I love the internet. I wouldn’t have been successful at expat-ing for the past two-and-a-bit years without my beloved internet connection, which links me to the rest of the world. I Skype my mum every morning (her afternoon), and now with Miss Sproglet on the scene, my mum gets to see her every day too.
I check the news, I read blogs, I naughtily stream the occasional TV show, online. And now that I’m a mother, I read all about what my precious little bundle of joy should be doing at this point in her almost-four-month-old life. These are all good things about the internet.
The bad things about the internet are obvious – it’s a time-sucker, it can be a bit addictive, and the fact that, to access it, I have to sit at the computer, which has given me a case of RSI. That, coupled with the requisite tap-tap on the bottom to get the little girl to sleep, has contributed in some nasty aching wrists and dead hands.
Then there’s the ugly side of the internet. Where people get all snarky, where they embrace anonymity and use it as an open licence to slag off on people – you know, behaviour that, in the non-online world would be considered slanderous. Argumentative, combatitive and aggressive.
An example: part of my internet love has taken me to a baby-orientated forum, where you can pretty much ask anything of other mums online. It’s interesting to read different advice and approaches to parenting, and also a good opportunity to connect with other mums in Australia.
A few weeks ago, I visited this forum and read a post written by someone who was obviously upset with her recent visit to the doctor. She wrote awful things about this doctor, and then told everyone to never go to this doctor. She posted the message in about three different threads on the forum.
The reason I noticed it was because it was about my doctor. Who, it so happens, I didn’t have a problem with. In fact, if it wasn’t for him and his colleague, I may well have bled to death a couple of weeks after Miss Sproglet’s birth.
(It turned out the person who wrote the post must have realised they wrote in haste, because when I checked back the next day, the posts had all been removed.)
Another example is any comment thread attached to an online news article. Reading the comments people leave on the articles on news.com.au makes me ashamed to be an Aussie, at times. Not only are the readers aggressive towards each other, but they often sound bloody stupid too.
Do you think the internet allows people to be more aggressive toward one another?