Why The Internet Is Such A Mean Place

I have a very bad habit of reading Youtube- and Facebook comments. And to this day, reading mean, catty comments makes me feel a little sad inside.

I know, it’s bad. I should really stop doing it.

But it got me thinking. Why are people on the internet so mean?

There is no denying that meanness on the internet is a real problem. You often hear that the internet brings out the worst in people . That we all have this mean side that comes out when we can say what we want anonymously. Without any repercussions.

Human brains are wired towards negativity, and it has always been that way. You most likely remember negative emotions more than positive ones, and you might even have trouble to focus on positive thoughts. It takes effort to be positive, and that’s exactly why the internet is such a mean place. It isn’t that everyone is mean on the internet just because they can, it’s that there is a small (in comparison) group of people that experience extreme negativity, self-hatred and insecurity.

These are the people that leave mean comments on a regular basis.

Being unkind online can (temporarily) boost one’s self-esteem. After writing the comment, they feel good about themselves – because in that moment, they truly believe they are better than other people. It’s a short-lived high though.

What if you’re a target?
I’ve had the occasional mean comment here on this blog, but luckily, I have never been a target. Most of the time, it’s best not to reply to the person (or people) that are being mean to you. It’s hard, but in the end it makes you look like the better person.

If you do decide to reply, wait a bit before sending it. I can’t tell you how many times I have written an e-mail or comment in the heat of a discussion, only to come back later feeling like it was way cattier than I intended in the first place. Waiting a bit before sending your reply back into the world can make all the difference.

Image: Hannah Wei

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7 thoughts on “Why The Internet Is Such A Mean Place

  1. Opinions are like a**holes. Everyone has one and most of them stink. People will ALWAYS think they know us better than we know ourselves. They are usually the same people who are to afraid to work on improving themselves.

    Check out my blog and follow if you like. You have some good content and maybe one day we can collaborate on a post 🙂

    https://gjseth.org/2017/02/13/peoples-opinions/

    Like

  2. People are mean on the Internet because of the cloak of anonymity and somewhat invisibility. No one sees the real damage cyber bullies do until there is a report on the news talking about the victims.

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  3. I had to install a browser app that closes all discussion posts which has made reading the news much less of a pool of partisan rhetoric and unnecessary taunts. The negativity takes a toll on me pretty quick. Why are people mean on the internet, but less so in real-life? Empowerment by way of anonymity, I suppose. NPR killed the ability for readers to “discuss” the articles, which I thought was kind of cool. No actual discussion happens online, just yelling back and forth, not listening to the other person. If I want to hear that, I’ll go home for Thanksgiving. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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