Rants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.
The recent death of the young Rutgers student Tyler Clementi has made me think about the ugly side of the Internet age. Clementi was a victim of vicious cyber-bullies. His roommate used a web cam to record Clementi having sex with a man and then posted it on the Internet. Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge.
The good news is that the state of New Jersey has responded — Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, who made the recording and a friend, Molly Wei, who watched it with him, have been charged with invasion of privacy. The state is also drafting a bill to stiffen criminal penalties for cyber harassment. That was a good response, but the root of the problem is the power given to people who can remain anonymous.
The bully mentality is given another weapon with the Internet, bullies like child pornographers and other sexual predators. Go see the movie Trust when it opens and you’ll find out a lot more about the dangers of sexual predators who are computer savvy. For more info on children and teenage cyber-bullying go here.
However, what’s scary beyond the obvious horrors of these predators, are the people like you and me who are normally decent and honorable in the real world, but who have embraced the ability to be hateful in cyberspace knowing they won’t be confronted.
The cult of the anonymous is growing. You see it everywhere; people who insult total strangers on the Internet just because they can, because they can be nasty without any repercussions.