As avid Internet users, college students know what’s going on in the virtual world. We comment on forums, exchange emails and update our statuses for all of our friends to see. We find potential love interests and fight with friends through texting. Most importantly, we learned that what you can and cannot do on the Internet is comprised of a vastly different set of rules than everyday physical life.
On the Internet, you can fully expect to be torn apart just for those undeniable traits that make you who you are. Male, female, old, young, middle-aged, gay, straight, argumentative, passive or otherwise, it’s all the same. But verbal assaults are what you learn to bear in the hope that your voice maybe is heard.
Why is that so, though? Why do we struggle so hard to be accepting in everyday life and yet try our damndest to prove that a particular person on the Internet is wrong? Does the struggle wear us out and in the secret of anonymity we reveal our true personas: tired of sparing others feelings we throw out the rules and customs of civilization?
Everyone knows that children raised without dealing with the consequences of their activities grow to be human beings who believe they can get away with anything and everything. The same thing is happening now with the Internet. When you take away responsibility you are left with the unadulterated truth of what this person thinks of your opinions.
Now as college students, we face the shortcomings of this free form of communication. What comes out of it is an inability to communicate face-to-face. Emails can be disrespectful, sloppy and often reflect badly on your character before you meet someone. This can go both ways.
How many of us can say we’ve been answered in a rude way or have not gotten a reply at all?
Nobody wants to be Paul Christoforo, a PR manager whose scathing, swearing and illiterate customer service emails raced across the internet, leaving him subject to unemployment and virtual threats. We need to learn how to be civil in a world where the wild run rampant over your personality and opinions while hiding behind masks.
But who knows? Maybe all this is just preparing us for the real world, where everyone thinks those things anyway, just a bit more privately.