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Who Are You When No One Is Looking?

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By sewrn
Words 1868
Pages 8
Who Are You When No One Is Looking?

COM-156
6/17/2012

Who Are You When No One Is Looking?
The Internet is today’s equivalent of the Wild West. Ryan was not aware of this. He didn’t know that when he logged in to play his favorite online game, he was running the risk of encountering a “Black Bart” or “Curly Bill” –like character. –An insult-slinging, proverbial pistoleer who would be out to hurt him at random. He dealt with bullying at school often, but the Internet was his escape from all of that. On the Internet, he could be whoever he wanted to be, for just a little while. So when the bullying started in the one place he felt safe, Ryan decided he had had enough. He did not turn around and become a bully himself, as many others resort to in these situations. Ryan simply gave up (Associated Press, 2007). Ryan’s case is unfortunate, but it is not the only one. In an online environment, people can be particularly cruel. This destructive behavior, which led to Ryan’s death, is a growing phenomenon known as the “Online Disinhibition Effect.” By increasing awareness of the Online Disinhibition Effect, cyberbullying can be discouraged, which may have a positive effect on the interactions of the online community, including people just like Ryan.
What is “Online Disinhibition Effect”? If you have ever interacted with someone who has been overly aggressive, opinionated, or simply outright hateful in an online environment, you have experienced cyber bullying - a result of Online Disinhibition Effect (ODE) - first hand. ODE is defined as “an individual’s increased propensity to act out, or self-disclose over the Internet” (Nguyen & Campbell, 2008). According to Dr. Suler who first theorized the ODE, some factors which can help to create ODE are anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, and minimization of authority (Suler, 2004). These factors increase the odds...

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