The Power of Slowness: Navigating Cyber Threats with Deliberation

A new approach to personal & corporate cybercrime avoidance – slowness!

By Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Managing Director – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

Is Slowness the Answer?

Let’s admit the truth.  Almost all cyber & online safety training is failing!

The Japanese seem to understand this issue well. They have a term called Shinrin-Yoku – The Art of Slowing Down!  They also have ‘Ukino’ to describe their attitude towards slow living, which literally means ‘to live in the moment and be far from common life matters’. It means taking a slower course in every part of your life.

So let’s consider slowness in how we can use it to avoid cybercrime!

Why Slowness?

In our fast-paced digital world, where cyber threats loom at every corner, it is essential to embrace the value of slowness when responding to these constant challenges.

The immediacy and urgency often associated with cyber threats can push us towards impulsive actions, potentially compromising our security and exacerbating the situation.

But there is significance in taking a deliberate and measured approach, advocating for “slowness” as a powerful strategy in navigating the complex landscape of cyber threats. By pausing, reflecting, seeking input, and consulting a trusted wingman, we can enhance our decision-making and better protect ourselves online.

  1. Avoiding Impulsive Reactions:

Our natural instinct may be to act swiftly, responding to the sense of urgency and sometimes fear that phishing emails may evoke. However, impulsivity can lead to hasty decisions, such as clicking on suspicious links or hastily providing sensitive information or jumping into an even more serious scam.

Slowness allows us to pause, take a step back, and consider the potential risks and consequences before taking any action. It enables a rational and measured response rather than succumbing to knee-jerk reactions that may leave us vulnerable to cyberattacks.

  1. Embracing the Power of Sleep:

Sleeping on a decision can be an effective strategy when dealing with any major decisions, especially involving money.

Often, scams & fraud arrive in the form of urgent emails or alarming messages designed to elicit immediate responses. By allowing ourselves time to sleep on it, we gain valuable perspective and clarity. Rested minds are better equipped to evaluate the situation, identify potential red flags, and make informed decisions, mitigating the risk of falling victim to phishing attempts, scams, or malware. This is especially true for anyone who has already be scammed and who is suffering from the trauma following that experience.

  1. Seeking Input and Collaboration:

Facing these scams & cyber threats alone can be overwhelming, especially for pre-adults and the elderly – but even for adults in the workplace too.

Consulting with a trusted friend, family member, or colleague can provide fresh insights and alternative perspectives. By involving a wingman, we expand our understanding and decision-making capacity. They can help us identify potential risks, weigh the pros and cons of different actions, and offer valuable advice in navigating the situation. Collaboration enhances our ability to make informed choices and reinforces a sense of shared responsibility in the digital realm.

  1. Practicing Digital Hygiene:

Slowness in responding to cyber threats extends beyond individual incidents; it also applies to our overall digital habits. Taking the time to develop and maintain good digital hygiene practices is crucial. Regularly updating software, employing strong and unique passwords, and being cautious with sharing personal information (especially on social media) are examples of deliberate actions that safeguard our digital lives. Slowing down to implement these practices can prevent potential threats and minimize the impact of cyber attacks.

  1. Cultivating Mindful Digital Citizenship:

Slowness in the face of scams, fraud, and cyber threats is not merely about individual actions; it also encompasses a broader approach to digital citizenship.

It involves cultivating mindfulness, deliberateness, purposefulness, responsibility, and ethical behavior in our online interactions. By pausing to consider the potential consequences of our actions, treating others with respect, and promoting a culture of cybersecurity awareness, we contribute to a safer digital environment for all.

Looking Deeper to the Advantage of Slowness

After the pandemic, the levels of fear and trauma have risen throughout the world. Still to this day everyone is stressed and uncertain!

Our impulsiveness is often triggered by latent fears, uncertainty, and even trauma. This then becomes how triggered emotions such as fear, panic, or urgency, prompt us to act quickly to resolve the situation without us even taking the time to fully understand it.

This rush to take immediate action can cloud our judgment and make us vulnerable to further exploitation. By consciously pausing and resisting the impulse to act hastily, we create space for critical thinking and a more rational assessment of the situation. This enables us to identify warning signs, evaluate potential risks, and make informed decisions that are less likely to compromise our security.

Slowness in responding to potential scams, fraud, and cyber threats is not solely about individual actions; it is about cultivating a new mindset – mindfulness in all that we do!

We need to be more aware of our online behavior, having situational awareness both in the physical world and online. Slowing down and considering the potential consequences of our actions before acting, sharing information, engaging in online discussions, or interacting with others fosters a safer digital environment for all. By prioritizing mindfulness and responsibility, we contribute to a collective effort in combatting cyber threats and promoting a healthier online ecosystem.

But Equally as Important

By slowing down to make better decisions, safer decisions, and actions, we also relieve the massive stress and potential guilt from our daily lives.

We know, deep down when we make good decisions and when we are rushed. The more we make bad decisions or rushed decisions the more guilt and stress builds up inside us! By slowness, we reduce our stress and feel happier about what we do. Who couldn’t use more of that in our personal and work lives?

Summary

The importance of slowness in responding to cyber threats cannot be overstated.

By resisting impulsive reactions, prioritizing rest and reflection, seeking input from others, practicing good digital hygiene, practicing safe actions online, and cultivating mindful digital citizenship, we can navigate the digital and real worlds with greater resilience and protect ourselves from potential harm. Slowing down allows us to make informed decisions, stay vigilant, and keep our cool.

Slowness in Your Life!

Here are a few articles you might want to consider:

PLEASE NOTE: Psychology Clarification

The following specific modalities within the practice of psychology are restricted to psychologists appropriately trained in the use of such modalities:

  • Diagnosis: The diagnosis of mental, emotional, or brain disorders and related behaviors.
  • Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals to understand and resolve unconscious conflicts.
  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of trance in which individuals are more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a type of therapy that teaches individuals to control their bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, and pain.
  • Behavioral analysis: Behavioral analysis is a type of therapy that focuses on changing individuals’ behaviors. It is often used to treat conditions such as autism and ADHD.
    Neuropsychology: Neuropsychology is a type of psychology that focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior. It is often used to assess and treat cognitive impairments caused by brain injuries or diseases.

SCARS and the members of the SCARS Team do not engage in any of the above modalities in relationship to scam victims. SCARS is not a mental healthcare provider and recognizes the importance of professionalism and separation between its work and that of the licensed practice of psychology.

SCARS is an educational provider of generalized self-help information that individuals can use for their own benefit to achieve their own goals related to emotional trauma. SCARS recommends that all scam victims see professional counselors or therapists to help them determine the suitability of any specific information or practices that may help them.

SCARS cannot diagnose or treat any individuals, nor can it state the effectiveness of any educational information that it may provide, regardless of its experience in interacting with traumatized scam victims over time. All information that SCARS provides is purely for general educational purposes to help scam victims become aware of and better understand the topics and to be able to dialog with their counselors or therapists.

It is important that all readers understand these distinctions and that they apply the information that SCARS may publish at their own risk, and should do so only after consulting a licensed psychologist or mental healthcare provider.

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The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of the Society of Citizens Against Rleationship Scams Inc. The author is solely responsible for the content of their work. SCARS is protected under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) section 230 from liability.

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