The toxicity of the online community

Jordan Boyer, Editor-in-Chief

As a person living in the age of smart phones and dumb people, I have seen my fair share of toxic people on the internet.

Because of the anonymity people can use in the World Wide Web, a select group of people attack others with massive vulgarity and reckless disregard for other people’s well being.

I have experienced these toxic people many times, but what inspired me to write this piece happened to me about a week or two ago while I was playing video games online.

I was playing the video game, having fun and minding my own business, until one person whose gamer handle I will not reveal, started attacking me in the chat room, saying I should kill myself because I am a “noob” and I should stop playing the game.

It is one thing to trash talk someone while playing a video game, but telling someone to kill themselves because of it is not acceptable in the slightest.

There are also others who act out via social media because something happened that they do not approve of.

Take for example, a few years back in 2015, a new hashtag trended on Twitter, the hashtag being #cutforzayn.

In 2015, singer Zayn Malik left the musical group One Direction, and fans expressed their outrage by using self harm and suicidal threats via social media.

Now while this can be considered by some people a “toxic” part of the One Direction fandom, these people probably have serious mental issues and most likely need psychological help from professionals. So these people are not the toxic online community I am referring to.

However, the real toxicity came from the people making fun of this trend. People took to YouTube and other online platforms to make fun of these people who were upset over Malik. For example, people would fake cut themselves and squirt ketchup on their arms and etc.

Now I obviously do not condone self harm in any form, but there is no need to make fun of people who did this frightening act online.

This is only one of the massive number of examples of the horrible things people do to themselves and others on the internet.

Anyone who has some presence in surfing the World Wide Web knows the type of people I am talking about.

Comedian Joe Rogan talked about the modern online community in one of his stand-up specials, “Triggered,” and one line he says perfectly describes the toxic people on the internet.

“If Jesus Christ himself came back from the dead and had a Youtube page, the first comment would be, ‘You ain’t s— without your dad, p—y,’.”

That line perfectly describes the people I am talking about in this piece. Do not be those people!

Please do not attack people because you do not agree with someone via the internet. There is a major difference between disagreeing with someone and straight up verbally attacking them.

And please do not act out of spite online because of an event, I have seen people burn their copies of books and movies because the writers/authors wrote something into the story that they hated.

It is the authors’ story they can do what they want with it. It is fine to disapprove, but do not insult the author, and in, turn the fandom by acting out in these ways.

If you are the object of a toxic attack, do not let these people hurt your feelings online. They are select group of toxic people who abuse their anonymity over the internet, and do not consider other people’s well-being in the slightest.

The best way to deal with these kinds of people really depends on your own personality. I am not really much of a fighter, so I usually laugh off stuff like this. However, fighting back against these people may be an unhealthy solution. Try ignoring it, talking to a friend or loved one or maybe just put down the phone or log off the computer and take a break from this toxic internet community.

Jordan Boyer is a senior history major, he can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]