The Cyber Effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online  


                                                         Dr Mary Aiken on CBS THIS MORNING to Launch  'The Cyber Effect'  August 2016

                                                         Dr Mary Aiken on CBS THIS MORNING to Launch  'The Cyber Effect'  August 2016


A groundbreaking exploration of how cyberspace is changing the way we 


The way we behave is changing. Technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives - from our relationships, to the way we shop, from our political systems to the minds of our children. In The Cyber Effect, Dr Mary Aiken – one of the world's leading experts in Cyberpsychology and  'the real-life spook behind CSI Cyber' (Daily Telegraph) – explains what is happening to us, how it works and what we can do about it. Packed with vivid stories, eye-opening insights and surprising statistics, this book offers us a fascinating guide through a new future that it's not too late to do something about.



"Best Science Pick" (2016) Nature International Journal of Science

'If you have children, stop what you are doing and pick up a copy' The Times

'A social alarm bell' SUNDAY TIMES, Books of the Year

'A great, important book - a must-read' STEVEN D. LEVITT, co-author of Freakonomics

'The Cyber Effect is a fascinating, accessible book that explores how human behaviour changes online' ALEXANDRA FREAN, The Times

“Fascinating useful and well researched, it will change the way you think about technology – Our Verdict  9/10” The Sunday Post

'Provocative' JON RONSON, New York Times

'The future we're all looking at . . . Worryingly persuasive, powerful [and] really rather good'  JOHN NAUGHTON, Guardian

'Frightening and fascinating' ROBERT COLVILE, Sunday Telegraph

"Just as Rachel Carson launched the modern environmental movement with her Silent Spring, Mary Aiken delivers a deeply disturbing, utterly penetrating and urgently timely investigation into the perils of the largest unregulated social experiment of our time.  " - BOB WOODWARD

“ Drawing on a fascinating and mind-boggling range of research and knowledge, Mary Aiken has written a great, important book that terrifies then consoles by pointing a way forward so that our experience online might not outstrip our common sense. A must-read for this moment in time.” - STEVEN LEVITT, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Freakonomics

"Aiken takes us on a fascinating, thought-provoking, and at times scary journey down the rabbit hole to witness how the internet is changing the human psyche.  A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the temptations and tragedies of cyberspace." - JOHN SULER, Professor of Psychology, Rider University author of The Psychology of Cyberspace

“Figuring out how to guide kids in a hyper-connected world is one of the biggest challenges for today’s parents. Mary Aiken clearly and calmly separates reality from myth. She clearly lays out the issues we really need to be concerned about and calmly instructs us on how to keep our kids safe and healthy in their digital lives.” - PEGGY ORENSTEIN, author of the New York Times bestseller Girls & Sex

"Aiken...shows in compelling detail how the online world bleeds into people's daily lives in ways that occasionally involve actual bloodshed...the relevance of Aiken's careful discussion is undeniable"  - Publishers Weekly

"With great clarity and insight, Aiken investigates the effect of technology on human behaviour" - Bookseller

"In what is a growing genre, Aiken provides a thoughtful approach to the attractions, distractions, and pitfalls of our digital culture" - KIRKUS

"Mary ... is extremely knowledgeable in this advanced and important academic field, in which we enter into new and uncharted waters. The Internet and cyberspace will change the way we act, react and interact as human beings, and we need to be prepared in order to adjust. Dr Mary Aiken has contributed, and will continue to contribute as a valuable adviser to EC3, and how we as law enforcement prepare for new online challenges. She will have considerable influence in the way which we will advise our colleagues in the 28 EU Member States. I wish her the best of luck with the new book, and I am looking forward to more constructive dialogue when we strive to prepare for an open, but also safe and secure internet" TROELS OERTING Former Director of the Europol European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) 


The Cyber Effect   

Chapter 9: The Cyber Frontier


We are living through an exciting moment in history, when so much about life on earth is being transformed. But what is new is not always good—and technology does not always mean progress. 

We desperately need some balance in an era of hell-bent cyber-utopianism. In the prologue to this book, I compared this moment in time to the Enlightenment, hundreds of years ago, when there were changes of great magnitude in human knowledge, ability, awareness, and technology. Like the Industrial Revolution and other great eras of societal change, there is a brief moment of opportunity, a window, when it becomes clear where society might be heading—and there is still memory of what is being left behind. Those of us who remember the world and life before the Internet are a vital resource. We know what we used to have, who we used to be, and what our values were. We are the ones who can rise to the responsibility of directing and advising the adventure ahead. 

It’s like that moment before you go on a trip, and you are heading out the door with your luggage—and you check the house one more time to make sure you’ve got everything you need. 

In human terms, do we have everything we need for this journey? 

At this moment in time we can describe cyberspace as a place, separate from us, but very soon that distinction will become blurred. By the time we get to 2020, when we are alone and immersed in our smart homes and smarter cars, clad in our wearable technologies, our babies in captivity seats with iPads thrust in their visual field, our kids all wearing face-obscuring helmets, when our sense of self has fractured into a dozen different social-network platforms, when sex is something that requires logging in and a password, when we are competing for our lives with robots for jobs, and dark thoughts and forces have pervaded, syndicated, and colonized cyberspace, we might wish we’d paid more attention. As we set out on this journey, into the first quarter of the twenty-first century, what do we have now that we can’t afford to lose?(p. 303-304, The Cyber Effect) 

Every contact leaves a trace

 Dr Mary Aiken and FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Clarke - pictured at the Federal Bureau of Investigation Wilshire Blvd , Los Angeles, 
"Forensic science is the study of the physical evidence at a crime scene—fibers or bodily fluids or fingerprints. In TV terms, think CSI. Forensic psychology is the study of the behavioral evidence left behind at the crime scene, what we like to call “the blood spatter of the mind.” Then there’s my area, forensic cyberpsychology, which focuses on the cyberbehavioral evidence ... “Every contact leaves a trace” ... This is just as true in cyberspace"  (see p.6 The Cyber Effect)


Los Angeles Police Department 

“Special task force … arresting the biggest human trafficker in the United States and one of California’s “Most Wanted”…. team of experienced professionals pulled from the FBI, Homeland Security, Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC), the California State Police, and the LAPD”   (p. 3 The Cyber Effect) 

Pictured Members of the Los Angeles Police Department Internet Crimes Children Task Force: Lt. Andrea Grossman, left, and Dr Mary Aiken (Observer)  - (Image © PA Images)

Los Angeles Film Festival at The GRAMMY Museum

"Not long ago, I was invited to join the Steed Symposium panel on cyber-security at the Los Angeles Film Festival and found myself sitting on a stage with blinding lights, awkwardly perched on a very tall director’s chair… Next to me, perched on his own precarious chair, was a famous ethical hacker, Ralph Echemendia, a brilliant self-taught tech expert who had recently served as the subject-matter expert on Snowden, the Oliver Stone movie."   (p.278 The Cyber Effect) 

Pictured Journalist Kim Masters, Ralph Echemendia 'The Ethical Hacker', Dr Mary Aiken, CyberPsychologist, attorney Daniel Schecter, John Brown and filmmaker Casey Cooper Johnson speak onstage at the Steed Symposium during the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival at The GRAMMY Museum on June 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Akisha Rundquist/WireImage /Image © Getty Images)


"I most recently found myself spending a good bit of time in Hollywood, working on the television show CSI: Cyber, inspired by my work. In the show, Patricia Arquette plays Avery Ryan, a special agent in the FBI Cyber Crime unit who is tasked with solving high-octane crimes that “start in the mind, live online, and play out into the real world.” That describes my work perfectly."     (p.18 The Cyber Effect)