Let us discuss about a new emerging discipline today: Cyber psychology. Cyber psychology (also known as Internet psychology) is a developing field that encompasses all psychological phenomena associated with or affected by emerging technology. Cyber comes from the word cyberspace, the study of the operation of control and communication; psychology is the study of the mind and behaviour.
What is Cyber psychology?
Cyber psychology explores the effect of technology on people at individual and group level. It is the study of the human mind and its behaviour in the context of human interaction and communication of both human and machine, further expanding its bounds with the culture of computers and virtual reality that take place on the Internet. However, mainstream research studies seem to focus on the effect of the Internet and cyberspace on the psychology of individuals and groups. It is a mostly research-based field.
What do Cyber psychologists do?
Cyber psychologists commonly investigate online personality development, online relationships, technology-related addictions, and transference to computers. Technology changed the manner in which we engage with other people in terms of communication, expressing feelings, building relationships and so much more.
Common areas of work for Cyber psychologists are:
- Research: Cyber psychologists work for a private research firm, public or government institutions , conducting experiments and studies on highly specific topics within the field, such as Internet addiction. The scope of research can range from socialization online to improving technology design to facilitate more productive work environments.
- Consultation: Other psychologists in this field act as consultants to businesses and industries as well. This would help them improve their products and user-experience. For example, a cyber psychologist might work with a mobile phone app developer to design an app that gives users tools to easily report abusive situations, like cyber bullying.
- Education: Cyber psychologists can also be employed in the academic sector, teaching and conducting research at colleges or universities, although some public or private school districts may have an interest in employing an expert in human-technology interaction.
- Therapy: Some Cyber psychologists utilize their skills to develop a private practice. Some self-employed Cyber psychologists offer therapy to patients in one-on-one and small group settings while others work with geographically distant clients by using technologies like computers and the Internet to conduct virtual therapy sessions.
What you will study?
Most courses in Cyber Psychology cover the following:
- How people use technology
- Increasing impact of the digital medium in human life
- Online relationships and identity
- Differences in behaviour in online and offline worlds
- Understanding cybercrimes and issues of cyber bullying, cyber stalking, trolling, etc.
Where to study?
Aspiring students can take up the study of the subject at the undergraduate as well as postgraduate level. The subject is yet to make its way in Indian Universities at large; however, many universities abroad have started with relevant courses in the area. Few of them are:
- Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK
- University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK
- Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK
- Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology [IADT] in Dublin, Ireland
- The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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