Cyberbullying isn't just for kids.
A few weeks ago, I posted an article about the teacher who was fired from the Catholic school for having invitro fertilization treatments. I was curious what everyone thought about it because honestly, I was a little split. I think the church absolutely has a right to make its employees adhere to its doctrine, but I truly had no idea invitro was an issue these days. I have been to baptisms for babies conceived in this manner. So I posed it to my friends on Facebook. I didn't check it until later in the day. WOW. Did I ever stir the pot.
One woman took it as an opportunity to personal attack a friend of mine calling her nasty names like liberal (and yes, I say that tongue in cheek). But it was a horrible attack. She felt that this article was a direct threat to her ultra conservatism and my friend was a tree hugging, Obama loving, anti-Jesus fool.
My friend is actually a Republican Baptist who is unable to have children and had stated her sympathy for the woman.
My last blog was about my high school band. Some tool decided to personally attack our band director (who while no one is perfect, is one of the best people I've ever met- EVER) and me. I was some talentless fool who was handed the role of drum major. And of course, the commenter remained anonymous.
Now I didn't have to publish the comments- I started monitoring them after my pro-gay marriage blog took off and people with nothing but hate in their hearts posted nasty comments. I published them because I think this person has a right to his/her opinion and I also thought it was kinda funny and pathetic.
It also hurt my feelings what this jackass wrote. Because I am human. Because it was nasty, mean spirited and hateful. Because it attacked not only me but someone that I love dearly.
Our home town paper has a comment section below the articles. I used to read the paper online, but I stopped because of the moronic, nasty, hateful, illiterate commentaries below in the comment section.
I welcome discourse. I have many, many conservative friends. My friend are about 50/50 conservative/liberal. No joke. I have friends of many faiths. I like to discuss things, learn different points of view.
Most of the time, I can post something and people have an educated discussion on it. Or if I do post something that someone finds offensive, they will have the class to send me a private message, not air their deep seated anger at me in a thread. I respect that.
Articles on USAToday or Yahoo News always seem to end in nameless morons personally attacking people for voicing their opinions.
Here's my thoughts on the whole situation:
- If you wouldn't say it in my living room to my face, don't write it on my wall or on my blog.
- If you can't sign your name, then it's not worth saying in a public forum.
- If you feel compelled to personally attack someone, don't. Block them. Hide them. Be an adult.
I think the internet offers a great forum for opinions, idea exchanges (which, believe it or not is what it was designed to do-- not play games, sell stuff or porn) and stay connected. The anonymity is provides, however, is feeding the anger that so many people feel.
I am very interested in hearing opposing views-- it influences me and can even change my mind. I tend to post controversial issues when I'm not really sure where I stand or I'm completely convinced on where I stand and don't understand why people don't agree.
Being called a stupid poopy head, however, doesn't inspire me to rethink my position.
So from now on, if you can't sign your name to a blog post (and I don't mean can't figure out how to add your name-- I know it's a pain)- I won't post it. Not because I'm a chicken or because I disagree, but because the poster is too chicken to sign it.
And I really encourage people to start blocking the nasty few that like to ruin it for the rest of people who enjoy reconnecting online. Just politely delete their posts, send them a note saying "You're a bully" and maybe they'll stop. Or maybe they'll all find each other and can be nasty to each other.
As for me, I will continue to live my life online as I do offline- with respect and consideration for others.