Over the years psychologists applied models and theories to explain individuals behaviours when using social networking sites. Primarily to explained positive and the increased display of negative behaviours and their consequences. When the Internet started to roll in its trend and more people became connected to it, some of psychologist decided to look at it even deeper to check how they can apply psychology to it. That brought them to form new branch of psychology called cyber psychology. Main theories-models which were formed are: reduces social cues (Kiesler (1980’s), social presence theory (Short et al, 1976), social information processing (Walther, 1992) and the SIDE model (Spears & Lea, 1992), rationale actor approach (Markus, 1994).
While psychologists being exploring connections between human behaviour and Internet, they noticed numerous positive aspects of that new form of communication. For many users the Internet became to place, where they can connect with a family, learn, travel, and meet new people without the need of face-to-face contact. The Internet became not only a source of the knowledge but also a place of fun that we can find games, quizzes, place where we are able to research probably any interesting us subject and share our view with other users of CMC (Paradowski, 2000). Unfortunately the great amount of Internet users do not realise how careful we need to be while using that amazing new invention as we can also clearly determinate ‘dark side’ of the Internet. The major issues which we can highlight are anonymity, disinhibition and de-individuation.
From the issues which I pointed in previous paragraph, I would like to highlight two, disinhibition and anonymity. Both of them are able to notice in SIDE model (Spears &Lea, 1992) and reduced social cues (Kiesler (1980’s). Which I think combine together are a great examples of the ’dark side’ of the Internet. They both gave great opportunity to all sorts of people which decided to use cyberspace to cheat, bully, threat, grooming, identity theft and many more.
Disinhibition was noticed in the middle 80s by psychologist studying verbal behaviour in e-mailing (Sproull & Kiesler, 1986). It appears that CMC users will follow different rules in CMC or, they do not follow any rules at all. Issue which would cause only a minor disagreement in face-to-face contact, may often result in things getting out of hand in CMC world. Quite often they say, do and ’go’ on the click of the button to places, where they would not normally go. We are able to observe that people in the cyberspace seems to be more relaxed, open towards other people. The result of that situation can go into different directions. In the first example people will share private and personal information’s, became more open towards people which are in need. That type of disinhibition we call benign disinhibition. Unfortunately there also exist the ‘dark side’ of the disinhibition. In which people became more aggressive, use abusive, use rude language, sent threats. We call it toxic disinhibition. The example of toxic disinhibition we can observe in social networks, chat rooms. In the last decade we have been able to notice huge increase of suicides among the teenagers and young people. The reason of those horrible events have been caused by cyber bullying, blackmailing, stalking and trolling. CMC users are able to share their videos, pictures, and messages instantly on main page which are available to view by the log in users. The threat of becoming a victim of any ‘toxic’ manipulations in recent times is growing, mainly because of lack of control over information’s young people are making available, and post on social networks.
Anonymity is one of the principal factors that create the disinhibition effect. People using CMC often choose to be anonymous online. That is one of the most powerful