Have you noticed that people say some of the most hateful things imaginable on the Internet? Earlier today, I came across a Time Magazine article entitled “How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet“, and it made me reflect on my own experience as the publisher of a number of prominent websites. Over the years, I have often gotten to see what is really going on in some of the darkest hearts in our society. There are people that come to my websites that somehow think that making crude sexual remarks about the wives and children of people that they have never met is perfectly acceptable behavior. There are others that say incredibly vile things about people that have a different skin color than they do, and some people have a hatred for Christians and the Christian faith that is absolutely frightening. I can’t understand why anyone would want to be like that, but apparently this kind of behavior is very widespread. In fact, one Pew Research Center survey discovered that 70 percent of all 18-to-24-year-olds who use the Internet have experienced harassment at some point.
Sadly, the truth is that the relative anonymity of the Internet allows people to reveal what is really in their hearts. For some people, the Internet magnifies the kindness and goodness that is in their hearts, but for others it does the exact opposite. From the safety of their own homes, they endlessly spew speech that is so abusive that it is hard to imagine that the person spewing it is actually human.
These people are commonly known as “trolls”, and the following is how the Time Magazine article that I mentioned above describes these trolls…
Psychologists call this the online disinhibition effect, in which factors like anonymity, invisibility, a lack of authority and not communicating in real time strip away the mores society spent millennia building. And it’s seeping from our smartphones into every aspect of our lives.
The people who relish this online freedom are called trolls, a term that originally came from a fishing method online thieves use to find victims. It quickly morphed to refer to the monsters who hide in darkness and threaten people. Internet trolls have a manifesto of sorts, which states they are doing it for the “lulz,” or laughs. What trolls do for the lulz ranges from clever pranks to harassment to violent threats.
Whatever happened to treating other people the way that you would like to be treated?
When did the Golden Rule go out of style?
As our society becomes more evil, hearts all over the country are growing cold, and one of the results is that the Internet is being transformed into a festival of hatred. The same Time Magazine article detailed some particularly disturbing examples of troll hate…