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As an addendum to my last post, Scot Terban, author of the blog Krypt3ia which often discusses the intersection of information security and media psychology, recently wrote about the topic of digital immigrants and digital natives. But Scot goes a bit further to remark about digital natives, their online actvities and what he has termed the Lord of the Flies effect. I don’t usually include quotes this long, but it’s worth the read should you not skip to the entire post which is much longer:

“No matter the dialectic, there are issues to the dichotomy between the natives and the immigrants that can beget darker things. Since on average the common kid today can bypass most protections a parent may try to purchase for their home computers, that is if they are even cognizant enough to try, we have a generation that pretty much can run amok online. Without oversight, the digital natives pretty much run the show…//…All of this is really predicated on the idea that once online the native is “anonymous” by use of technological means in the extreme…

“Generally though the natives learn quickly that they can do many more things online that parents and others would find frightful offline and in public. It is this “disinhibition effect” through perceived or technical anonymity that allows for this behavior to evolve and thus gives rise to what I call the “Digital Lord of The Flies” effect. In essence the children have been left to their own devices on a digital island and those more powerful take over and rule rather mercilessly. In the last few days I got a first hand view of this effect with regard to teens and twenty somethings in the gamer/Xbox-verse. Where gaming had become banal some of these “crews” or “Teams” began upping the ante by hacking, carding, and what they call GT (gamer tag) “Jacking” All criminal activities that are perceived by these kids as ok because they are not doing these things to people in reality (and by reality I mean in person in front of them).

“There seems to be a disconnect within the psyche for these kids where their actions are just not real because it happens online. Some of these kids that I tracked online due to recent events with the attacks on Brian Krebs that leads me to believe some of them may in fact be on the road to sociopathy [psychopathy by another name]…//…As more and more generations move into the natives category being born into a world with prevalent technologies we will only see more of these problems… When the parents of all these kids are just as savvy about the net as their kids are, then we will be able to teach them.. Of course in thinking about this it comes to me that perhaps that will only shift to natives teaching natives the same behaviors…” (Terban, 2013).


Terban, S. A. (2013, Mar 22). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Exo-Nationals and The Digital Lord of The Flies. Retrieved Mar 26, 2013, from Krypt3ia: http://krypt3ia.wordpress.com/