multimedia messages, and are equipped with wireless access to internet. Cell phones are not just owned by adults but also by children especially in Europe and United States. Dueck notes that half of the population of children in Europe own cell phones while about a third of children in the United States own them. In order for communication to be effective, cell phones have to be switched on. This provides bullies with the ability to text threats, ridicules, and taunts among other hurting texts. For cell phones with cameras, this is a platform for insidious bullying communication. Bullies use such phones to take pictures of victims. They then email or upload these pictures to websites directly without the need for a computer. Numerous online users can then access these pictures. Cell phones are also used in sending short messages, which bullies use to spread hateful messages, threats of death and violence, and insults. Text messages are mostly coded through words and abbreviations, which most young people understand (25).
Gender Differences in Cyber Bullying
In the society, men have traditionally been associated with bullying compared to women. However, cyber bullying statistics reveal that women are more likely to use text messages and email in their communication than men. As result, there are fewer differences in gender when it comes to cyber bullying compared to ancient face-to-face bullying. This means that both men and women can equally reported incidents of harassing others online. Cyber bullying reports on being victims have also been revealed as equally spread among female and male individuals. Conversely, females engage in close relationships and friendships. This results into the exchange of personal secrets and other information. However, boys engage less in text messaging and e-mail sending (Dooley, Pyzalski and Cross 186). On the other hand, boys have higher tendency of making explicit sexual comments, threatening or creating websites directed towards others. As a result, boys tend to cause psychiatric conditions since they use homophobic comments and threats with violence. The equality in gender participation in cyber bullying and victimization has been contributed by increasing participation of femininity and masculinity cyber bullying strategies by both male and female students. Compared to boys, girls tend to cause more virtual abuse since the time spent online is used in chat rooms or sending emails and IM (Dueck 11).
Qualities of Cyber bullies
Both males and females are equally likely to be cyber bullies. Bullies are often individuals older than their victims are. In addition, cyber bullies relate poorly with caregivers. Cyber bullies have increased opportunities of being delinquents or users of drugs. For the victims, cyber bullies are not necessarily known. As a result, bullies in the cyber space remain concealed in anonymity thereby complicating their identification. While some abusers work individually, others work conspiring with friends. As a result, it is hard to get the real person causing the attacks. Bullies are classified into four categories namely Vengeful Angel, Power Hungry, Mean Girls, and inadvertent. Vengeful Angel does not view himself or herself as a bully. Conversely, vengeful angels view themselves as vigilantes. They believe that their involvement is in efforts to defend their friends who are bullying victims. Power hungry cyber bullies are want to gain control over others. Control is achieved through exertion of power and authority to instill fear in victims. These bullies are often previous victims of traditional bullying and are mostly driven by revenge thereby revenge of the Nerds. This results from the fact that these bullies have small physic and are targets of peers for their lack of technological skills and being unruffled. For girls, cyber bullying can occur in groups called mean girls. The girls are often perpetrators filled with boredom and looking for something for entertainment. Finally, inadvertent cyber bullies have no intentions of harm. Conversely, these bullies just react through bullying and do not consider the consequences of their actions (Feinberg and Robey 2).
Characteristics of Cyber Bullying Targets
For some young people, there is a higher susceptibility to cyber bullying compared to others. Bullies seek male and female targets that are older teens. Victims of cyber bullying are often previous targets of traditional bullying. For the victims, there are attributes of isolation, depression, anxiety, unpopular, and afraid compared to other peers. Victims of cyber bullying go online in search of attention and acceptance. This elevates their vulnerability to manipulation techniques while losing attention to the safety of internet messages. Victims often also become resilient dealing with complex situations and tend to rely less on assistance from parents. Additionally, victims of bullying include person presented as immature, socially naive, and those who demonstrate laxity in their decision-making. In addition, teens viewed to have overly protective and naive parents have higher likelihood of being cyber bullied despite having superior values and vigorous relations with peers. Youths under emotional upset owing to short-lived impaired relations with parents or peers are also at higher chances of being bullied. Finally, the risk of cyber bullying is higher for youths facing major continuing challenges especially effecting personal mental health and disruptions resulting from peers, parents or school (Feinberg and Robey 2).
Impacts of Cyber Bullying on Health
The chief effect of any form of bullying on the victim is emotional harm. Like face-to-face bullying victims, cyber bullying victims suffer from anxiety, depression, decreased academic performance, and avoiding school. These negative effects in cyber bullying are contributed by anonymity of aggressors, and inescapable and continuous victimization. Most instances of cyber bullying provide longer access durations for information posted online since it cannot be removed. As a result, young people tend to conceal truths about cyber bullying from adults due to emotional trauma and because they think that it is their fault that they suffer. In addition, young people fear retribution from adults and tend to refrain from reporting what is happening to them. In other cases, young people fear that they will be restricted from participating in online activities and therefore, prefer hiding the truth. In extreme cases, cyber bullying effects result to youth suicide and manifest violence externally (Hinduja and Patchin 207).
Hinduja and Patchin further reveal that elevated instances of youth suicide have raised concerns on public health in United States. Although suicide incidents among youths were decreasing, the trend was increasing among 10-19 year olds. Apart from successfully committing suicide, young people were contemplating ending their lives and attempted suicide. Bullying was the highest cause of suicidal ideation among young people. Suicide is associated with both bullies and victims in form of suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and successful suicides. Suicide provoked by cyber bullying result from such precursors as depression, lowered self worth, loneliness and hopelessness. With the proliferation of information and communication technology, instances of suicide among teenagers have increased because of being harassed and mistreated online. Research indicates that 20% of the 2,000 participants admitted contemplating suicide and suicidal ideation was equally distributed in both ancient and cyber bullying. However, victims of cyber bullying are reported to have two times possibility of suicide attempts compared to youths without experience of cyber bullying. Instances of aggression also elevate suicidal ideation among young persons (1).
Instances of aggression among adults should be taken seriously. Victims are already people with other social and emotional issues in their lives, which are then used to humiliate them. Cases of cyberbullicide indicate that the victim experienced instability and hopelessness amidst their struggle with an already stressful life. According to Goebert and co-authors, other impacts of cyber bullying victimization on health include increasing the probability of substance use coupled with binge drinking and use of marijuana. As a result, victims experience increased likelihoods of depression by almost twice while suicide attempts increase by almost three times. Cyber bullying has received little or no emphasis from parents and adults, as they are concerned about stalking and sexual predators. The victims of cyber bullying therefore end up indulging into substance abuse and binge drinking as they lack the right knowledge and skills to deal with cyber bullying incidences (1-2).
Traditionally, people effectively accomplished daily life routines without technology. However, with rapid evolvement and advancements in technology, the world today requires that people keep contact with technology in order to accomplish daily routines effectively. Apart from changing the nature of life, changes in technology also change the way of conducting business. This follows the adaptation of electronic communication in both mundane and complex activities. The most responsible technological advancements resulting to widespread use of electronic network connections is the internet. For most people, daily lives involve the use of internet given its reliable and safe information exchange. This means that at one point or the other, there is personal data being transmitted through wires and through air from one computer to the other. Such personal data include social security numbers, credit card details, and passwords. However, most people have nothing to worry about and feel safe thereby trusting that such personal information will remain confidential. In addition, there are numerous measures being implemented to ensure that information online is sufficiently protected. However, advancements in technology have also been adapted by criminals resulting into increased instances of people being victims of crimes committed online (Chwaki and Wahab 3).
Identity Theft Evolution
Traditionally, fraud involved the use of face-to-face communication. This is because physical contact was essential in moving tangible property deceitfully acquired. However, the proliferation of information communication technology has resulted into remarkable alterations in nature and form of committing crime through the introduction of electronic or automated crime. For years, fraudsters have relied on discarded receipts for credit cards, tax notices, bank statements, among other bills to acquire personal information needed to assume their identity. However, further evolution in technology has resulted into the adaption of numerous forms of cyber crimes to acquire a person’s personal information and assume their identity. Phishing and computer hacking are the most forms of cyber crimes today. These pose a risk on online information sharing. For computer hackers, gaining access to personal information requires accessing prohibited areas of the internet before accessing computer networks with the required information. While inside a given computer network, hackers view files, documents and other confidential data for use on grounds of personal gain. With phishing, no hackers are needed since people are lured to provide personal information to imposters who pose as legitimate businesses or agencies (Korzeniowski para3).
Korzeniowski further explains that numerous large corporations including T-mobile in the USA have experienced the extent of personal information theft. With Phishing, imposters use names of legitimate companies like PayPal but shifts users to bogus websites where they are required to key in susceptible data like social security numbers, account or credit card data. Through this information, criminals open new accounts or broaden current services but never pay for them. Through fishing, scammers use bogus emails, pop-up ads, and websites. Scammers ensure that they first instill false sense of trust before sending emails that seek for financial and personal data to enable them to steal identities. In some cases, phishing emails install software on a victim’s computer before redirecting such computers to illegitimate websites (para4).
The Canadian internet Policy and Public interest Clinic defines identity theft as instances that result from misappropriation and use of an individual’s personal identification information for some advantage. Such advantages are mostly financial and involve application of deception. The thief uses an individual’s information knowingly and without legal authority. The intentions of the thief are mostly engagement in some unlawful activity. In order for identity theft to occur, there must be other forms of crimes such as check and card fraud, unauthorized access of confidential information, and internet frauds, among others (1).
According to Chawki and Wahab, identity theft is intended at using personal identifying information fraudulently for numerous reasons. These purposes are opening new accounts for credit cards; gaining control of existing credit card accounts; loans application; apartment renting; and contracting with companies dealing with utilities. It is also common to use personal identifying information to issue fraudulent checks through another person’s number and account, obtain employment or even institute bankruptcy. For person’s whose identification has been stolen, too much time and thousands of dollars are spent trying to clean up the mess or even identify the real impersonator (3). Schneier reveals three reasons why it is difficult to identify the impersonator. First, a person whose identify is unknown has to be revealed. Secondly, the communication channels used for communication today are narrow like telephone and the internet. The narrow nature of communication systems result from their promotion of anonymity, which means people, can use fake identification and conceal locations to acquire confidential information. Anonymity results into frustration of law enforcement efforts in locating impersonators. Finally, computerized systems are heavily relied upon to make the verifications.
There are three main phases involved in identity theft. These phases are collection of identification information through techniques such as hacking, phishing and skimming. With the collected information, the thief develops false identity through ID trafficking, conspiracy, counterfeiting or breeding documents. The developed identity is then used in identity fraud like bank, land, credit card and employment fraud (Canadian internet Policy and Public interest Clinic 2).
Factors Facilitating the Occurrence of Identity Theft
In order to understand the issue of identity theft and devise feasible solutions, it is essential to understand factors contributing to its expansion. These factors are categorized subject to victims and offenders. Victims argue that time elapsing between crime commitment and discovery of the crime facilitates identity theft. In most cases, victims of identity theft do not discover crime immediately and this increases their losses and suffering. In addition, the level of education and income of the victim determines time taken to identify the crime. In most cases, low income and less educated persons do not discover identity theft crime until it is too late. As a result, they suffer more from harassments by debt collectors, banks and utility cut-offs. Victims of identity theft are mostly in their forties and living in large metropolitan areas. This group of victims takes an average of 14 months to identify the crime. However, seniors are less affected despite being involved in financial frauds. From perpetrators of identity theft, crime is easily committed, given the presence of personal information online or in business files. Due to non-vigilant protection of personal information, unauthorized access has increased probability of occurring. In addition, offenders take advantage of the fact their victims do not easily notice the occurrence of crime until after some time, which could be years. The occurrence of identity theft is also dependent on high return possibilities combined with little or low risk of being identification. Perpetrators of identity theft are also driven by the fact that sentences associated with this form of crime are milder compared to any other crimes (Chawki and Wahab 10).
Targeted information in identity theft
Chawki and Wahab further note that today, cyberspace information is intangible. These makes it possible for individuals and organizations to store vast information digitally making it ready to harvest, distribute and disclose to third parties over the internet. When personal information is distributed without the knowledge of the person, identity theft is said to have occurred. The most common form of personal information are social security number, date of birth, financial account information, current and previous phone numbers and addresses, mother’s maiden name, and other relevant information like passwords and pass codes (12).
Mechanisms for Identity Theft
With increased use of technology, the cyberspace has enabled quick and easy access of public records to all people. In addition, cyber thieves phave been allowed to remain anonymous. As a result, scammers have devised numerous mechanisms of accessing personal information from different locations. These mechanisms include spoofing, spyware, information brokers, internet public records, phoney websites, and hacking or cyber trespass. Hacking involves stealing of information, valuables or money while cyber trespass involves embezzlement, espionage, and plagiarism among others. Phoney website promotes phishing and pharming. With phishing, spoofed emails and fraudulent websites are created such that they will fool recipients to diverge personal financial data. At first, a user receives an email that falsely claims to be from a legitimate organization. This attempt is done with the intention of luring the user to provide private information which is then used for identity theft. In Pharming, a DNS server is poisoned through infusion of false information into the server while user request is redirected elsewhere. This form of identity theft is more serious than phishing therefore hard to detect. In addition, pharming targets numerous people or groups of users. With spoofing, an email address is forged such that messages are pretend to originate from a completely different address than that of the cracker. This way, the attacker gains access to a given secured site as one of the permissible addresses. In order to gather and obtain private information from a given computer without the knowledge of the owner, spyware computer software is used. Spyware can be installed on a given computer from remote location and is basically used by employers to monitor employees. Information brokers are people who sell personal information to requesting parties electronically over the internet. Electronic bulletin boards promote identity theft through hacker chat rooms where they post availability of personal information for sale. Internet public records from state and federal governments are raising alarms of ease of obtaining personal information like health records (Sharrif 13)
Negative Effects of Cell Phones on Health
Today, many people own cell phones. In addition, cell phone use has diversified to include both adults and children. As a result, the negative impacts of cell phones use are evident in both the young and the old. Although cell phones have been associated with numerous negative effects, few have been proven through reliable research. Mobile phones are associated with such negative effects as cancer risk, behavioral problems amongst children and infertility in men. So far, there are no links between cell phones and any form of problems on health. Most people are concerned that about the radiofrequency and electromagnetic energies emitted by cell phones (Food and Drug Administration para2).
Lin notes that cell phone’s emitted levels of Radiofrequency energy are extremely low. In this case, there is no linkage between cell phones RF exposure and health problems. Such reasoning results from the fact that RF frequency emitted by cell phones ranges within the microwave frequency. In addition, cell phones emissions of RF are not constant since this only occurs when the phone is on stand-by mode. As a result, exposure to low RF frequencies only result to less adverse health effects compared to high RF levels. With high electromagnetic energy like gamma rays and X-rays ionize biological tissues. Ionized tissues have their electrons stripped off their normal atomic locations in molecules and atoms. As a result, these tissues have their DNA or biological material damaged permanently (Alters and Schiff 146). The Food and Drug Administration reveals that they are very little and cannot ionize atoms and molecules. Although there is no ionization of tissues, prolonged exposure to RF energy elevates body temperatures causing damage to tissues. The most vulnerable body parts are testes and eyes. This is because these body parts have little blood flowing through them to reduce excess heat (Alters and Schiff 146).
According to Michael, communication through cell phones involves the transmission and reception of RF signals. RF signals are with the Microwave range. In men approximately 7% of infertility among reproductive age couples results from infertility in men. One study suggests that carrying cell phones among men affects their fertility. This is significantly high in men carrying cell phone using their trousers pockets. In such cases, the phone is so close to the testes. Additionally, there are chances of prolonged exposure of testes to cell phone-emitted electromagnetic radiation. The longer the semen is exposed to electromagnetic radiations, the larger the effects on the quality of sperm. Prolonged exposure results to slower sperms given the abnormal morphology resulting from the exposure duration. In addition, sperms exposure to cell phone emitted waves result to sperm cells percentage. This semen reduction occurs in vital progressing motility depending on the cell phone use frequency. This implies that the percentage of live sperms is decreased in men resulting to infertility (para1, 2 &12).
In a different study, it was found out that live electromagnetic radiations from cell phones resulted to significant destruction of maturing sperm’s cellular DNA. Although the female reproductive system has the capability to repair DNA damage between initial cell division and fertilization, inaccuracies would result to mutations a phenomenon known as male-arbitrated developmental toxicity. The resulting offspring is more vulnerable to genetic diseases, childhood cancer or birth defects. In addition, the child is vulnerable to numerous health issues based on the damaged DNA part. This means that prolonged exposure of men to microwave radiation causes permanent health problems on the conceived children (Carlo and Schram 19-20).
According to Chow, cell phone use has closest proximity to the brain. This means that there is increased possibility of generating brain cancer. From reliable studies, the development of brain tumor is associated to the side of the head where users placed their cell phones. In addition, tumors develop in near the salivary glands near the jaw and ears. This is a position that cell phones are normally held. Amongst heavy cell phone users in Israel, it was found that the development of parotid tumor had higher probability in heavy cell phone users. The tumors developed are benign or malignant. In children, prolonged cell phone use results into effects on the central nervous system due to early exposure to emitted radio frequency.
The nervous system in children is still under development and radio emissions have the possibility to alter such processes. Damaged central nervous system negatively affects a child’s learning or behavior and may result to cancers in other organs. The depth of cell phone radio emission penetration also impacts on the damage caused in children and adults. On children behavioral problems, mothers who used cell phones during pregnancy contributed to the 80% higher behavioral issues incidence. Such issues in children conduct include hyperactivity emotional problems, inattention and problems with peers. Acustic neuroma condition causes deafness through the growth of a disabling tumor in the auditory nerve. For children using cell phones, the risk of acquiring this condition is higher compared to adults. In addition, young cell phone users had increased risk of developing cancer especially resulting to four-fold glioma instead of five fold. Glioma is cancer affecting glial cells in the central nervous system. For people using cell phone use prior to 20 years age, glioma occurrence is five times higher than in those whose cell phone use began above 20 years of age (Chow para16).
Apparently, with computers’ advent, the nature of life has changed considerably. Changes can be experienced in both positive and negative forms. The most negatively affected area of life is health. Both the young and the old experience the negative impacts of technology provided they use technology in their daily life. The health of young people is at a higher risk seeing that they are frequent technology users and keep up with any technological advancement. This exposes them to sophisticated technology while increasing risks on their health. The discussion in this paper has focused on three elements that of technology resulting to its negative impacts. These aspects are cyber bullying, identity theft and negative impacts of technology on health. As seen in the paper, cyber bullying has risen from traditional or face-to-face bullying. Instead of two parties engaging in face-to-face confrontations, technology has made it easy to harass a helpless victim repetitively using information-communication technology devices. In order to classify cyber bullying effectively, there must be attributes of repetition, power imbalance and intentional actions. Power imbalance implies that the cyber bullying perpetrator is more powerful than the victim is in order to instill fear in and control them. Under powerful control with repetitive aggressive actions, the victim is always afraid and does not involve parents or adults in their condition.
As discussed earlier, the prevalence of cyber bullying is associated with suicide cases among young victims. Suicide is preceded by conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress. This is because it is impossible to get out of the bullying action or reveal the identity of the perpetrator. Identity theft involves impersonation using another person’s personal identifying information to engage in illegitimate actions. For the identity theft victim, too much time and resources are spent to correct the errors. Conversely, impersonation incidents result to increased anxiety, depression and mental health problems given that it takes some time before individuals realize theft. In most cases, involved damages are too much and impossible to trace the perpetrator. Cell phone technology has provided safe, fast and effective communication means. However, the cell phones greatly affect the health of the users. In pregnant women, the child develops conduct disorders like hyperactivity. In men, the higher the use of cell phones the greater the risk of infertility given semen exposure to cell phone emitted radiations. In children and adults, incidents of cancer are remarkably high including cancer in the brain. The part of the brain affected is the side where the one places the cell phone during conversation.
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