Reposted with permission

From he_dreams_awake‘s journal. His words, not mine, but I share the sentiment.

I’ve been saying for a long, LONG time now that the apparently endless masses of people who deliberately hurt others online just for the pure “fun” of it – or, maybe, because their beliefs/love/looks/religion/life isn’t something the other person agrees with – and then cry off with excuses such as “It’s only the INTERNET! It’s not REAL LIFE!” Or my all-time “favorite”: “If you get that worked up about what a stranger says to you on the Internet, you really need to get a LIFE! Go cry in a bucket! Waaah! Grow a thicker skin!” are absolutely and utterly full of SHIT. Mostly because of the simple fact of Earth logic that all of these people apparently MISS: that there is *gasp!* A REAL PERSON SITTING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT MONITOR THEY’RE SEEING YOUR NASTY WORDS ON. JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE TALKING TO THEM OVER THE INTERNET, DOESN’T MEAN THEY’RE NOT REAL. And – sadly! – real people have real feelings, too!

What I don’t understand is the stigma still associated with Internet communication… the same stigma that completely overlooks someone going into a bar, meeting a stranger, and screwing them senseless before they even know their last name as “normal”… but then turns around and responds to an Internet romance(something I’ve found actually – in my opinion – safer, to an extent, than random encounters; very, very often you learn everything you’d want to know about the people you love without the immediate distractions of physicality) with “What?! But they could be a serial killer! You met them ON THE INTERNETS!” It’s that idiotic – and I don’t use that word lightly, usually, in reference to the “general population” – blindness that somehow makes people think that hurting someone else for sport is all right as long as it’s “just the Internet”… what, do people turn off their emotions as soon as they log in? (Did Windows add in another new feature, while I wasn’t looking? The Sensitivity Firewall?)

And no, it’s not just me, although all of you know that I might be one of the most singularly… experienced… people in being the focus of this pointless nastiness. I cannot count the number of weeping friends I’ve spoken to in the wee hours of the night… simply because someone homed in on them as a nice amusing target. These are caring, compassionate people. Good people. And yet, they’ve become a sport… and that just utterly sickens me.

What people miss is that in 2008, the Internet has replaced earlier methods of communication… as all advancing technology has done since the dawn of time. And if you were talking to a friend and someone just “happened” to pick up another line – or if someone simply called you at home(as they did me, before I got the mobile; woke us up one morning three times to mock and laugh, someone who thought it was just the height of cheap humor) – and started spouting obscenities, insults, and such charming, priceless bits of wisdom such as “GO DIE KTHX”, wouldn’t you be just a LITTLE upset? And, furthermore, wouldn’t you have a right to be?

There are laws against phone harassment. One could even go so far as to report it to the authorities. And yet even with all of the “Internet lawz” in place – or currently trying to be” – somehow, somehow, people think it’s so much different. Every action has a ripple; every action has a reaction. Being aware of those expanding echoes of influence is part of learning to be AWAKE: learning how to not only understand but to take responsibility for your own actions. And while, by my own logic, I do not believe that the “blame” for this little horrible bit lies entirely with the person who started it… I think that a lot of it is theirs.

How many times do you think this has already happened? In one way or another? How many lives have been shattered – and no, it’s NOT melodrama, some people do care – by someone’s cheap laugh? How would you like it if it were you? I see people hurt by things like this every single f***ing day. And yet it takes the senseless death of a child for it to get any attention at all.

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