Anger and stress on the internet has become all too commonplace. Whether it’s a discussion about the government’s latest faux pas, parents raising children with disabilities, or a woman claiming she didn’t know she was pregnant, nasty comments posted on the internet abound. All you need to do is read the comments on CNN or The Huffington Post, Facebook or Twitter, and you will see cruel and condescending posts.
Take the latest Cheerios ad, for example. So many nasty and inappropriate comments were posted about it, that the comments had to be pulled and disabled. Sure, people are free to say what they want. But that doesn’t mean they SHOULD. Perhaps we ought to be at least as kind to a total stranger online as we would be in person.
Why, you might wonder, would people be so blatantly unkind to total strangers in a public forum? Well, for starters, the fact that they are strangers and one can post anonymously is part of the appeal. And the fact that it’s public just makes it that much more appealing. It’s a way to let out some thoughts and feelings that might otherwise never be expressed, due to the likelihood of a negative response.
Some people, much like bullies, get an ego boost from putting others down. Certain others are simply pushing an agenda that they might not feel comfortable doing in any other setting. Often, it’s fanatics pushing their religious, political, or moral views. A narcissist can twist an article about nearly ANYTHING and attempt to make it about themselves and/or their passionate issue.
The problem is that this is not appropriate behavior, and most civilized human beings know it. Bullying, whether online or not, is unacceptable. Certainly people are entitled to have strong feelings and opinions. And certainly people carry around an awful lot of stress, resentment, and anger. Many do not have a healthy outlet for this, and are trolling the internet in attempts to make themselves feel better.
Let’s all find better, healthier ways to manage and deal with our stress, anger and frustrations. Write in a journal or on your own blog. Go for a walk or run, take a yoga class, or even a hot bath. Call a friend. Whatever appropriate outlet you can find, use it. Because I think we all agree that using the internet to bash others is simply not okay.