Online comment sections do, in fact, more harm than good. With the rise of cyber bullying and the safety of being anonymous behind a screen, comment sections have become unsafe spaces where people critically analyze whatever content is being put out. Here are 4 reasons why I think online comment sections are harmful:
- There are no consequences to saying negative things since you’re behind a screen. You don’t realize that your harmful words are affecting the lives of very real people on the Internet. There’s a YouTube beauty guru by the name of KathleenLights who sums up how harmful online comment sections can be. With 1.6 million YouTube subscribers, Kathleen has her fair share of “haters.” In May of this year, she posted a video in which she described one particular incident where she positively commented on another YouTuber’s video, but her comment was met with comments from others attacking her character and personal qualities.
- You can pretend to be someone else, even if it’s a well-known personality. A hater of KathleenLights created an account with her same name and picture, and “this person [was] commenting atrocious things to people” pretending to be Kathleen. She addressed the issue and warned her subscribers in a video. This person acting as Kathleen went above and beyond to be hurtful not only to Kathleen, but to her supportive subscribers in the comment section.
- It can get mean pretty quickly, even if someone in the comment section is trying to stand up for the person that mean comment was about. Below is an example of how mean one person can be, and how quickly the mean comments escalated.
- Many people who have no other way of taking out their feelings use the comment section as a place to vent their frustrations, so they’re venting at people who don’t deserve it. Using the screenshot above as an example, TotallyFabtablous121 attacked both the woman who made the original YouTube video and the commenter Camryn Lamotte, who came to the YouTuber’s defense. Although we have no concrete evidence, it’s not a far cry to assume that TotallyFabtablous121 is either jealous of the YouTuber, that she gets bullied at school, or that she feels powerful by being anonymously mean online.