The Fault In Our Internet

At the beginning of the semester my professor asked by raise of hands did people think the Internet was a good thing. Majority of the class raised their hand. Right as I was about to also raise mine, I started thinking about cyber bullying and chose not raise my hand.

There are so many pros to the Internet, but to quote spiderman “with great power comes great responsibility.” The Internet gives people a screen to hide behind and become whoever they want to be. This can, and does, lead to vast amounts of cyber bullying especially to young women like myself.

Last year I was a victim to cyber bullying and harassment. I published a story for Her Campus Chapel Hill, an online magazine, called A Girl’s Guide To Football. I meant for the story to be taken lightly, more as a these are the basics to football. Many of my female friends said how great it was and how they have no clue what is going on during a game but now understand it better. Not all my readers were so kind, and after the article was posted my twitter was soon blasted by an anonymous person calling me extremely mean names and for the article to be taken down. He saw my article as derogatory towards women and that I was saying no woman understands the game. I saw his point of view, but thought his comments could have been said in a nicer way. I blocked him and tried to put the situation out of my mind.

My story is nothing new and a pretty mild version of what occurs on the Internet on a daily basis. People are bombarded with cruel and hateful messages constantly by others hiding behind their computers. Whereas I took a less direct route and blocked the person hoping he would go away, others take a more direct approach. Now cyber bullies can be blasted online with twitter sites such as everydaysexism and YesYoureRacist who stream sexist and racists tweets for everyone to see.

Unfortunately, with sites such as Twitter, users can create, and recreate, accounts without their names attached and hold no responsibility for their actions. I think Twitter and police forces need to better work together to help solve the problem of cyber bullying. Twitter is finally taking progressive steps such as a report abuse button, but without some form of legal assistance backing them up I don’t see any real progress.

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One comment

  1. Larry · February 9, 2015

    I think the Internet as a whole is a good thing, of course. However, social media is a subset of the Internet. The Internet is a vehicle. What you describe is an application or one use of the Internet, and yes, the Internet, or social media, has enabled people to cyberbully and much worse. Would someone publish a hate letter in print under their name, likely not. Would they stand up in public and spew hate, likely not. But they will use social media for hate, cyberbullying, and worse. There are countless stories of suicide in young adults related to social media. Its an unfortunate and likely unintended consequence of what the Internet has become, and we cannot even imagine what will be 5 or 10 years from now.

    Like

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