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20 September 2011

The Internet - A Civilising Influence?

I read in today's on-line edition of the New York Times that some rural communities in the USA are suffering an outbreak of malicious gossip using on-line forums and social networking sites. People are revealing themselves as being unpleasant, disgusting and downright evil; they are able to do this because they can hide behind the cloak of anonymity.

Although the World Wide Web has much to commend it - free exchange of information, educational sites, the arts, the making of Internet friends and so on - like much of life it also reflects a darker side of humanity. And it has become so easy to reveal that darker side.

In Britain the other day, a number of coal miners in Wales died in a mining accident. It wasn't long before some idiots (that word is too kind for them) started posting callous and racist comments on Facebook. Some were saying it was a good thing because they were Welsh. Others said it was a pity more didn't die. This kind of thing is almost unbelievable, and yet we must believe that this depraved behaviour does exist, and it is too our collective shame that it does. In this particular case, many complaints were made to the Police and they have launched an investigation with a view to closing down those offensive pages.

I find all this hugely depressing.