Hate in a new form welcome to the Internet!

cyber bully 3 finalThe Internet is a place where people are able to express themselves freely. People are allowed to openly comment on daily topics that occur on the World Wide Web. Although the Internet has allowed for this free form of expression it does have a dark side.  The article “How the Internet created an Age of Rage” discusses the negative aspects of the age of computer and technology. The author concentrates on the idea of people keeping their identities anonymous. Not revealing who they are allows commenters to express extreme forms anger through comments without fearing the consequences. Both celebrities and the common person have witnessed or experienced commenters leaving ruthless statements to attack others. I agree with the author, people hide behind their computer screens and abuse the power of the Internet. Being anonymous gives them more courage to say hurtful and truly cruel things to others online. The importance of keeping the identity a secret was truly shown in the study done on children during Halloween. Children who had costumes would most likely steal, if money was left, compared to children who did not wear a costume. This very study shows how important it is to conceal our identities when we know we are doing something wrong. What really screamed out about this article is how closely connected it is to cyberbullying. One can only question did cyberbullying start from aggressive people on the Internet? Bullying has existed for a very long time but the age of technology has allowed for an even more convenient way for people to bully others. The article mentions how Stewart Lee has been extremely bullied throughout the Internet. He has witnessed countless insults and threatening comments. It is a bit difficult to relate to a celebrity and consider mean comments such as these as bullying. It is bullying but in a new form; a form where people have even more power because they are able to hide their identity and avoid the consequences. A more relatable victim is Amanda Todd who suffered from extreme cyberbullying and it lead to her committing suicide.  These two examples show that no one is exempt from the rage of the Internet; it can happen to just about anyone. I personally have not experienced any forms of cyberbullying; cyberbullying came in at a later time to affect me. I was bullied the old fashion way, in person. As a child it is very challenging to overcome the bullying and sometimes you do not over come it. You live with the fact that in the past people intentionally tried to hurt you. The only difference is that in cyberbullying people are attacked more frequently and these comments stay on the Internet forever. Not only are people attacked more frequently they are also attacked by many more people. The Internet is a huge place and people around the globe can comment on a single post, blog or picture.  I do not think I would have been able to deal with mean comments directed towards me. It was hard enough dealing with bullying five days a week but dealing with it all time must be a challenging. As we speak there are people on the Internet preying on other’s weaknesses. They hide behind their computer screens hoping, wishing and praying that no one discovers who they are; the person behind the screen must be kept a secret because trolling wouldn’t be as much fun if the world knew exactly who they were.

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19 comments

  1. hillary601

    I was thinking about this topic last week with the Why I Blog post. I hate that people write such mean things to others on their blogs or vlogs or whatever it may be. In the end, I view it as all the same form if bullying. I know that in blogs, comments usually go through an acceptance process. You have to accept if you’re going to allow a comment on your page. I can imagine that YouTube does not have this feature because crazy death threats are made everyday. Regardless of that, there are places that these “haters” can say their negative comments. Like I said before, One should not offend a person if they don’t know them. Everyone has their own life story with their own troubles that they go through. That is why I don’t think this is acceptable in any form. It is all the same as physical bullying in my opinion and it needs to be stopped. I think that the people who put up death threats on the internet should get fined or something. There should be some type of punishment. It has been all over the news that people who write stupid things on twitter or Facebook about making bombs or things like that have gone to jail. I think the same thing should happen to the people who make threats over the internet. It is offensive and messed up and hurtful. I really liked this article because it showed Stewart Lee’s point of view. He was just trying to entertain and everyone wished death upon him; it’s just wrong.

  2. lisak0

    This post shows both the positive and negative sides of the internet. The positive being that there are so many people out in this world who love to share their work to the public. These people have confidence and pride, which is not necessarily a bad trait. Then comes along the negative which involves nasty people who get pleasures out of being cruel and horrible to the bloggers who happily post their piece of work. I’m sure the bloggers or hosts know that they will receive a wide range of comments, but I believe that they don’t expect the negative comments to have a high level of horridness. It honestly sucks, and I wish there were more ways to prevent such comments.
    As you stated and implied, people hiding behind ‘masks’ really have a higher sense of confidence and nasty behaviors. They feel safe because no one will figure out their identity. It does state in the article that Sarah Bee often e-mailed and contacted nasty commenters and called them out. A tiny bit of anger boiled inside of me when the commenters replied with a simple, “I’m sorry.” They should react more sincerely and state something that invokes that they will never bully again. I hope these people who were called out got embarrassed and learned their lessons!
    It’s sad to see that you were once bullied, but I’m very happy that it stopped and hopefully you became stronger because of that! Bullying is just horrible, and I truly hope that there is no more commenting under an anonymous character. All sites should create tools that prevent people from commenting such negative words, or I hope there is a filter that automatically erases bullying and hurtful words.
    I wish people were kind and loving.

  3. mjdenis38

    The internet definitely opened up a new forum for hate. As a newspaper columnist, everything I write is posted on the internet and can be commented on. And if I write something that somebody doesn’t agree with, they will post hurtful comments on my column page. It is so much easier to freely express yourself online, without regard to the feelings of others. And, that falls on both the blogger and the person making a comment. More often than not, it is the commenter who posts hurtful remarks. It is so easy now to be an anonymous person using a username and random picture, and post without regard on another person’s blog who you don’t know hateful comments. Today it doesn’t even matter what your blog post is about, somebody will just post a negative comment intended to make you or other commenters feel bad. The overall goal of the troll is not even to debate you on your ideas, it’s to bully you. Youtube is notorious for this problem, and now comments on videos can be disabled. Comments can also be moderated, and more blogging sites should do this to prevent such negativity on blog posts. People become so different just because of what they can do behind a computer screen and under a psuedonym. I can relate to Stewart Lee because he just wanted to entertain people and express his opinions, and he ended up getting death threats and angry messages. People can be relentless, but the best way to way to ignore the hate is to look for the positive comments and to continue writing what you like.

  4. mlew210

    This topic is on my mind a LOT. It’s something I find all the time when I go to sites like IGN and PCGamer. People leave rude and unnecessary comments with no purpose other than to put someone else down. I find the psychological aspect behind this to be fascinating. What about anonymity gives people courage? You said that it had to do with the fact that they are able to hide behind a computer screen, but I think it has to do with something much bigger. In high school, I took a class on genocides that have happened in recent history. The teacher talked about the psychology behind killing, and how easy it is for humans to become desensitized. The one genocide I found most interesting was the Rwandan genocide. I even read a book about how the killers were able to slaughter their own neighbors. It boiled down to reducing their kills to animals. Hutus weren’t killing people; they were killing Tutsis, and Tutsis were nothing more than pigs for slaughter. I find it similar to being online in that we don’t see the people on the other side of the monitor. We talk to nothing more than a name on the screen. We insult nothing more than a name on the screen. Humans have this incredible capacity for cruelty, and it is seen in something as terrible as genocide, but also on something as innocent as the internet. I agree that being anonymous gives people the courage to do things they normally wouldn’t do, but I also think there is another component to it that enables people to say things they would never say up front to live human being.

  5. hg163

    You are completely correct. Having the freedom to not have your name be attached to your online work allows people to be more vicious than they normally would be in real life. The Internet is probably the most important invention in history, and pretty much anything you need to do can be done online, like notes for class, news updates, and shopping. But the Internet can also bring out the most ugly side in people. Going onto sites like YouTube, and even social media sites like Twitter, gives people the courage to post such hurtful and ignorant things. I was reading an article on Buzzfeed just now about what people on Twitter are saying about the Indian-American woman who recently won Miss America. Being an Indian-American myself, seeing some of this things were hurtful to me. People were ACTUALLY making references to Al-Qaeda and terrorism, and all but saying that an Indian-Americans (along with other foreigners) cannot be considered “Americans”!! It’s appalling how ignorant people are and that they can’t even take 5 seconds out of their time to look at a map and notice that India is no where near the Middle East. Social media sites like Twitter give people the freedom to showcase their hatred and ignorance. In a way, this could be considered a silver lining though. Thankfully these people are in the minority, even on the Internet, and the mass will generally correct them (such as what Buzzfeed did) to the point where people no longer take what they say seriously. Don’t get me wrong, cyber bullying is serious and there are many people out there who do this, but it is pleasing that the vast majority (or what seems like it) do not partake in this and “publicly shame” them in some instances.

  6. karencronin

    I agree with Yadybel that negative and hateful comments online are a form of cyber bullying. It does not matter where (in person or online) or how (with your voice or typing words) one does it, it all falls into the category of bullying. While there are numerous incidents of in person bullying going on, I wonder how many cyber bullies would actually have the nerve to read what they type to someone in person. My own personal guess would be a majority of them would not repeat their typed words face to face with someone. So what makes the people who couldn’t bully face to face, do it online. Anonymity certainly is a major reason. But still, why? How does a regular, normal person turn into a madman on the internet. If they are looking to express their criticism, why not do it in a more constructive manner. Voicing an articulated, well versed, critical response will gain a person more respect, whether anonymous or not, than a rash, negative and hateful critical response. An articulated critical response may even get more comments and discussion. A hateful critical response will only foster more hate, either those agreeing with the hate or those hating the cyber bully.

  7. briellebuis

    I enjoyed how Yadybel brought up the study about children who were more willing to take the money if they were wearing a costume. This is interesting because it shows not only what Yadybel mentioned about how people are more willing to do something that is wrong if they are hidden, but it also shows how this is a reaction from such a young age. Today, children are on the computer and know how to use technology as early as their toddler years. This has some benefits but it also causes many children to be exposed to different and potentially harmful content that could become a bad influence on them. Where school yard bullies used to be the only thing to worry about, now there are cyber bullies that cause what used to be a safe zone of the house to become yet another place where a child could be bullied. However, this does not just begin and end with children. In games like second life, there is even bullying from one avatar to another and in a place that is meant to be a utopian society, there is still racism and bullying that exists in the cyber world. Which is ironic because this game is often a way for people to escape. However, because of cyber bullying there is no escape from hurtful people. In the same way, blogs are meant to be used to express creativity and personality, but because of trolling and other negative commenters, there is no escape and what used to be an enjoyable experience has turned negative for many people. This cyber bullying has also directly effected Facebook, Twitter, and other on line social forums. Which shows how the internet as resourceful as it is, can be a negative thing for many people.

  8. ktomiak25

    This article had me thinking a lot about what I commented on last week’s post. I truly believe in the motto, “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. What is it about the internet that makes people disregard human emotion? I remember in middle school we had a lecture about bullying, and specifically cyber bullying, as we were at the age of beginning to text and be on computers without adult supervision. I remember at one point the statement was made that the distance between yourself and the person you are bullying is what makes it easier than bullying in person, because you aren’t there to see how your words hurt the victim. I think that is really true- if people could see how their hurtful words resonated with the victim, human consciousness would set in and (maybe) the bully would back off. When there is no way to receive a human signal in return, the bully continues to attack, until ultimately they get bored. This relates also to my comment from last week because I believe there is no need to write a negative comment on anyone’s posts, even if it is not bullying. I think if you put yourself out on the internet you do need to be accountable and expect some negative feedback, but at the same time I do not think it is entirely necessary for mankind to constantly put each other down. Can’t we celebrate the good, and try to get along? These ideas really can be used beyond the internet and into every day life.

  9. wilschiu

    I am a troll, and not even like a seasonal part-time one, more like the CEO of a Forbes 500. There was a time circa 2007 when I frequented a completely anonymous message board called 4chan. The site itself was known for its lack of censorship of content and rules; it created this subculture where it was cool to be jaded and lack empathy. Ironically, most of the cyber bullys were bullied at some point in their life, and the internet was a tool for them to get their revenge. Anonymity became more than just the power to hide behind a screen, members of the site took it almost as a collective identity: Anonymous. Thankfully, this group has become watered down over the years due to mainstream exposure. While Anonymous may have lost its former glory as the internet hate machine, its legacy still remains in the popularity of trolling.

    Although a lot of what the article says is correct, I believe that they have the motives wrong. Cyberbullying and trolling wasn’t really done out of anger, it was mostly done out of boredom. Hurting people was done “for teh lulz”; the ideology that nothing is sacred in pursuit of cheap laughs. You can’t chastise a troll, it doesn’t work. Acknowledging the problem, as Lee has, is only a sign of weakness. It lets the trolls know they’ve won, that they have been able to hurt you and make you “butthurt”. The best advice I can give someone who is a victim of trolling is to not feed the troll; don’t respond or acknowledge them and don’t show any signs of distress.

  10. jordannao

    There is no doubt that there are very mean people out there and they are out to hurt others. The internet, which is a great tool is also another tool to be blamed for this new and easy access that we call “Cyber Bullying”. This type of bullying is another form of bullying that is done online through aggressive and hurtful words that people tend to put on the internet. This type of bullying has caused many people to physically hurt themselves and even death! I am familiar with this website called a ask.fm and the idea of it is where people can you ask you any question about your life or leave comments. I joined the website for a few days and noticed how hurtful things can turn out to be and how a simple answer from someone that you don’t know can change your overall mood and overall feeling about yourself. Websites like these that allows antonyms people to ask things and answer certain comments about ones persona should not be allowed because if the comment they made was important or if it was good they wold had shown their identity, instead of hiding behind a screen with no name.

    Rude comments should be kept to our selves and that same goes to all of us in the classroom or in the professional world as well. We never know how others are going to interpret what we are trying to say and how gentle or sensitive the person we are trying to reach is. On the other hand, I am not saying everyone should be nice and be fake to everyone. There is a big difference between constructive comments and mean comments. We are allowed to state our opinions and what we believe on, but in a way that adds context on what the person is trying to say.

  11. megansmurray

    Your post really gets down to the facts: Online anonymity makes Cyberbullying easy and consequence-less. On facebook there is certainly less anonymity, and while there is still cyberbullying, there is certainly less than say, youtube. Youtube is rather well known for its terrible comments and huge amount of cyberbullying (Rebecca Black, anyone?). I personally have I video on youtube, and would say about 1 /10 comments is negative, and of the negative ones, about 75% would be considered cyberbullying. The video is a cosplay video from about 6 years ago, and while admittedly it’s not anything special, it is amazing the amount of foul language and rude comments that are made. For example, “u lot are the gaa[…]ayest ppl ive met on earth-agreed no questions”, or just a nice simple “WTF.” Brushing off nasty comments can be a lot easier said than done:it still feels pretty sucky when someone just completely flames you. While often times cyberbullying comments are responded to by people who liked the video, it doesn’t necessarily make things better: it just becomes a flame war. While one person may be standing up for the poster, it just becomes two people who are both being bullies.
    But I’ll admit it, I’ve posted rude comments that I would never say to anyone in real life. Especially if you are typing online with others in real time (a video game, or chat room), there are plenty of rude, “heat of the moment” comments many users make. I don’t think cyberbullying can ever be completely stopped, but people can certainly admit to and apologize for unnecessary rude behavior.

  12. tedrihn

    First of all as a victim of bullying in the past I completely agree with you. The internet has completely changed the way kids treat and act towards each other. I for one remember being the subject of an ongoing joke during middle school and it was absolutely horrible to sit in class five days a week for the whole school year and hear that I was stupid over and over again. But that was in person, and I was able to deal with it and realize that I’m smarter and more talented than the bully. To be honest I don’t think I would be able to handle cyber-bullying the way it is today. With a whole world full of anonymous tyrants that tear down or bully anyone who is different from they are, it’s kind of hard to believe that we don’t see bullying more often in the news. And on another note, I completely agree with the opinion that anonymity creates a facade for the bully where they are comfortable saying the most absurd and gruesome things to other people. Personally I believe that constructive criticism is a useful tool but the comments that are left by readers are absolutely nothing like the stuff that is acceptable to reply to a post. This anonymity, without completely giving up faith on the majority of the human race, is probably the most likely culprit to these heinous acts of cruelty. If the internet could get rid of anonymous posts and comments all together, I believe that about 80 percent of these comments would completely stop showing up. It is to my belief that the majority of people don’t have the guts to say something like that to your face so why would they say something over the internet if your name and address was attached to your comment. To me it just doesn’t make sense, because people know that they won’t receive any repercussions to their actions so they think its okay to be as mean and as cruel as they can, when it’s completely unnecessary.

  13. moegor94

    This post highlights the seriousness of cyber-bullying and trolling on the web that Tim Adams brought to light in his article “Online Commenting: The Age of Rage”. People all over the worldwide web take advantage of the anonymity offered on many blogs and spew hate and violence all over the Internet. It is so commonplace now days that the people who are partaking in this type of behavior are normal everyday people. This issue has been ignored in the past but recently, after many tragic events caused by cyber bullying, a new light has been placed on the issue and it is showing people that this problem is a lot more serious than originally thought. Studies have taken place examining this kind of behavior in people and they have yielded some surprising results. Tim Adams described and experiment where the percentage of people that will actually do something they know is wrong skyrocketed from 8% to 80% when anonymity was added. That is a scary number. That means that way more than the majority of people looking at blogs are willing to post a hateful comment. I feel that that fact makes it clear what should be done. The level of anonymity on blogs should be limited I feel. Poster should have to have some lose tie to the things they post on the Internet so that there is a potential liability for your actions. If bloggers require that posters need to have an account with the platform the blog is on, or that they give a valid email address to comment the level of trolling on websites would drastically decrease.

  14. Miss Bombshell

    So theirs no doubt that cyber bullying is a topic that touches many people in some form or fashion. And as a victim of bullying, growing up it never was a day that I didn’t ask myself why. Why was I the victim of another’s hatred? But later I found out that those who were bullying me only were doing what they were being exposed to in their home environment. But that’s still not to say that’s an excuse for their behavior. As far as cyber bullying goes people feel safe when their identities are hidden because an identity is more than just a name and face it’s someone’s character and deepest secrets and fears. When one gets a chance to refrain from judgment but has the opportunity to judge others it creates a sense of freedom. A freedom that allows them to escape the harshness of their reality without thinking what harm it may cause others. Within this digital age we now live in it, it has created many great opportunities and also many ways for people to be unkind. I think a way for people to stray away from cyber bullying is to think if this comment was said to them how would it make them feel.

  15. gisellehernandez412

    It really is crazy how different people will act when they’re hidden “behind the screen.” The nasty and hateful comments that people leave on the Internet are absolutely harmful–as shown specifically through Amanda Todd. The fact that anonymous posters can impact someone else’s life so negatively just indicates how serious the issue of online anonymity is. I do, however, see both sides. This isn’t to say that I agree with the idea that people should be able to post anonymously, but there is the simple fact that anonymity prevents responses from being dry and dull, as indicated in the article. But there needs to be some sort of compromise; we can’t have a completely anonymous group of people and risk the health of others. However, the Internet without anonymity would be completely different in both good and terrible ways. This really stumps me because how can this issue be resolved without sacrificing the constructive aspects of anonymity on the internet?

  16. moyster60

    People may view me as a horrible person but it is my sincere belief that people should have the right to remain completely anonymous. Unfortunately the reality is that if you put yourself in a position where you can hurt there will be chances that you will. Direct bullying is different as the bullies may confront you even when you try to escape. However, in blogging you put yourself at a vulnerable public position and therefore, you must be mentally prepared to face the consequences. I believe that it would be naïve to think otherwise. The beauty about being anonymous is that if you, the blogger, decide to drop from the internet, the commenters can’t find you just as you can’t find them. Don’t get me wrong; cyber-bullying is a terrible thing, but in the end forcing everyone to reveal their identities is not the answer. That would lead to the more pressing matter of personal information being more easily hacked and obtained; something that I personally fear. In my opinion, it would be much better to place limits on who sees your posts, monitor comments and block commenters that offend you, or if it bothers you that much drop the activity all together.
    Looking at politicians and celebrities you may see the point I am trying to make. These people get bashed by the media all the time and literally every single decision they make is put under scrutiny. However, they must deal with this because that is the lifestyle they chose. They chose to be famous and put themselves on that pedestal that makes other people pay attention to them. Is it right to judge them? Maybe not; however, that is the consequences they must face otherwise they can step down from their pedestal and no one would really care what they do at that point.

  17. evanhuaru

    I agree on how people can abuse their powers of anonymity by hiding behind a keyboard and out right bashing on the writer just to spite them. Just because you may not agree with the writer, it doesn’t mean you can openly say awful things about them when you don’t even know them. On the internet and even in real life, when a group of people have a strong opinion on a certain topic, others will ultimately follow the group just to fit in. In a psychological sense it can be similar to cyber bullying, because when others see people say atrocious comments, they think it’s okay to do the same. This influences people to unnecessarily bully or attack others when they normally wouldn’t. A great example of this would be when Sarah Bee replied to inappropriate comments, people would say they were sorry like they didn’t even know what they were doing was wrong. However, anonymity can also be very important in modern society. People don’t fully express themselves because there is more emphasis on social pressures such as peer pressure or fear of being alienated. Anonymity is a way to let people fully express their opinions without feeling those kinds of social pressures. That power of anonymity should not be abused to attack others, but used appropriately to respond to another comment. Even though some people use anonymity as an excuse to cyber bully, anonymity is also an essential aspect in our lives to support our right for freedom of speech.

  18. dmhgs

    Bullying is made simple on the internet. You can intentionally hurt someone without getting into trouble by hiding your identity. I view the internet as a sort of magnifying glass; anything you say can be intensified through it. In the same way though when reading it I see it also as being intensified. One’s reaction to the already overzealous negative comments can be magnified as well because it’s coming from an unknown source and continues to get greater in numbers as there is no real way to tackle the problem. It’s a vicious circle. I do however think that there is a way to get away from cyber bullying. Not to sound awful but you are the one who puts yourself out there and who makes yourself vulnerable to this bullying but that also means have the power to take yourself out of the situation.

  19. Pingback: Really? You’re not this mean, are you? | Broadside

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