Cybercrime technology

People rationally choose to participate in criminal  acts; in order to  prevent these acts from occurring people need to know that consequences will outweigh the benefits. If people believe that the consequences outweigh the benefits t hen they will  freely choose not to participate in the criminal behavior.

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On the other hand the positive  school of criminology believes that individuals participate in crime because of forces beyond individual control and relies on the scientific method to prove  it
s theories (Cullen
& Agnew, 2006 ).

Individuals should not be held solely responsible for their actions  because not everyone is rational. Outside factors can play an important part in determining one‟s participation in crime. Now that we have exami ned the two most  dominant schools of criminological theory we can examine how two theories, self – control and routine activity, have been applied to the study of cybercrime and cybercrime victimization.

Control Theory One general crime theory that has been applied to the study of cybercrime is self – control theory. Self
– control theory was first proposed by Travis Hirschi and Michael Gottfredson in their 1990 publication
A General Theory of Crime . Self – control theory  beli eves that criminal motivation is rampant, but that people act on this motivation only when they possess low self – control  (Cullen & Agnew, 2006) . This paper will discuss the  basic elements of self
– control theory, as well as research that has provided eviden ce to  support the validity of this theory. Then this section will review empirical studies that have applied self – control
theory to the stu dy of cybercrime and cyber victimization and  will dis cuss the benefits of applying this theory to the study of cyberc rime.
In their book,
A General Theory of Crime
, Travis Hirschi and Michael
Gottfredson describe the major characteristics that define individuals with and without self

control (1990). Individual‟s with low self


impulsive, insensitive,
l (as opposed to mental), risk
– taking, short sighted, and nonverbal, and they will  tend therefore to engage in criminal and analogous acts
.” (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1990)
People with characteristics of low self
– control may be more likely to participate in deviant acts because they want immediate gratification. As compared to individuals who lack self
– control, individuals with self
– control are able to delay immediate gratification  and are more likely to be vigilant, emotional, verbal, and long – term orientat ed (Hirschi &  Gottfredson, 1990). Individuals who possess characteristics of self – control may be better  able to appreciate the consequences of participating in  deviant acts and have the control necessary to delay their gratification. In conclusion, those who lack self
– control are more  likely to possess characteristics such as impulsivity a nd short
– sightedness, that make crime and its immediate gratification more attractive to them, as compared to those who possess characteristics of high self
– control such  as being cautious and long
– term  orientated.  This brings up an important question, does an individual‟s level of self – control  develop over time or is someone born with one level of self
– control that remains the same throughout his or her lifetime . According to Hirschi and Gottfredson individuals are not born with one certain level of self
– control,  rather  they learn self
– control most often  through their parents ( Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1990 ). An individual does not
have only  on e level of self
– control, as they grow older they may develop a different level of self – control then when they were younger. However, they do suggest that, “…individual Cybercrime
29 differences may have an impact on the prospects for effective socialization” ( Hirschi &
G ottfredson, 1990 ). For example, individuals with mental health problems may have a higher probability of not being effectively socialized. The authors believed that self – control is learned through life, but especially while you are a child. The authors  al so addressed why some individuals possess characteristics of self – control. They suggest that individuals develop characteristics of self – control as a result of  their upbringing (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1990). While  parents do not intentionally teach  their c hildren to not have self
– control, the authors suggest that “ in order to teach the child  self
– control, someone must (1) monitor the child‟s behavior; (2) recognize deviant behavior when it occurs; and (3) punish such behavior…all that is required to activat e the  system is affection for or investment in the child .” (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1990)
They  suggest that a deficiency in any one of these categories will inadvertently allow the child to develop characteristics of low self
– control (Hirschi & Gottfredson
, 1990).  Characteristics of low self
– control can be the result of ineffective parenting. Low self – control makes crime more attractive to individuals who possess learned characteristics such as impulsivity and lack of responsibility. Good parenting is impo rtant in developing  individuals who possess high levels of self
– control, however good parenting can only  occur if parents care about their children and are able to monitor, recognize, and effectively punish their children for deviant behavior.
Self – control theory has been the subject of many empirical studies, which have  attempted to test the validity of the theory in explaining crime (Pratt & Cullen 200
Pratt, Turner & Piquero 2004; Perrone, Sullivan, Pratt, & Margaryan 2004 ;
Turner,  Piquero, & Pratt 20 05; Reisig &Pratt 2011;  Deng & Zheng 1998
. In 2000, Pratt and

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