By: April Carson
The internet has recently acquired a lot of bad reputation. Privacy breaches and massive data leaks are among the most common topics, as well as fake news's spread, widespread dangerous behaviors such as cyber-bullying, cyber-theft, revenge porn, child pornography trading, internet addiction and predation, social media isolationism and social disconnection, even the recent rise in anti-vaxxers.
But amidst all this dark media coverage is a growing interest towards internet anonymity and its effect on psychology. When one goes online, it's not uncommon to mask their identities through avatars or usernames. The desire for maintaining anonymity is so strong that people will go to great lengths in order to hide the truth about their identities.
Over the years, the Internet has evolved from a communication tool to one where people can meet and socialize. It provides users with an outlet to express themselves without censorship. Unfortunately, this freedom of expression has led to some negative aspects of human nature being showcased. There are many problems that stem from cyberbullying, including depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. This is because cyberbullying can cause serious psychological problems.
What are some of the disadvantages of the internet?
Cyber-bullying - which can cause depression, suicide and in some cases social isolation. It has become difficult to monitor what is actually happening online, which can lead to angry mobs of users destroying an individual's character without proof or evidence. The Internet allows for anonymity and the relative ease at which information can be changed or manipulated leaves it open for abuse by malevolent people.
Revenge porn - where ex-boyfriends or girls post pictures on the internet that were meant for one person's eyes only. They were sent in private with the assumption of privacy, but people can take it and post it on porn sites or stalkers will get hold of them and distribute them to humiliate their victims.
Another negative effect is the creation of online "fatigue" or "burnout." This occurs when people spend too much time on the Internet and stop enjoying it as much. For those who become addicted, burnout can lead to feelings of isolation, guilt and fear.
Internet users will often use anonymity as a shield to protect them from the consequences of their actions. This allows people who would normally be afraid to share certain opinions due to fear of consequences feel free enough to do so. It should come as no shock that some people are using this freedom to say rude or hurtful things about others.
Don't get me wrong, there are some good that comes with using the internet. People are able to communicate more easily, find old friends or make new ones. Some people who may not have had many friends before, now do because of the internet.
Negative effects of social media are often overlooked due to all the benefits some people get from using it. Although, not everyone can say that they have had a good experience with social media, some people are able to use it safely and enjoyably.
The worst thing about the internet, in my opinion, is the negativity it spreads. We need to bring back positivity and stop looking for things to argue about. As the internet gains more popularity, I feel like we are becoming more and more divided as people. We are becoming more upset about our differences, but not looking for common ground.
The Internet is a great tool, but it's only as good as the people on it. Negative things are far more likely to be pointed out than positive things.