Cyberbullies, Cyberactivists, Cyberpredators
Film, TV, and Internet Stereotypes
by Lauren Rosewarne
January 2016, 413pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3440-0
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3441-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Stereotypes of Internet users—mostly negative ones—abound. How many of these generalizations are true?

Written by an expert in media, popular culture, gender, and sexuality, this book surveys the common archetypes of Internet users—from geeks, nerds, and gamers to hackers, scammers, and predators—and assesses what these stereotypes reveal about our culture's attitudes regarding gender, technology, intimacy, and identity.

The Internet has enabled an exponentially larger number of people—individuals who are members of numerous and vastly different subgroups—to be exposed to one other. As a result, instead of the simple “jocks versus geeks” paradigm of previous eras, our society now has more detailed stereotypes of the undesirable, the under-the-radar, and the ostracized: cyberpervs, neckbeards, goths, tech nerds, and anyone with a non-heterosexual identity. Each chapter of this book explores a different stereotype of the Internet user, with key themes—such as gender, technophobia, and sexuality—explored with regard to that specific characterization of online users.

Author Lauren Rosewarne, PhD, supplies a highly interdisciplinary perspective that draws on research and theories from a range of fields—psychology, sociology, and communications studies as well as feminist theory, film theory, political science, and philosophy—to analyze what these stereotypes mean in the context of broader social and cultural issues. From cyberbullies to chronically masturbating porn addicts to desperate online-daters, readers will see the paradox in popular culture’s message: that while Internet use is universal, actual Internet users are somehow subpar—less desirable, less cool, less friendly—than everybody else.


  • Provides exhaustively researched and richly detailed information about the interplay between media representations of Internet users and gender, politics, technology, and society that is fascinating and fun to read
  • Presents findings that suggest that in spite of the Internet being so prevalent, technophobia is still an inherent subtext of many pop culture references to it
  • Considers how the vast majority of the portrayals of Internet user stereotypes are male—and evaluates how these male-dominated roles shape and are shaped by popular attitudes about sexuality, technology, intimacy, and identity
  • Written by Lauren Rosewarne, a widely published expert in the areas of modern media, popular culture, gender, and sexuality
Lauren Rosewarne, PhD, is a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Her published work includes the Praeger titles Part-Time Perverts: Sex, Pop Culture and Kink Management and American Taboo: The Forbidden Words, Unspoken Rules, and Secret Morality of Popular Culture as well as Sex in Public: Women, Outdoor Advertising and Public Policy; Periods in Pop Culture: Menstruation in Film and Television; Cheating on the Sisterhood: Infidelity and Feminism; andMasturbation in Film and Television: Screen, Society, Self. For more information, visit


"[A]n insightful resource. . . . Through the inquisitive nature of her writing, Rosewarne mindfully threads such complexities in the six witty chapters, each representing a unique viewpoint that challenges the traditional mindset of such socially effective issues. This book should be a permanent reference in the libraries of scholars, practitioners, and parents who are seeking an extensive, unconventional perspective and methodologies in understanding the factors associated with global media. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and faculty."—Choice, August 1, 2016

"Students, researchers, and readers interested in pop culture will benefit from the information detailed in this academic text. Study areas may include: technology, theater arts, sociology, psychology, or ethnography. Recommended."—ARBA, August 31, 2016

"Lauren Rosewarne has an encyclopedic knowledge of geeks, computer nerds, cyberbullies, cyberpredators, and other dodgy denizens of the Internet. This book displays not only her amazingly in-depth knowledge of these stereotypes as they are portrayed in popular culture but her sophisticated analysis of why they tend to be so negative, all wrapped up in entertaining prose."—Deborah Lupton, Centenary Professor, Faculty of Arts & Design, University of Canberra Author of Digital Sociology

"For scholars and consumers of media, this is a skillfully constructed, must-read text. Lauren Rosewarne’s contribution provides a much needed examination of contemporary and controversial discourses inherent within digital spaces and media technologies. This book makes a significant addition to the emergent scholarship on contemporary engagements with the nature of identity and stereotyping in the digital era. The taxonomy proposed has the ability to contextualize mainstream controversies currently manifesting in digital spaces that are eroding the experiences for some marginalized users."—Kishonna L. Gray, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Justice Studies, Eastern Kentucky University

"In Cyberbullies, Cyberactivists, Cyberpredators Lauren Rosewarne spotlights some of the dark and disturbing recesses of popular culture and the Internet. What happens, she asks, when past oddball stereotypes become mainstream . . . when yesterday's movies and today's virtual reality become—real? Cyberbullies deftly illuminates disparities between media representations and lovemedia-saturated reality."—Thomas J. MIsa, Director, Charles Babbage Institute (University of Minnesota) Editor of Gender Codes: Why Women are Leaving Computing

"This detailed and thoughtful treatment of mass-mediated depictions of the Internet (and its users) makes a significant contribution to contemporary media studies. The book systematically examines the way television and film characterize, narrativize, and often demonize the Internet and its users. Lauren Rosewarne offers an exhaustive study of representations of cybersex, cybergeography, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and cyberactivism. Her work is a must-read for students and scholars interested in the ways new technologies are incorporated and symbolized into modern society."—A. Susan Owen, PhD, Professor, University of Puget Sound; Coauthor of Bad Girls: Cultural Politics and Media Representations of Transgressive Women

"Timely, engaging, and witty, Dr. Rosewarne’s book explores a fascinating paradox: the real world’s enthusiastic and loving embrace of the Internet contrasted with the Web’s dangerous and often horrific reflection in the media. Focusing on the dramatic depiction of the users and losers hiding anonymously behind computer screens—netgeeks, nerds, neckbeards, haters, hackers, perverts, and gothic misanthropes, Dr. Rosewarne smoothly integrates her provocative viewpoint with hundreds of media examples and wide-ranging research in psychology, sociology, law, media criticism, gender, and racial studies. She succeeds in exposing our fears about this technology as a medium of crime, rape culture, terrorism, and xenophobia."—Dan Dinello, author of Technophobia! Science Fiction Visions of Posthuman Technology and Finding Fela: My Strange Journey to Meet the AfroBeat King

"Lauren Rosewarne’s book provides a deep perspective on how society has come to perceive, and represent, the many faces of people who have made their lives around the Internet and the technologies that drive it. Society’s relationship with technology, the Internet and its inhabitants is complicated and portrayed as something to be feared. Rosewarne takes the reader through a detailed and insightful view of six common cyber-stereotypes and provides a thoroughly referenced analysis of how they are portrayed in film, TV, the news and the Internet itself. Through this, Rosewarne examines the roots of this largely negative portrayal to an explanation of why the Internet and the people commonly associated with it, should be (mis)represented in this way. This is a fascinating book that anyone who is interested in how technology shapes society should read. This is especially true of the journalists, TV, and film writers and producers largely responsible for these views. Rosewarne’s book is a fascinating and highly readable analysis that is thoroughly researched and referenced."—Dr David Glance, Director, UWA Centre for Software Practice

"Cyberbullies, Cyberactivists, Cyberpredators addresses the construction of internet culture as both dangerous and threatening. Elucidating on such topics as the netgeek, hacker, and cybergoth, Rosewarne critiques representations of gender, race, sexuality, disability, and even vegetarianism in a lucidly written account of our technophobic media culture."—Sarah E. S. Sinwell, Assistant Professor, Department of Film and Media Arts, The University of Utah

"Rosewarne shines the light on cyber tropes and stereotypes used in a variety of media outlets. The text is an admirable mix of theoretical assessment and pop culture references that helps everyone from academics to casual media users understand the cumulative power of media representations." —Patrice A. Oppliger, PhD, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, Boston University

"Rosewarne covers a wide range of cyber-subjects and subjectivities in an approachable yet meticulous manner, analyzing hundreds of films, programs, games, and other key texts central to digital culture. Readers, students, and researchers interested in the Internet and cyber-culture as a site of power, desire, and identity will no doubt find this comprehensive and probing book essential reading."—Derek A. Burrill, Associate Professor, Dept. of Media and Cultural Studies, UC Riverside

"Lauren Rosewarne's Cyberbullies, Cyberactivists, Cyberpredators provides a rich and vibrant ethnography of several major online personality types. This book will introduce the reader to a cast of delightfully eccentric characters: the netgeek, the neckbeard, the bully, the hacker, the predator, the pervert. As Dr. Rosewarne clearly demonstrates, these Internet archetypes are sometimes beautiful, sometimes frightening, and always fascinating. Best of all, Dr. Rosewarne uses lively and engaging descriptive prose to show how these Internet personality types are represented (and often misrepresented) in a wide variety of popular films and television shows. This book will be of great interest to scholars who study the sociology, anthropology, psychology or history of the Internet, and anyone who wants to learn about the complexities of representation in popular culture."—Lewis Call, Associate Professor and Chair of History, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; Author of BDSM in American Science Fiction and Fantasy

"Lauren Rosewarne's Cyberbullies, Cyberactivists, Cyberpredators: Film, TV, and Internet Stereotypes is mind-boggling. The scholarship is beyond comprehensive and the analysis is astute, clear, and fair-minded. This book is a treasure for students of popular culture and for anyone interested in the demonization of technology."—David Anderegg, PhD, author of Nerds and Worried All the Time; professor of psychology at Bennington College
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