Internet: The Dark Side

The single greatest and most important event in the history of humankind, in this humble writers opinion, is the ‘invention’ of the internet. It has turned a world, which for so long was so vast and wide and everywhere else was ‘far away,’ into a world that is tiny; where every human being is no more than a click away from any other human being alive.

Where is the news? On the internet. Where is our entertainment? On the internet. Where are our friends and family? Speaking to me on the internet. Where is the answer to almost any question or query we can conjure up? On the internet.

Where do the depraved, the angry, the vicious, the vile, the nasty roam freely? On the internet.

We know all about the dangers of the internet, or think we do. This piece is not about the medias favourite villain; the pedophile. No, this is about the less scary sounding, but equally dangerous, BULLY! Or cyber-bully if you will.

I am a huge fan of forums and discussion boards where people can, in theory, talk about anything under the sun with like minded people and have either an enjoyable time discussing the best ways to grow your Sunflowers, or get into a heated debate on the pros and cons of nuclear power. This is free speech at its finest. Where everyone has a voice and is allowed to use it freely and constructively if possible. However, not everyone out there seems to understand what free speech is.

Free speech is not an open forum to bully, intimidate, ridicule and push down someone just because it gives you some sort of power trip. Across the world today, especially among young people in social media, cyber-bullying is something that is almost impossible to control and keep an eye on. Bullying in general is often hard to spot and stamp out, but when they persons being bullied can’t even hide in the privacy of their own bedroom! Well, this is a crime of the highest order.

When I was young I experienced what I would call ‘mild bullying’ in school by both the pupils and the teachers. For most kids it might not have been too bad, but I was generally speaking, more sensitive to words and actions than most. It didn’t take much to upset me. This is not a negative trait by any means because I’ve grown into an adult with a large amount of empathy for people as a whole (even if my empathy comes out as anger towards aggressors). But it shows that not all of us are the same and what might be considered friendly banter by some, is hurtful to someone else.

It’s a good thing I’ve toughened up quite a bit as an adult because some of the things I read on discussion forums (they are upsetting for sure) had I heard those things said about me when I was younger, well, I can’t say for sure how I would have reacted. It’s almost as if for some people, when they get onto a computer in the privacy of their own home, they feel they have a right to turn into some sort of monster that can insult, ridicule and abuse other people without any consequences. And I don’t mean as a result of a heated discussion. But to just pick someone at random it seems, and abuse and abuse and abuse and abuse … and then just turn off their computers and go to sleep????

I feel so sorry for some of the kids in todays world. I could escape a bad school day by coming home and being surrounded by people I loved. This was before mobile phones and home computers. Now, these kids have no escape. The bullying continues with text messages; abuse on social media; abuse in online forums. Not only are they being attacked, but they are being attacked, potentially, in front of the WHOLE WORLD! No wonder so many young people are taking their own lives. When they think that even if the whole world is not abusing them, they are seeing it happen and not helping them to stop.

Please, be you young or old, but the next time you feel like saying something to someone in a moment of anger, remember, if you wouldn’t say it to their face like a real person, then don’t get brave behind a keyboard.

And if you are one of those people who just goes online and gets kicks out of attempting to destroy random peoples moral and spirit, well, you are who I feel sorry for most. You are the loneliest person in the world.

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9 responses to “Internet: The Dark Side

  1. It’s a sick, sad and true state of the modern world. So much power in people’s hand’s, and the one’s who have that power are too ignorant to know what it can do and the truly destructive force of it.
    You said that there is no escape, and you’re right. This is not just some platform that’s limited to the local vicinity around who are involved, this is global, so people who have never heard of the person in question can spew their vitriol through poisoned virtual pen with anonymity in response to stunted information, (as it will be posted by someone who wants to put them down in the first place), and it will turn from something unpleasant to a horror of previously unimaginable proportions. I am glad I am not a teenager now.

  2. It’s truly a shame. I believe people think anonymity gives them power. And I totally agree with you, “if you wouldn’t say it to their face like a real person, then don’t get brave behind a keyboard”.

    • Yes, Melissa. That’s it. They genuinely believe their anonymity gives them license to say anything they want. Truly shocking some of the things I’ve seen written.

  3. It used to be that when you had something to say, you had to say it to someone’s face and risk getting punched. The way it was meant to be. *winks* …

  4. You make good points, and you write them clearly and thoughtfully. Many of us have grown so much through the internet, but always, there are those who use it to destroy, instead of to learn and love and share. My hope is that there are more lovers than destroyers out there!

  5. Our editor just shared with us, that her friend’s boy was the high schooler in our small Carolina town, that shot himself in the head in the halls of our high school, a while back. Suddenly this felt entirely too close to home. She told us that the kids there were crucifying this poor kid for weeks and as you said. When he went home to find relief, the internet was there blinding him with the slander going on even after the school bell rings. This is getting out of control with our young people. I fear what will happen if we don’t find a way to stop this now. And the more you see suicide, it’s as if these kids become Martyrs to the cause, influencing more teens to take the same steps as if to show the pain their going through. Excellent post Jay! And on a lighter note, Inion and I have nominated you for “The Reality Blog” Award. It’s posts like this, that make you the perfect nominee. Just head over to our blog for the details and congrats my friend!

    • I’m so sorry to hear about the young boy! Unfortunately it’s not all that uncommon these days. I’m shocked that I just wrote that last sentence but that’s the way it is.
      And I get nominated for something? Sweet!! Who runs this award thingy? Does this mean I now have to nominate twenty other people??? (I can be incredibly lazy) hahah
      And continued thanks for reading my posts ladies 🙂

  6. I like the Internet because I’ve met people from all over the world that I’d never know otherwise. The Internet, though, takes time away from more important things I should be doing with my life. I know, no one forces me to go on the Internet, and I try to limit my online time and spend more time with my family and reading and visiting friends.

    Thanks for following my blog.

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