The authors at CyPSYCH, a special interest group at The Global Foundation of Cyber Studies & Research, a Washington based think tank, led by Dr Christina Liang-Boguszewicz, has recently published a white paper The 4IR: Cyberspace Mental Wellbeing: Harnessing Science & Technology for Humanity and Cyberpsychology & Digital Wellbeing.
Intrigued by their enthusiasm in educating and helping others, I managed to speak with the authors of the papers
What prompted you to start this special interest group? – Dr Christina Liang Boguszewicz, Group Chair of CyPSYCH
“The world is facing multiple health challenges from the active threats of climate change, pandemics, and growing economic disparities and inequities, financial burdens, mental health concerns are rising worldwide. As accordingly to WHO, there are currently more than 970 millions worldwide suffering from mental health and it is predicted to grow and will be the main cause of diseases by 2029. Stress is the number one cause of mental health problem. Given the complexity of the landscape and a true believer in selfcare – building positive emotion and resilience, I believe it is the responsibilities of experts and professionals like us to step up, share the research and learnings to public in the developed world especially developing nations. It is only through education, empowerment and community based support, we can promote an overall positive wellbeing. Health & Wellbeing of an individual is so important as we are literally living and communicating in this digitally connected space. ” Cited Dr Christina Liang-Boguszdewicz, an advocate of mental wellbeing & women empowerment, group chair of CyPSYCH, founder of dR CLB, a knowledge hub dedicated to improving the mental, physical and emotion wellbeing of individuals.
Dr Christina is also the Group Managing Director BI group, a Singapore based technology consulting firm which specialise in using quantum technology with cryptographic technique and next generation 3.0 decentralised ledger (hashing) technology in helping enterprise and government transforming their digital landscape while protecting its security posture.
Why understanding the cyberspace hygiene is so important? -Zaheema Iqbal, Co-Chair of CyPSYCH
In the era of the digital age, we rely extensively on the Internet and storage devices for many aspects of our lives, so the need to be proactive and vigilant to protect against cyber threats has never been greater. To achieve security within the domain, we need to adapt a good cyber hygiene strategy, that is, making sure we are protecting and maintaining systems and devices appropriately and using cyber security best practices for anything and everything that connects to the web. Safety and cleanliness online are two parts of the same coin. Both of these features aim to keep your person, your data, and your connections safe from any malicious entity online.
Lack of Cyber Hygiene is Leading to Cyber Attacks and Cyber Threats. Individuals and organizations must adopt procedures and policies to identify the weakest links and security loopholes. Implementing security at every level from application development, infrastructure hardening, network monitoring, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, to employee awareness is a crucial part in solving the security problem. It includes organizing security in hardware, software and IT infrastructure, continuous network monitoring, and employee awareness and training.
You have discussed the societal landscape, what should nations do to prevent suicide, cyber bullying, cyber harassment? – Mr Gurjot Singh & Ms Bakhtawar Pervaiz
In the past decade, the tragic stories of young people suicide, victims of cyber bullying and cyber harassment have become unfortunately common. This left an impact on the families which is devastating and now it has become a national outcry to take some action about the problem of cyber bullying, cyber harassment, and suicide. Now, in times of covid-19, it has become an important rising issue in the world. For which, there is an urgent need of some feasible strategies that should be adopted by the nations for the prevention of suicide, cyber bullying, and cyber harassment. To begin with, the solution to prevent these issues, countries need to pay attention to the seriousness of this growing problem and more appropriate policies are needed to prevent this. The national strategy and a clear commitment to its prevention is required. The governments need to activate a broad-based public health response to suicide, address upstream factors that Impact Suicide, empower communities to implement proven approaches, increase clinical training in evidence-based care for suicide risk and enhance crisis care and care transitions at state and regional level.
In addition, worldwide, the prevention of these problems has not been addressed so clearly. But its prevention requires involvement from both health and non-health sectors such as media, education, policies, law, religion, politics etc. It is the responsibility of the nations to prioritize the prevention of these issues on the global public health agenda. Moreover, cyberbullying, and cyber harassment happens through social media platforms, so its prevention laws and policies are required to report the issue to the police. Also, mental health professionals, counsellors and mentors are needed for the victims so that they may shift the conversation in positive direction.
Can you elaborate why it is so important for us to build on positive emotion and resilience to thrive? – Anshula Suresh
In my opinion, our mind is a garden and we are gardeners who have the responsibility to beautify and nourish our garden. One way to ensure superabundant and nutritious harvesting is by planting the right seeds, weeping and maintaining them regularly, that is, harvesting positive emotions and fostering them regularly.
Positive emotions are not only known to help us to counter negative emotions but also broaden our horizon of awareness, enhance our problem-solving skills, and help us to deal effectively with negative emotions, stress and depressive symptoms. They also cultivate trust, compassion, enhanced psychological well-being, better cognitive functioning, that is, increased attention and memory, increased performance, engagement and job satisfaction.
Researchers have indicated that we need three positive emotions for each negative emotion for optimal level of functioning. Over time, these positive emotions accumulate and put an individual on a trajectory of growth and strengthen agencies or resources for survival that may help them to thrive in the face of adversities, thus building resilience.
Resilience has been associated with longevity, lower risk of mental health illnesses, greater life satisfaction, happiness, connectedness with self, sense of meaning and purpose in life, and an internal locus of control. Resilience has also been known to impact the vital quotients of sustainability, namely Emotional Quotient (EQ), Adversity Quotient (AQ), and Social Quotient (SQ). It also has various health benefits like a healthy immune system, adequate amount of sleep, lower risk of heart-related diseases, better digestive health.
Cyberpsychology and digital wellbeing has gained traction over the last 18 months. What advice would you give to individuals? Ms Rani Dunn, Mr Marvin Daischeck and Ms Rethabile Tsephe
One fascinating characteristic of being human is the ability to improve in our line of thought . Thus the importance of a positive attitude particularly towards technology, and appreciate its existence.
When ask about digital well-being, one may look for “the best advice for your digital well-being” and you have probably seen people sharing their “top 5 tips”. However, no matter how convenient standardised solutions such as “be more balanced” sound, they do not work because they do not match our complex and heterogenous human realities. The truth is that for most of us, we are to differing extents dependent on technology.
Individual perception of technology use is key, and it has never been more important to create and maintain a healthy, positive relationship with technology and to support our digital well-being. Digital well-being is about how we engage with technology, not just screen time or hours spent online. With this, self-assessment of our emotional, mental and physical health is a useful place to start. This creates a mindset to becoming more aware of our current habits and noticing the positive and negative aspects that our relationship with the digital world is having in our life.
Some practical advice in working towards this is:
Be positive. Identify and focus on the positiveaspects of online and offline time and aim to build on these healthy habits. These will be unique for each of us. Ask what online activities and technology use feels good? And what offline activities do I enjoy? What makes me feel happy, healthier, connected and supported?
Build healthy habits. It is important to be patient and kind to ourselves; building healthy digital habits and a lifestyle that supports wellness takes time. Start with one or two things. For example, do you use apps for activities like meditation, exercise and/or relaxation that support you? When you meet up in person with others consider putting phones away? What can you do to find balance?
Create digital balance. We know that too much of anything is not good for us. While digital well-being isn’t just about how much time we spend using technology, it is still a relevant part of digital balance. Set physical boundaries for technology use, as we would with too much of anything. Technology should and can play a helpful role in our lives, finding the right balance is critical.
What are your thoughts on Transhumanism? And how should we use technology for good? – Mr Sarmad Ali Khan
The theoretical synthesis of technology with human bodies to enhance human working is not a new concept. For example, the use of memory chips to boost cognitive process of human being. Similarly, bionic applications such as auditory, orthopaedic and visual bionics are widely being used in medical industry. However, proponents of transhumanism take the concept to a whole new level. According to them, humans should integrate themselves physically with technology to achieve unnatural objectives: to increase lifespan, enhance intelligence through AI-enabled microchips.
The concept of cyborgs – a man with organic and bio-mechatronic body parts – is also a debatable. Militaries around the world are spending billions of dollars to develop cyborgs which would technically serve as killing machines with greater endurance, quicker healing powers, high precision and control as compared to humans.
Transhumanism basically aims to remap bodies, thought-process and behavior of human to a so-called refined or calculated one. Augmented bodies supported with brain-machine interfaces to push human limits mentally and physically is the gist of transhumanism.
To ensure objective use of technology, it is necessary to employ it in coherence with the natural processes without altering them. Research and development, in the field of science and technology, for facilitating human life has become important but to use it for remodelling humans themselves remain unethical and objectionable because of its nature and scope of use.
What would be some of the advice you would give to nations and organisations on the Future of Technology? – Mr Marek Boguszeiwcz, Co Chair of CyPSYCH &Dr Christina Liang Boguszeiwcz
The race towards Quantum supremacy is well on the way, this so-called Singularity event is highly dependent is seems on the Q age of computers. At the current rates we will set 100 Qubit Machines by 2029, or perhaps even earlier.
As Governments, enterprises, educational systems, social and many other have moved to towards the AI, it is prudent organization to relook at their current digital and security strategy. Embracing the use of quantum technology with NextGen decentralized ledger technology, could set them ahead of their competitors and also, providing a security safe environment.
For more information or to download the papers, please visit https://www.gfcyber.org/sig-cypsych/