We spend a lot of time on the internet these days. We use it to watch television, keep up with news, stay connected with our friends and family, and check the weather. It is far-reaching and we have access to it from a variety of media. Cell phones and laptops, let us access it anywhere and at any time, and as a result we spend a lot of time using these devices. To a lot of people, the internet is a great thing. As a society, we have never been so connected on this far reaching of a level. But what if it isn’t such a good thing? What if the internet is making us bad? What if the fact that I can’t see someone’s face when I am talking to them is a bad thing? It only takes one look at the comments section of a news article on the web or a Youtube video to know that there are a lot of jerks out there, being awful for sometimes just the sake of their own entertainment. They do this, even if it means that someone is going to get hurt. Cyberbullying is everywhere and if you aren’t careful, someone can steal your identity with only a few clicks of a mouse and you accidentally telling someone something you weren’t supposed to.
Every day more and more people become connected to the online landscape that we have built today. Adults, the elderly, and even children are exposed to what is out there waiting to pounce on us from the shadows of the web. People are attacked and abused from every which way. Were people always like this? Countless videos on the web show us instances of people attacking someone in real life, a person who was just minding their own business when out of the blue someone comes up and hits the person as hard as they can before running off. We ever use the internet to bully people. In an article on the internet Kotaku by Patrick Klepeck, “Meet a Teenager Who Says He’s a Swatter,” the author has an interview with someone who claimed to be a “swatter,” or someone who calls the SWAT on someone to have their houses broken into anonymously and thereby humiliating them, sometimes live on the web. The responses to some of his questions are sociopathic, claiming that, “Being able to intimidate someone is really fun,” and that, “It’s really fun.” People have died in scenarios like this when the police break into someone’s home and they shoot because some happened to have a knife in their hand while they were cooking or someone made a sudden and seemingly threatening move. Even if no one is hurt, it is traumatizing for a young child to witness someone breaking into their homes and forcing their parents to get on their knees at which point they are handcuffed and just cry helplessly.
There are definitely great advantages to the internet. I have never been close with my cousin in Indiana. But you are just kidding yourself if you think that only good can come from it. Is the internet making us bad? We can find out.