SOCIOCULTURAL IMPACT OF CYBERCRIME ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT: A STUDY OF AKWA-SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ANAMBRA STATE
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The study sought to examine sociocultural impact of cybercrime on youth development in Akwa-South Local Government Area of Anambra State. A survey research design was adopted and a random sampling technique was used to select thirty (164 respondents) which were mainly youths currently residing in Akwa South local government area. However, only one hundred and twenty (120) responded to the questionnaire. Research questions was used as a guide to the study. The instrument for the study was the questionnaire. Data collected were analyzed by used of Chi-square statistical tool and simple percentages. The finding of the study revealed that there are socio-economic factors contributing to youths’ involvement in cybercrimes in Akwa-South L.G.A; there are sociocultural influence of youth’s involvement in cybercrimes in Akwa-South L.G.A, Anambra State. Also, the internet is used as a channel for the perpetration of criminal spamming activities. It was concluded based on the above findings that value re-orientation is a key strategy for managing cybercrime among youths in contemporary Nigeria. The study recommend among others that governments must strengthen its security agencies saddled with the arduous responsibility of fighting cybercrimes in Nigeria.
1.1 Background to the Study
In the 21st century, Nigeria is plagued by a value crisis that is fast eroding her cultural value system.Nigerians from independencewere set of proud hardworking individuals with sound moral values; thus the emergence of the cybercrime subculture in Nigeria is fundamentallyantithetical to the sound moral values that Nigerians were famous for at Independence (Briggs, 2012). Although, the inception of the internet and computer technologies has had a significant influence on modern societies. Information can now be obtained with greater speed, and preserved on an unprecedented large scale. For most businesses, academic institutions, professions and governments, computers are indispensable to the discharge of everyday tasks. However, those benefits come with challenges.The emergence of the internet and computer technologies in Nigeria in the past one decade or so has created a new form of crime and criminality.The Internet Crime Compliant Centre (IC3, 2010) report ranked Advance Fee Fraud as the sixth most reported offenses in the world. Similarly, it ranked Nigeria third on the list of the top 10 cybercrime perpetrator countries of the world (IC3, 2011).
Sociocultural is a term related to social and cultural factors, which means common traditions, habits, patterns and beliefs present in a population group (Merriam Webster online Dictionary, 2021). The advancement in technologyand online communications has not only produced a dramatic increase in the incidence of criminal activities, but has also resulted in the emergence of what appears to be a new variety of criminal activities (Odumesi, 2014). One of such criminal activities is cybercrime which is a crime committed mostly by the youths in which computers or computer networks are a tool, a target, or a place of criminal activity and include everything from electronic cracking to denial of service attacks (Das and Nayak, 2013). Cybercrimes also entail 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, etc) and mobile phones (Muraina&Muraina, 2015).
Generally, crime appears to be a permanent feature of a modern society. Despite efforts of social workers, law enforcement agency, personal and criminal justice professionals to minimize it, the world is becoming a more terrible place. Many countries including Nigeria now contend with incidents of cybercrime, cyber theft, cyberspace identity fraud, hacking, sabotage, and electronic money laundering among others (Cradduck, 2007). For instance, websites, as well as online facilities such as emails and chat rooms, enable criminals to steal the personal information of innocent users, defraud them, and spend the proceeds.Cybercrime is not only limited to, anything from downloading illegal music files to stealing millions of dollars from online bank accounts, but also includes non-money offenses, such as creating viruses on other computers or posting confidential business information on the internet (Boniface & Michael, 2014).
Nigeria like any other developing country is battling with the problem of unemployment, hence having a large percentage of its youth idle.The internet currently serve as a hiding place for unemployed graduates and idle youths who have simply migrated from the streets to becoming fraudsters on internet platforms (Obano, 2007). In Nigeria today, cybercrime has found its root in the society (Alemika, 2007). Like a cankerworm it has eaten deeply in the society that it appears much accepted by the same society.The perpetrators of scam mail fraud popularly called the yahoo boys and girls continue unabated. As a way of combating this crime the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2004 established the Nigerian cyber-working group, which is an interagency body made up of all key Law Enforcement Security Intelligence, and ICT agencies. Their effort is yet to gain results, as the yahoo yahoo boys and girls continue to display their ill-gotten wealth at parties in night clubs and beer parlours and driven in flashes cars around the community. Owing to all aforementioned reasons, Nigeria’s image has sunk so much over the years and this has adversely affected the integrity and good name of Nigerians all over the world. Even though a global phenomenon, Nigeria’s situation regarding cybercrime has been one of the worst in the world. Nowadays in Nigeria, the menace of the so-called ‘yahoo boyism’ as titled by (Adeniran, 2011), in which a category of young individuals referred to as ‘yahoo boys’ commit an overwhelming majority of the cybercrimes in Nigeria.
Despite the many benefits associated with improved cyber technology, there have equally being some major disadvantages associated with it. In an attempt to understand the factors behind the increase in the trend of cybercrimes among the youth, a number of studies have identified certain factors including age bracket (Ndubueze et al., 2011), gender (Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) (2010); Okeshola&Adeta, 2013); quest for wealth, unemployment, lack of implementation of cyber-crime laws, inadequate equipped law agencies, and negative role model, recognition/fame, easy to perpetrate, frustration/revenge, display of wealth by corrupt politicians and laziness (Longe&Chiemeke, 2008; Okeshola&Adeta, 2013); lack of cyber security awareness (Ribadu, 2007). However, it is not yet established if these factors identified within extant literatures are equally associated with the patterns of cybercrimes among youths in Akwa-South Local Government Area, Anambra State. This is because, as much as the researcher knows, prior to this present study, no single study has been carried out on this topic within Akwa-South Local Government Area. Consequently, this study is positioned to investigate the socio cultural impact of cybercrime on youth development in Akwa-South L.G.A, with the view to identifying areas where criminological policy decisions could be applied to curb the growing trend of cybercrime among youths within the study area and Nigeria at large.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Globally, Nigeria has been labelled as one of the most corrupt black nation.Nigeria is also rated amongst one of the most corrupt countries of the world. Unfortunately, the country’s image has also suffered as a result of the unscripted activities of some Nigerians using the internet as a channel for the perpetration of criminal spamming activities. It has been argued and documented in various official documents that Nigeria is the hallmark of cybercrimes.Many authors posit that cybercrime is one of the dominant forms of crime that is widespread among youths in Nigeria (Adeniran, 2008; Aransiola&Asindemade, 2011; Tade&Aliyu, 2011; Aghatise, 2006).In 2007,Internet Crime Compliant Centre (IC3) sent a complaint to the U.S National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) office, the Inspector General Computer Crimes Division, about one AyodeleSaliu, who was involved in “419” (advance fee fraud) Nigerian schemes, phishing, bank fraud and credit card fraud. IC3 search of names and email address associated with the offender revealed 21 complaints and reported losses of over $10,000. He was indicted in 2012, and was wanted in the United States for 11 cases which included charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, computer intrusion, and identity theft. The schemes reportedly had victim-losses of over $500,000 (IC3, 2012). The internet is supposed to provide the youth opportunities for growth, learning, skills development and expansion of their knowledge base. However, in recent time, the internet has been abused and used for criminal activities which mostly occur through cybercrime activities. This trend has had a global touch in recent time, with the most occurrence been observed among youths in developing nations like Nigeria. Yet, the trend of cybercrime has seen a dramatic influx of many vibrant youths into more dynamic forms of cybercrimes and this has a sociocultural impact on our society at large. Its consequences on the lives and properties of people are not something to reckon with ease. Despite the myriad consequences, factors contributing to the increase in cybercrimes among the youth are yet to be understood, especially within the context of Anambra State. This is because previous researches on cybercrimes have focused on other issues. For example, (Umeozulu, 2012) investigated cybercrime among Nigerian youths in Caritas University; and (Kunnuji, 2014) studied on young adulthood and internet use in Nigeria; while (Longe and Chiemeke, 2008) equally examined the relationship between access to the internet and criminality among the youth.Thus, a gap in knowledge exists in the understanding the sociocultural impact of cybercrime on youth development which is what this study intend to tackle.
To achieve the objective of this study, the following questions are formulated:
- What are the socio-economic factors contributing to youths’ involvement in cybercrimes in Akwa-South L.G.A?
- In what ways do cybercrime impact on youth development?
- What are the socio-cultural factors contributing to youth’s involvement in cybercrime in Akwa-South Local Government Area?
- What can be done to change the public attitude towards cybercrime in Nigerian?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main aim of this study is to examine the sociocultural impact of cybercrime on youth development in Akwa-South Local Government Area, Anambra State. The specific objectives are:
- To determine the socio-economic factors contributing to youths’ involvement in cybercrimes in Akwa-South L.G.A.
- To ascertainways in which cybercrime do impact on youth development
- To determinethe socio-cultural factors contributing to youth’s involvement in cybercrime in Akwa-South Local Government Area.
- To suggest how to change the public attitude towards cybercrime in Nigeria.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study, which is aimed at explaining how cybercrime has impacted on the traditional and moral values of our youths in the society, will provide an insight into the problems associated with cybercrime. This study will bring to bear on some means and ways of combating cybercrime and other related online/internet fraud in Nigeria.
This report would be of great benefit for youths, to expose them to the factors that tend to cause young people’s involvement in cybercrime in Nigeria. It would be useful to the government and related stakeholders to enable them adequately understand factors responsible for and how to curb the continue spread of cybercrime among Nigerian youths and the general public.
The findings will equally serve as a reference material for researchers who would want to carry out studies that are related to the one under review or further studies on other related areas.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The present study revolves around the entire federation; since it examines the sociocultural impact of cybercrime on youth development in Nigeria, the dynamic scope of the study has a national outlook and it will thus be ideal to embark on the study in the entire federation. However, it becomes very necessary for the researcher to narrow it down to Akwa-South Local Government Area in Anambra State.
1.7Definition of Terms
For the purpose of clarity, these terms that may be confusing to the reader are defined in the context of their usage in the work the following order:
Sociocultural:Sociocultural is a term related to social and cultural factors, which means common traditions, habits, patterns and beliefs present in a population group.
Impact: This is the effect or capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behaviour of someone.
Cyber: The use of computers, information systems or the internet by the Nigerian youths.
Crime: The display of illegal act characterized by decent, contentment or violation of trust of the youths.
Cybercrime:Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network. The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target. Cybercrime may harm someone’s security and financial health.
Youth:Youth is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood. It is also defined as “the appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit, etc., characteristic of one who is young”.
Youth Development: Is a process that prepares a young person to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood and achieve his or her full potential.
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