What Does Developmental Psychology Tell Us About the Identity of Cybercriminals?
In his review of Gráinne Kirwan and Andrew Power’s book Cybercrime: The Psychology of Online Offenders, Thomas Holt describes the authors’ typology of cybercrime that consists of Internet-enabled crimes that “can also occur in the real world (e.g., piracy)”; Internet-specific crimes that cannot exist off-line, such as malicious software distribution; and crimes in virtual worlds, “where nonhuman characters and representations of people engage in offenses that would otherwise be dictated as crimes in the real world“ (para. 2).
What do developmental psychology and other areas of psychology that study identity development tell us about the nature of cybercriminals? Is there something unique about this new type of offender compared with other offenders who steal, assault, and so forth? Do current models and theories apply, or do we need to develop new ones for cybercriminals? Much is discussed these days about preventing the development of criminals. Should we also discuss how we can prevent individuals from turning to cybercrime?
By Thomas J. Holt
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(22)