Monday, October 19, 2009


Sometimes people forget that the Internet is not just a make believe world, but real people. Those real people have real life concerns and real feelings. The Internet can be the most amazing and wonderful place, filled with sharing, giving and receiving friendship and support. Or the Internet can be a place of horror, the cruelest in people coming out. Everyone saw the story about the woman who convinced a young woman that she was so useless that she killed herself. That woman is such a good example of the black side of the cyber world.

People tend to forget that when they are having fun really going after someone that they are hurting a real person. How someone can get such glee from destroying another person is something I will never understand. When I was a member of the Runner's World Forum, three guys decided to go after an overweight woman who was looking for support and friendship, stuff she wasn't getting out of her real life. These guys went after her hard with the constant put down, harassment and private messages about how useless, ugly and stupid she was. She also ended up taking her own life. I was one of the few people who had befriended her and tried to be supportive. I'm proud of myself for not turning my back like so many others did. In the end I wasn't able to make a difference but at the time I didn't realize how bad it was. I will not make that mistake again.

Another problem out there in cyber land is the evil that awaits children. I have a dear friend that is on the front line in that battle and he will be the first to tell you we are losing that battle, the evil is overwhelming. As parents we need to be aware of the threat to our children. But it doesn't stop with kids. There are millions of made up personalities out there. People can be whatever and whoever they want in cyber land. They can post pictures of who they would like to look like and claim that it's them. They can lure people into their make believe world and that is never going to have a good outcome.

We can't change it all but what we can do is conduct ourselves on the net as we would in real life. It's ok to enjoy a role playing game but remember that it's a game. When you sense that someone is hurting, reach out with your friendship and support don't take that as a challenge to see how bad you can hurt them. Be the person you really are. Everyone is not going to be who they are but we don't have to support that.

Every positive change starts with one person.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

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