Interweb: The good, the bad, the ugly

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?

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9 thoughts on “Interweb: The good, the bad, the ugly

  1. I think skype is great-it’s lovely you get to chat to your mum every day and she gets to see plenty of Miss Sproglet.

    I agree the internet is a double edged sword, but on balance I would say the good out weighs the bad. I’ve found some lovely kind and caring bloggers.
    Some of the anonymous comments do make people look pretty stupid sometimes and I often wonder if people regret things they say in haste!

  2. I think there are morons everywhere. The internet gives them a somewhat faceless way of picking on people. It also gives nice people (like us – well, except WT who just said mean stuff. which also made me laugh long and loud) a way to say nice things about other people.

  3. i want to see miss sproglet, too. (just a photo on your blog would do, I don’t have skype.)

    The morons just think they have anonymity. But in their ignorance, feel they can safely act out.

  4. Yeah, the flaming ( the term for aggressiveness that Sasha taught me) part is bad.
    The time sucker is even worse.
    You did not touch on the other peril that I am afraid the most – is how far the internet socializing can go to substitute for real life relationships, sigh. Another post for this one?
    Hope you are staying warm there,

  5. I can relate entirely to the news site comments. I am afraid the internet gives people with uninformed opinions an unchecked soapbox and shroud of anonymity.

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