Oakton Outlook

The toxic behavior of the internet community

What about social media makes people so prone to arguments and toxic behavior?

Courtney Te, Editorial Board

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   Living in the digital age of 2018, people are often numb to how cruel and unforgiving the world of social media can be. While some may brush it off and move on with their day, who’s to say the harsh comments won’t stick with someone throughout their day? Many social media influencers such as Youtubers or Instagram personas fall victim to this harsh and unnecessary criticism daily, simply by existing on the internet. While these influencers are victims of the harassment, it is not uncommon for these stars to initiate and uphold some of the toxic behavior by starting drama or “calling out” another influencer on social platforms. So the question is, what about the introduction of technology and social media induces people to behave on such a drastic, harsh level?

   The answer is pretty obvious as it derives from the basic psychology behind why cyberbullying has become more and more prevalent in this day and age. Millennials specifically find it easier to say anything behind a screen of a phone rather than face-to-face. Telling someone that their nose is crooked or that their voice is annoying is much easier said in a Youtube comment than to the person’s face. It’s a worrisome evolution and side-effect of the rapidly growing use of technology, and it’s unfortunately something that will most likely not be going away anytime soon.

   Perhaps one of the most worrying aspect of this is the fact that most of the commenters and “trolls” online are typically children, ranging from as low as 7 to 14 years old. This was evident in a video done by Gabbie Hanna, a youtuber that is often famous for her story time videos and eccentric personality. In the video titled, REACTING TO MY HATERS’ VIDEOS! she goes through her comment section and finds harsh comments and proceeds to watch the videos posted on the commenter’s profile. The video exposes most “haters” as young children, even despite the amount of curse words used the original comments. So the main question to take away from this is why do little kids think it’s okay to act this way? Are parents not disciplining their kids enough with internet usage these days? Are they not teaching them the right morals?

   Hopefully in the new year of 2018, the mindset of social media “trolls” will change. Maybe with time, the internet community will become more positive and supportive, rather than attempt to tear others down for the sake of it.

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The toxic behavior of the internet community