The popularity of internet and virtual world has risen tremendously to an unprecedented level in this modern world. Used as an escapism by those who want to isolate themselves from the real world, the virtual world offers a safe sanctuary. The internet, despite all of its benefits like ease of access to informations, communication, and entertainment, has a darker side that threatens the well-being of its users.
It is easy to find offensive, dangerous contents in the internet that contains harmful ideologies or statements like racism, fascism, and homophobia. To avoid possible problems with the law or people who don’t agree with their statements, they use several tactics to hide their own identities. One of those strategies is using fake accounts (faking their own real identity). This strategy is often called anonimity.
The idea of anonimity has became the center of social scientists’ attention recently. Anonimity is defined as a certain social condition where someone lacks self-awareness about other people’s evaluation, which led to unwanted behaviors (Zimbardo, 1986). Anonimity mainly comprises of privacy, which include limiting other people’s access to oneself (Pedersen, 1997). But in some cases, this rejection doesn’t necessarily imply that someone has to be fully separated from the presence of others. In certain cases, these people are still interacting with others through social media account, or online news. Anonimity, in these cases, work as a mask that help them to express anything they want to say without fearing the consequences.
Anonimity enables people to say or do anything that hurts others without the risk of others’ evaluation, and let them experiment with behaviors that are frowned by public or imitate other without risking to be exposed (Zimmerman & Ybara, 2014). The ability to be anonymous could contribute to the rise of unacceptable behaviors in the internet, where they commit harmful act of verbal aggressions.
Aggressive act conducted under anonimity itself was done to hurt others. According to Santrock (2003), one of the factors that contribute to aggressiveness is lack of self-control. Aggression itself is not limited to physical sphere such as punching, wounding, slapping, but also those under different categories. Those are physical, verbal, anger, and enmity (Buss & Perry, 1992). Verbal aggressions are inclinations to attack others’ conccept of self in order to make them feel powerless. It can be done through words such as mocking, framing, not giving support, and refusing to talk.
In this turbulent time, stay vigilant and don’t be lulled by life of virtual world. Making fake accounts to stalk and attack others is a heinous behavior. Anonimity itself could lead to verbal aggressions, where we might use this sanctuary to commit harmful acts like mocking or judging. As a generation who wants to build a mentally healthy atmosphere, let’s fix this problem starting from ourselves. Be honest to yourself and don’t dawdle with other people business when you don’t need to.
Oleh : Puji
Editor : Dina Ariani
Translator : Daniel Aguira