Communications and Society blog: By and for students in Marist COM 201

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Digital nation: The Mob

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With technology getting more advanced every day our window of privacy is slowly becoming non-existent. Our constant connectivity to everyone who uses the internet through social networking sites or forums is at an all-time high. With more than 200 million people on Facebook, the only way not to have your privacy exploited is not to partake in the social networking phenomenon. This is a hard thing to do considering everyone you know is on some type of social networking site. You don’t want to not be included by your friends so you join what is most likely Facebook. However, once you have done this you have given 200 million people potential access to your information. Even if you’re not friends with someone through the web of potential friends, through your friends, it is still possible for people to see some of your postings even if you didn’t intend them too. But usually it’s not the people you don’t know that cause you harm, it’s the people you do know who you call friends. When you think of the Mob, an angry group of people who gang up on one cause or person comes to mind. That is exactly what people have been seeing happen on these social networking sites and forums. A specific example comes to mind when I think about this Mob mentality, Juicy Campus.
Juicy Campus was a site that targeted college campuses where you could start or leave anonymous postings about things going on at your school. This was quickly abused by most people due to the fact that no one could find out who was posting these threads. I remember checking it out when it wasn’t banned. The first time I went on it had listings of almost every college, which means that people all over were using this site. I found Marist College and clicked the link that brought me to our school’s page, I had no idea what to expect. What I saw next made me feel bad for the people whose full names were blasted all over the page. Kids were leaving the nastiest posts about girls using their full name, talking about STDs, how many people they had sex with, how ugly they were, etc. It was bad, girls that I knew who weren’t bad people at all just torn apart by people on the internet just because they didn’t have to put who they were they felt like they had the right to say whatever they wanted about these people. This is the type of thing that leads to kids committing suicide. Most recently, the tragic death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, who took his own life after a classmate allegedly taped him in secret during a gay sexual encounter and posted the video online. Things like this are inexcusable, the invasion of privacy, the immaturity, the mob mentality of the kids who commented on the video. They did not think of the consequences of their actions, ultimately ending up with one young man’s life cut short because people don’t understand the magnitude of posting things on the internet, especially things as private as that.
People hide behind their computer screens, not man enough to take responsibility for their actions. I feel strongly enough about being held accountable for your actions that I think the only anonymous posts that should be allowed on the internet are ones about products. Anything that has to do with people should have an identity to it. If people think that they can say whatever they want about anything and no one can find out who they are, cyber bullying will never stop.
I do not want to be completely negative about anonymity on the internet, but even when I find a positive, that positive has a negative side. I am talking about the millions of people that play online games like world of war craft, star craft and all the others out there. For the people who feel like they can live through the game and it brings them joy and excitement and they make friendships through the game; that is what they were designed for. Just like in the Digital Nation video, that showed the convention center full of people with this common interest even though they had never met in person. This anonymity on the internet is acceptable, when you find yourself addicted to video games playing for day’s straight not doing your school work that it becomes a problem. In South Korea, gaming has become such a problem, that the national government has gotten involved. Setting up programs to help kids stop playing video games all the time. In the Digital nation video it showed Korean kids hanging out all day in PC cafes. These cafes have rows of computers filled with kids playing games for hours. It affects their studies because all they care about is playing video games. To counter act this problem with video games, there have been schools now designed around playing school oriented video games and lessons on not to get addicted to video games. I think these are good steps to take considering the amount of people that play video games in South Korea, and I think that more programs to help kids who are addicted to video games should be increased.

Written by mfcesare

December 15, 2010 at 12:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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