I’ve been having trouble sleeping the past few days. I find myself wide awake in the early hours of the morning with thoughts running through my head .. concerns that wouldn’t be a major problem in the light of day but seem to trouble my subconscious while I sleep. Perhaps I’m dreaming about them, and wake with the thoughts lingering. I’m not even sure I should broach the subject in my blog .. but well . I wanted to write again and the height of emotion is when the words flow more freely. So maybe I should.
It was in the early 90’s that I first started to use the Internet on a daily basis in Chat Rooms. It was the perfect way to “meet” other people with similar interests and for a single mom to have a conversation with other adults. Even in those early days of Game Playing and chatting you could find the trolls and bullies rather quickly. You would have hoped that after 20 years of internet use the Online Bullying would be under control. But it seems that hiding behind the keyboard is the perfect disguise to say things you wouldn’t normally say in a face-to-face meeting.
Last night I was rather shocked at an apparent “troll” in a chat room belonging to a popular gaming website. The troll came in and started accusing another member of having intimate relationships with several gentlemen in the room. Knowing the parties being spoken about, I knew immediately it was complete bullshit. But I was still pretty shocked .. and angry … over what was being said. It had to be the worst troll attack I’ve witnessed in the 20 years I’ve been online. Of course I jumped in to defend my friends, as did others in the chat room, and with enough “Mutes” and “Reports” the troll was eventually evicted from the room. In that sense the Internet has built in some bully defense mechanisms .. but it takes the effort of the community to oust the troll.
But you know, those blatant bullying attacks are easier to define than some of the passive-aggressive kinds. Folks that you speak to on a daily basis can turn on you in the blink of an eye with just a few words typed on the keyboard. Its that sort of bullying that concerns me the most … because they’re the kind that get personal. They get in to your head and make you think that YOU are the one who has done something wrong. By hiding behind a keyboard, the average person has learned to manipulate conversations to suit their own selfish needs. Simply because they are jealous of friendships being formed that they are not part of. After all, the majority of online bullies aren’t really battling YOU .. they’re battling their own insecurities. So when they attack you .. they’re really addressing a flaw that they see within themselves.
I’m not sure what the solution is. We can’t get along with all of the people all of the time. There are so many different personalities, and different aspects of personality, that there is bound to be conflict wherever you go. But can we not all just learn to get along despite those differences? Can we not accept that we’re not all the same and find ways to communicate in a more meaningful manner than to hurt another person? I would hope anyone that has concerns over any of my actions would come to me directly to work out issues .. rather than stooping to a passive-aggressive conversation to garner details. Just talk to one another – person to person – and work out the differences. You’ll come out of it closer friends than you’d imagined.
Hunter Hayes: Invisible