Avatars and Bullies

December 12, 2008 § 3 Comments

avt_pamelavillars_mediumMuch as I hate to sound like a cranky old woman, here goes.  

 

I’m leaving a social networking site because it’s driving me crazy and making me sad. It comes from watching a community of 40+ adults morph into 13 year old mean girls and bullies, with the nerdy, smart kids ridiculed into their corners.

It’s made me think a lot about online identities and whether we choose to be anonymous or not. On this site, the gang kids have names like “Squirrel” and “Sexy Fairy” with matching avatars.  At first I found them charming, but over this past year, it’s become clear – the masks are there so they are free to share a different part of themselves, the one they are unwilling to show with names attached.

Just so you understand, I do get the use of avatars and anonymity; I use them myself at times, but I don’t think it absolves me of being socially responsible and considerate.

Remember what our parents used to tell us?

“Adults don’t behave that way!”

Our parents were wrong. Adults these days do.

They do it with avatars.

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