The recent case of Anton Casey has gained much attention on local social media platforms and some international news sites, further highlighting that what is ranted on seemingly personal (internet) space, may not be so any more.
What is worrying is not just the protagonist per se (he is wrong definitely), but the amount of online rants that followed, some of which are terribly fiery and crude.
While most of the comments are directed at his actions, many were directed towards his wife, his child and the foreign community as a whole.
Many of these comments are vulgar, unrefined and insulting. His wife is the centre of many stereotypical beauty queen ‘jokes’, from SPG typecasts to ugly name-calling – from the ‘b’, ‘p’ to ‘w’ words. All these came from people without knowing who she really is.
I felt more for the child, who is just a minor. Regardless of how he looks or behaves, having other grown-up adults calling him ‘retarded’, an ‘idiot’ or ‘devil’s child’ on the online sphere is not doing him any good. Neither does it reflect well on the ones who made those comments, many whom I believe are educated adults and parents themselves.
Why have some of us turned into ugly netizens?
Online rants may create a sense of short-term ‘entertainment’, or instant gratification from reading and engaging with other online users who feel the same way.
The downside? There are studies which show that those who frequent rant-sites may express their anger offline as well.
A lot of our kids and youths are spending lots of time online, everything they can access online will influence them one way or another. There is little doubt that impressionistic youths will pick up how the general populace feels about certain matters.
If one is to read negative, rude comments on STOMP, Facebook, YouTube and every other form of social media which is filled with expletives, who’s to say that what they read online won’t frame their mindset somehow?
It is extremely easy to say the Internet is to blame. But who are those using the Internet?
I hope this ‘Anton Casey’ case is a reminder to us, that we should always think twice (or thrice) before we decide to insult others online.
Because anger only begets anger.