Friday, December 04, 2009

Hiding Behind Your Keyboard

(Picture courtesy of Flickr)

In the world we live in today, it can get a little scary to see the things that people will write on online forums or even on Youtube.

For example, on a certain popular online forum in Singapore, its Terms of Use includes this:

“All members are advised not to use any form of obscenities and vulgarities in your posts/threads and/or PMs. This includes the use of language as well as images… Don't attack others. Personal attacks on others will not be tolerated. Challenge others' points of view and opinions, but do so respectfully and thoughtfully… without insult and personal attack…”

Yet the site is one where vulgarities and coarse language fly unbridled. Away from the keyboard, would the same person still be as mean-spirited and vulgar and coarse in person? I suppose to a certain extent, but hiding behind that keyboard sure gives him the boost to behave five times worse.

It blows my mind.

If a friend shares that he is getting depressed and having negative thoughts, would you tell him to go kill himself and make a quick ending of it?

If a friend celebrates a victory, would you be a cold blanket and insinuate that “something” must be up?

Sure, you can argue that on the vast Web, there are no such things as ‘friends’… but surely there are still communities and basic human respect?

Please… Don’t dance under the “freedom of speech” banner and conveniently hide behind that. With the freedom of speech comes the responsibility of that speech. Hiding behind that keyboard makes people write things that they ordinarily would not. Surely there must come a point where anonymity cannot merely used as a cover!

I think Spiderman summarised it best with this…

With great power comes great responsibility!


Anonymous said...

Yes, I've been seeing a lot of nasty people in the online world lately.

Imagination said...

Wow, I really love what you’re doing at your blog. Keep up the great work!
A favorite website and children’s author that I’d like to share the book is a nomine for Best Children’s Picture Book of 2009! I think you may like to visit the author as well

Maricris Zen Mama said...

That is absurd in every sense! Seems like they're all word and no action. Unfortunately, freedom of speech is abused by others and think they can hide by being anonymous! Isn't that freaky?

Anonymous said...

It's so true! People can be incredibly cruel over the net. I just don't understand why they think talking that way is ok. However, maybe it's just my line of work, but for every insensitive, cruel person I've met probably double the # warm, helpful people. :-)

Twincerely,Olga said...

great post! very true! Just wanted to say hi!

I'm a full-time mummy... said...

You know, one time I was in Facebook happily playing my 3rd game of Uno (with other online players around the world) and you can actually chat with the players while waiting for them to throw out their cards. All of a sudden, I was shocked cos one of the player just went 'You're Asian? F*ck you! You b*tch!' and all sorts of vulgarities which made me immediately click the X button... scares the sh*t out of me!

Anyway, enough of my ranting... just stopping by from SITS to say hi! :D

Kerri said...

BRAVO!! Thank you for posting this! I try very hard to never say anything online that I would not say to someone's face. Good policy if you ask me! Stopping by from SITS!

JoeyRes said...

The Internet makes people very brave. It constantly amazes me.

"Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest", you were the post before me today!

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Well said! You are so easy to be judgemental and just a big ol' jerk from the safety of your own little desk. We all have a responsibility to be human!

Happy Holidays to you and yours and a bunch of SITS love coming at ya!

Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner?

floreta said...

great thoughts here. i actually tend to write more eloquently online than i am 'in real life'. there can also be real friends over the internet, because i've known of many :)

Karen said...

Couldn't have put it better myself. I don't know why people feel the need to scream rudeness at each other, just because they are protected by the anonymity of the internet. If we could all just be nice to each other, the world would be such a better place.

Visiting from SITS. I hope you've had a nice holiday!

Jayde said...

Stopping by from SITS. This is a great observation on your part. The world can be cruel and it is up to us to hold our own. Hope you had a wonderful Holiday!

Hear Mum Roar said...

Never a truer word was spoken, and one of those reminders that sadly needs to be brought up often.

Jenny said...

Stopping by from SITS. Great post to make us think! Thank you.