Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Internet Trolls Fired and Teenage Suicide Martyrdom

It's been a busy Internet. My E-haunts have been polarized by recent events, and a lot of people are coming out of the woodwork with strong opinions on bullying and freedom of speech. As most of you already know, a reddit user lost his job after having his docs dropped, and a teenage girl committed suicide — transforming her into a martyr for anti bullying campaigns.

In the case of a reddit user, Violentacrez, having being ousted in the real world and incurring real world consequences, I say good! Anonymity is a double edged sword. While it has allowed people to communicate and interact in ways they couldn't have before, it also has allowed monsters to gain influence and power they should and could never have had before. Let me be clear: I am for the protection of freedom of speech, and I do support an Internet user's right to privacy, but not every action taken against complete, uninhibited freedom of expression is the start of a totalitarian state or an injustice.

A man getting fired for facilitating and engaging in, possibly illegal but certainly grotesque, immoral behavior isn't wrong. What you do anonymously online is a reflection of your truest self. And if that person loves to upset people and thrives on negative attention, then you need help.

Oh, and you're not some crusader for free speech; you're not taking on "the man." You're not strengthening the public by desensitizing them to insults or horror. All you're really doing is emotionally manipulating people for for your own pleasure. And do you know what your type of desensitization really is? It's emotional retardation.

The other thing floating around Facebook are pictures and or opinions on the suicide death of 15 year-old of Amanda Todd. Let me make this clear: she's not a martyr and she's not a meme. She is, however, a tragedy. And this is one of those stories that just sickens me to the core.

We need to get kids offline. Honestly, no matter how much this story serves as a cautionary tale about Internet sexual predators, it's a problem I only foresee growing worse as mobile devices seem to be attached to our kids at birth. And it sounds hypocritical of me to say this because I was online as a teenager. But my Internet was different; it was just a bunch of nerds / social losers making amateur websites about stupid things that nobody ever went to. It was the last place you'd ever find teenage girls.

I don't really want to get into the bullying aspect. I do know that she needed help and took the wrong path. But these situations are so much more complex than what you can get out of the typical news article. Needless to say, be a decent human being. Don't run around upsetting her family by making offensive posts about their daughter because you're mad, for whatever asinine reasons, at the public's support for the family. We all know other kids have been bullied into suicide, and not all of their stories have gotten the attention this one has. But this isn't some sick competition with a winner; these kids are dead. Just try to remember that before you decided to publicly comment on it.

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