How You Can Make the Internet a Better Place
The internet is undoubtedly the most incredible invention on the planet.
The internet is undoubtedly the most incredible invention on the planet. It allows us to research anything at any time, it allows us to connect with people all over the world within milliseconds, and it allows us to share our thoughts and pictures and lives with any number of people all at once.
The internet is also undoubtedly one of the most ruthless, cruelest places on the planet. Twitter is where people go to judge and be judged. The Facebook comment section is where a feminist from New York City can argue with guy named Todd from Florida about why women deserve rights. Kids and adults alike are committing suicide because of a-holes on the internet. It’s tense, it’s scary, and it’s ridiculous. I’m waiting for the day when our phones and computers just shut off with a little message that pops up saying “You humans don’t deserve this technology. Goodbye”
To help ensure that our internet doesn’t turn against us for being a crappy species, here are some rules that you should stick to while using the internet.
1. You can understand where someone is coming from without agreeing with them.
Recently, my six-year-old son was watching a YouTube video and there was a sign in the video written by a child that said “WELLKUM.” My son said “That’s not how you spell welcome. Welcome is spelled W-E-L-C-O-M-E.”
He sat thinking for a while and then he said, “but some people know that the word ‘well’ is supposed to be spelled w-e-l-l so it makes sense why they might think ‘welcome’ is spelled with two Ls."
My six-year-old son is smart enough to understand why someone else might think differently than him. He didn’t call them stupid, he didn’t laugh at them. He just understood where they were coming from, understood that he was still right, and didn’t let it bother him. If he can do it, so can you.
2. Don’t offer an opinion where it isn’t asked.
Unless something is posted and it literally says “What are your thoughts on this specific matter?” why are you giving your opinion?
One time I asked for my Facebook friends’ help with an issue I had with something, and this girl comes on with this whole rant about what an irresponsible person I am and how I should basically rot in hell. Like, did I ask? NO. I wanted help, not an opinion.
3. Don’t generalize.
This should just be a rule for everything both on and off the internet. But right now, I’m specifically talking about generalizing people based on their political views since politics are a pretty hot topic on the internet these days.
You can’t just call every liberal a “libtard” or every conservative a “conservadick.” I know it seems like the extreme leftists and the extreme rightists are the loudest on social media, but for the most part, people’s political views aren’t completely one-sided. Most people are more open-minded than we give them credit for.
4. Stop blaming the victim.
In the wake of all of the sexual assault/harassment claims, it’s sadly commonplace for the top comment on an article to bring up that the victim waited too long to bring the problem up, or the victim shouldn’t have done this or the victim shouldn’t have done that, and “well she’s an actress, obviously she just wants the attention.” No. Stop. If you have a case to make against a victim, get your law degree and take it to court. You’re wasting your time in the comment section on Facebook. You just look ignorant and unoriginal.
5. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Have you ever noticed that the people who say “I speak my mind” are most often the ones who never offer up a compliment to anyone? Telling Carol that she’s too old and fat to wear those leggings isn’t very nice or productive. “Well I just say it like it is.” Why are you saying that like it’s a positive attribute to have? We all have rude, judgmental thoughts. What makes you a decent person is the ability to keep it yourself. If you just can’t contain it, get yourself a burn book and let out all of your rudeness where no one will see it. Tell it like it is to the only person who cares. You.
Basically, just be nice. Agree to disagree. Just log off the internet if you have to. You’re not making anyone’s life better by being a bully. I think we all learned about that when we were like five years old.