Who we are Search Resources Submit a resource Links to sites Discussion Board Contact Us Return to Home
Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Victimization online: The downside of seeking human services for women on the Internet.

Author: Finn, Jerry; Banach, Mary
Author Background: U New Hampshire, Dept of Social Work, Durham, NH, US
Date 10/2000
Type Journal
Journal Title: CyberPsychology-and-Behavior
Volume/Pages Vol 3(5): 785-796
Subject Matter Women, Health Knowledge; Health Promotion; Internet; Public Health Services; Risk Taking
Abstract Discusses problems and dangers that may be encountered when females seek health and human services on the Internet, and the implications of these problems and dangers for human service organizations. Participation in online self-help groups may be harmful to some members for the following reasons: (1) communication may become disinhibited online, exposing participants to threats, profanity, seduction, and personal attacks; (2) the qualifications of moderators are not regulated; (3) the identity of members is unknown, which can cause problems in self-help groups concerned with issues of violence and abuse; (4) groups can be disrupted by cyberterrorists; (5) members may receive misinformation from other group members; (6) messages may be forwarded or archived and searched by search engines, resulting in a loss of privacy; and (7) members may encounter cyberstalkers. Females who use the Internet to seek health and human services need information concerning online victimization. Human service organizations should identity themselves as legitimate organizations, should constitute measures to protect the privacy, security, and confidentiality of client records online, should be proactive in educating consumers, and should train staff how to respond to spam and disruption. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)