An Analysis of the Prevalence and Consequences of Cybercrime Among Secondary School Students
Objective of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to analyze the prevalence and consequences of cybercrime among secondary school students. Specifically the study seeks:
- To determine the degree at which secondary school student involvement in cybercrime.
- To investigate factors that are responsible for secondary school student involvement in cyber crime.
- To ascertain the various cyber techniques used by cyber criminals to perpetrate the act.
- To examine the negative impacts the menace poses to the student and society.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Our focus in this chapter is to critically examine relevant literature that would assist in explaining the research problem and furthermore recognize the efforts of scholars who had previously contributed immensely to similar research. The chapter intends to deepen the understanding of the study and close the perceived gaps.
Precisely, the chapter will be considered in three sub-headings:
- Conceptual Framework
- Theoretical Framework and
- Empirical Review
Definition of Cybercrime
The complex nature of the term cybercrime has made it very difficult in giving a precise definition. Smith, Grabosky and Urbas (2004) indicated that it is often complicated in getting a unique and consistent definition of cybercrime. This has resulted in multiplicity of terms such as computer crime, computer-related crime, digital crime, information technology crime, internet crime and virtual crime. Alkaabi (2010) articulated that, traditionally, the term cybercrime referred to crimes over networks, especially the internet but the term has increasingly become a general term or replacement for computer crime. Kamal, Chowdhury, Haque, Chowdhury, & Islam (2012) articulated that presently crimes which are committed in the cyber world are not different in this present world. Crimes committed in the cyber world are so complex in nature and its coverage is very wide and massive. There is no precise definition of the term cybercrime. This is because different institutions, departments, organisation and agencies have given different definitions in accordance to their situation and place. Cybercrime is a split word which can be better understood by understanding the split meaning of cyber and crime. According to Anah, Funmi, & Makinde (2012) the word ―Cyber‖ comes as a prefix which is often used to define a new knowledge or idea associated with computers and the internet and ―Crime‖ any act which is considered as wrongdoing or illegal and punishable by law.
Parker was one of the pioneering scholars to write about computer crime. He was adjudged the best scholar on computer security in the United State. Parker uses the term computer abuse to mean computer crime in order to escape having to distinguish between what is crime and what is not. Parker (1980) define his computer abuse as ―any international act in which one or more victims suffered or could have suffered a loss, and one or more perpetrators made or could have made a profit.‖ United Nations (UN) Tenth Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders, in a workshop devoted to the issues of crimes related to computer networks, cybercrime was broken into two categories and defined as:
- Cybercrime in a narrow sense (computer crime): Any illegal behaviour directed by means of electronic operations that targets the security of computer systems and the data processed by them.
- Cybercrime in a broader sense (computer-related crime): Any illegal behaviour committed by means of, or in relation to, a computer system or network, including such crimes as illegal possession and offering or distributing information by means of a computer system or network. UN further acknowledged that these definitions are complicated by the fact that an act may be illegal in one nation but not in another. Cybercrimes are defined as: ―Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones‖ (Hassan, Lass, & Makinde, 2012). Snail (2009) further explains that cybercrime can be defined as any criminal activity that involves a computer. This can be divided into two categories; crimes that can only be committed using a computer which were previously not possible before the dawn of the computer. Examples hacking, sniffing and the production and dissemination of viruses. Secondly, crimes that have been in existence for centuries but now committed within the cyber environment such as fraud, possession and distribution of pornographic materials. The United Kingdom (UK) Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has defined e-crime as the ―use of networked computers, telephony or internet technology to commit or facilitate the commission of crime.‖ Wall (2007) stated that the term cybercrime ―has a greater meaning if we construct it in terms of transformation of criminal or harmful behaviour by networked technology, rather than simply the behaviour itself‖ he therefore interprets the term cybercrime broadly to refer to ―criminal or harmful activities that involves the acquisition or manipulation of information for gain‖. Olayemi (2014) articulated that cybercrime might rationally comprise of a wide collection of criminal records or offences and it would rather seem like researchers, academicians and law implementation authorities are more free and relaxed to labelling several factors constituting cybercrime rather than trying to define it.
Cybercrime in African Content
The infiltration and acceptance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the African has taken the continent to a different level. Even though, accessibility and use of some internet amenities on some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa is still hook up to internet cafés to solve online problem. Countries like Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana have well established modern internet facilities which are accessible via satellite connections and fiber optic cables. This upsurge in diffusion of ICT has resulted ICT oriented businesses such as e-banking, e-governance, e-justice, telemedicine and many more, particularly in West African coast. However, this boost of ICT has bred a new level of criminal offences called cybercrime. The internet has described as a necessary evil providing chances for people and institutions and also carrying with it a serious threat to global internet cyber security (Boateng, Longe, Mbarika, Avevor, & Isabalija, 2010). A study by Akuta, Ong’oa, & Jones (2011) reported that although the African continent was considered as ―backwards‖ has adopted the ICT world strongly. Internet World Stats acknowledged that the internet use in Africa continent had reached 2.3% of the total global use by December 2007. Africa‘s internet use between the periods of 2000 to 2007 had increased by 423.9% against 180.3% for the rest of the world (Akuta et al., 2011). In a continent that is characterised by high incidence of poverty and increasing youth unemployment governed corruption, the exhibition of money and flashy cars and wealth by cybercriminals can easily pull the unemployment poor young men to join the cybercrime fraternity. As a result a growing number of youth are resorting to cybercriminals in Africa. This white color crime has variety of names, it known in Nigeria as the „Nigerian letter‘ or „419‟, ‗Sakawa‘ or ‗Yahoo-yahoo‘ in Ghana and „Faymania‘ in Cameroon (Atta-Asamoah, 2009).
The increasing usage of the Internet in Africa continent made the Internet and other online means of communication very common. This has brought opportunities for the establishment of online businesses. This has also brought about similar new challenges of cybercrime leading to mistrust among nations, companies and individuals across the world. The widespread nature of cybercrime in Africa has been a worrying issue for all. There is generally low safety and consciousness awareness training programmes from the security agencies available to educate people from becoming victims of cybercrime. These criminals often commit these crimes and go unpunished. This issue gets disturbing when studies revels that Sub Sahara Africa is holds a record of four countries (Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana and South Africa) among the top ten countries globally engaged cybercrime (Reasentse, 2015). Nigeria is observed as the nucleus or safe haven for cybercrimes around the globe which has been earmarked by the international community for their allege envelopment in such a wicked cybercrime. The country has been graded 3 rd globally after the USA and Britain and number one in Sub Sahara Africa (Merwe, 2015). Cybercrime is the fastest growing area of criminality among crime. Day in day out criminals are abusing and manipulating the internet with anonymity to commit different kinds of crimes globally. These crimes come in various format which causes serious harm and threat to global peace and cyber security. Atta-Asamoah (2009) articulated that during the last two decades many uninvited e-mails and other related letters were spreading from the Africa. Such letters were so tempting and inviting and it normal contain fraudulent information such as business proposals, inheritance reclamation, job offers, announcement of lottery wins, marriage proposals, immigration offers, admission to overseas academic institutions to money transfers and property sales, among others. Nigeria is the originator of such crimes. However, this practice has recently engulfed many youth in West Africa spending sleeping sleepless nights in cybercafé scouting for victims online to draw millions of dollars from innocent people across the globe. Boateng et al. (2010) found that majority of agents of cyber criminals are teenagers under school going ages of 15 years in Ghana. They form 88% representing the bulk of the respondents. This was affirmed by the Commercial Crime unit of the Ghana Police Service in an interview. They declared that majority of cybercriminals are the adolescents representing 85%. Related crimes comprise child pornography, hacking sites to get access to credit cards and downloading films for sale.
In this chapter, we described the research procedure for this study. A research methodology is a research process adopted or employed to systematically and scientifically present the results of a study to the research audience viz. a vis, the study beneficiaries.
Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled. According to Singleton & Straits, (2009), Survey research can use quantitative research strategies (e.g., using questionnaires with numerically rated items), qualitative research strategies (e.g., using open-ended questions), or both strategies (i.e. mixed methods). As it is often used to describe and explore human behaviour, surveys are therefore frequently used in social and psychological research.
Population Sampling Size
The population for the study will consist of executives and their subordinates in the organization which is charged with the application of management by objectives to attain organizational goals in the organization.
This study was carried out on an analysis of the prevalence and consequences of cybercrime among secondary school students in Asaba metropolis of Delta State. Hence, the population of this study comprises of students of selected senior secondary school in Asaba metropolis of Delta State.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of two hundred and twenty-nine (229) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which two hundred and fifteen (215) were returned while two hundred and ten (210) were validated. This was due to irregular, incomplete and inappropriate responses to some questionnaire. For this study a total of 210 was validated for the analysis.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
This chapter summarizes the findings on an analysis of the prevalence and consequences of cybercrime among secondary school students in Asaba metropolis of Delta State. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.
Summary of the Study
In this study, our focus was on an analysis of the prevalence and consequences of cybercrime among secondary school students in Asaba metropolis of Delta State. The study is was specifically carried out to determine the degree at which secondary school student involvement in cybercrime, investigate factors that are responsible for secondary school student involvement in cyber crime, ascertain the various cyber techniques used by cyber criminals to perpetrate the act, examine the negative impacts the menace poses to the student and society.
The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 210 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are students of selected senior secondary school in Asaba metropolis of Delta State.
Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that;
- The degree at which secondary school student involvement in cybercrime is high.
- The factors that are responsible for secondary school student involvement in cyber crime includes: Get-Rich-Quick syndrome, poverty, societal recognition, pressure from peers and family.
- The various cyber techniques used by cyber criminals to perpetrate the act includes: hacking, credit card fraud, software piracy, cyber identity theft.
- The negative impacts the menace poses to the student and society includes: school dropout, parental disownment, sexual promiscuity, damaged reputation.
Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are proffered.
- Secondary schools’ curriculum must include courses on cybercrime to manage and educate students on the effect of cybercrimes on their studies.
- National Cyber Security Awareness Program (NCSAP) should endeavour to sponsor media (internet, radio and television) to strengthen and intensify education through awareness creation in order to have cybercrime free society since these are the students‘ common source of knowledge on cybercrime with focus on the youth which includes senior high students. This can educate the public on the act, effects and other consequences of cybercrime to every citizen found anywhere in the community, school, mosques, churches and homes.
- The school authority should collaborate with parents to counsel and educate students on the effects on their engagement in cybercrime on their academic performance. The school can establish guidance and counseling unit in the school to give counseling to culprits within the school in various forms and also teach them morals.
- The justice system must come out with policies to deal with all matters relating to cybercrimes by establishment of cybercrime courts in the country to prosecute cybercriminals and parents who do not take good care of their children by allowing them engage is such crime. They should also encourage more people to take up courses on cyber law and cybersecurity in a form of scholarship especially lawyers and judges within the justice system.
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