Internet Aggression is Unhealthy and Unwarranted

MAGGIE MONSON | Copy Chief

The comments section on nearly any article on the Internet can be a scary place. People use the comfort of anonymity to post anything that comes to mind without using a filter.

The worst comments range from ignorant to purposefully hateful and offensive. Some people believe what they are posting, while others are simply trying to offend anyone who reads their comments.

One way to make this a non-issue is to avoid looking at the comments section. Ignore these people, and their offensive words have little power.

This is no longer an option in many cases, however. Internet aggressors are no longer strictly in the comments section.

Twitter, Facebook and blogging sites – which are all slightly more public – are becoming spaces where debates escalate into aggressive fights in the blink of an eye.

This aggressiveness is reaching frightening levels. In a recent example, a student at Duke University has received threats of rape and murder for simply performing in porn films, according to an article in the Huffington Post.

The student asked to be referred to as Belle Knox, her stage name, in the media. Knox began performing in adult films in order to pay her way through college. She wrote about her story on the website xoJane.com after a fellow Duke student revealed her identity to their classmates.

Internet users responded immediately.

Strangers from all over, as well as fellow Duke students, began harassing her. Students posted that they were going to throw garbage on her as she walked across campus and told her to drop out of Duke because she supposedly gave the university a bad image.

Other people threatened to rape her or even kill her. Others posted the names and which middle or high schools her family members attended.

These statements are all extremely disturbing.

This young woman has every right to pay her way through college however she wants to without threat of death. Her actions are not harmful to anyone, and would never have been exposed if it were not for the classmate who watched her videos.

Why do people believe it is acceptable to harass Knox or anyone else through the Internet in such a severe way? I have tried to understand this concept, and I find myself struggling to do so.

Some people may find her choice of job objectionable, and they have a right to that opinion.

I fail to see, however, what makes them wish death upon a 19-year-old woman who simply wants a quality education.

One suggestion to fix this problem has been for Twitter to monitor its users’ pages more closely for threats of rape or death. This solution would be impossible to truly enforce, however.

The root of the problem is the people who feel it necessary to defend their moral convictions or political beliefs with such vicious force.

We as a generation need to better control ourselves on the Internet. Instead of spewing hatred, we should take a step back from the computer and evaluate our behaviors.

We hear a lot about cyber bullying and its effects, but these stories do not seem to be changing the way people act online. New victims will continue to go through the same horrific experience as Knox until individuals are willing to treat each other with basic human respect.

It is easy to look at it and believe that would never happen here at Butler University.

However, just a couple days ago, a student anonymously submitted, “swear to god if you hoes in Schwitzer don’t stop setting up wireless printers all the time and f——- up the wifi, I will cut you,” to the popular Twitter account Butler Confessions.

This is a threat of physical violence over an issue as small as wireless Internet quality. The supposed safety of anonymity allows students to post negative, offensive or threatening posts about each other frequently on Butler Confessions. These posts can escalate over time, leading to the more serious threats like the ones Knox received.

Every person who is willing to make threats of physical violence over the Internet needs to take a step back and realize the insanity of his or her actions. These destructive messages accomplish nothing.

Instead, these Internet users should use their time to do something positive that actually matters in the world.

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