Monday, November 23, 2009

Bad Cyber Behavior

Kids behave badly right out in the open. It's the impulsivity thing. By the time they've had a chance to think about it, the crime has already been committed. The crayon has already been broken, the chair has already been kicked. Adults will do the same thing, of course, but what I've noticed is that politeness is often tossed aside when they think they are anonymous.

I was recently reading a newspaper or magazine blog where someone made a horrendous comment about the writer of the article. Sure, they'd signed it, because on that particular blog, it is required for commenting. But the commenter had used what I like to call their Internet nickname, their cyber CB handle, GarbageMouth43. (The names may have been changed to further protect their anonymity.) Why do people think they can completely forgo any social graces when they are hovering over their computer keys eating fried Twinkies and sipping their YooHoo?

I know these are the same people who have thrown down that candy wrapper or that soda can that you see in the street--the very same person who emptied their car ashtray in the parking lot of the grocery store. In my utopian world, a magical police spotlight will automatically flash a high beam on them as they toss their dirty paper towel on the bathroom floor. Who doesn't get satisfaction when they pass the person who cut them off on the freeway as the offender is pulled over at the next exit?

Maybe I'll just forget about politeness, too. Maybe I'll aspire to be one of those old people with their filter system removed. I'll make loud judgmental comments at the grocery store about other shoppers' children and the items they have in their cart. There's something freeing and anonymous about that, isn't there?

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