by Riley Martin
Graphic by Makenna Lee Carey
I think it is more than evident that technology is similar to a mask that each of us gets to put on whenever we are interacting with other people. This disguise is freeing because we feel we can do things we usually wouldn’t be able to as our identity is no longer linked to our actions. We get this phony courage which, don’t get me wrong, can have its benefits with some things, but more often than not it is a gateway to toxicity.
More than ever, I have noticed an overwhelming amount of people sharing negativity on all forms of social media, whether that is Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or practically any other platform. The negativity is so present that one would think it is the newest trend, dominating peoples’ lives. Now that is probably the most unfortunate sentence that just about anyone could read.
There is no doubt that quarantine and negativity go hand and hand. Whether it is out of boredom, attention-seeking, or wrongfully placed anger and sadness, negativity has gotten really bad since the quarantine and isolation started. As humans, we need in-person connection with others, but for obvious reasons we are currently depleted of this. Not only does this lack of in-person connection make it so much easier to talk to people rudely online, but it also worsens peoples’ social skills. This is comparable to the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” When all one is “practicing” is releasing negativity and rudeness to others, they are simply lessening their ability to talk positively.
Online, we don’t need to worry about the repercussions that result from saying a rude comment or acting toxically. We don’t need to worry about the confrontation that would take place in person after saying such a thing, as we can ignore it for as long as we want to. These small white screens allow us to cower and dismiss accountability which is not an option in real life. At the end of the day, as humans we make mistakes. We say things we don’t mean and regret it. That is perfectly okay as long as accountability is taken, because when it isn’t it just makes the toxic cycle keep going.
This subject has a nonstop cause and effect product that we see in all age ranges of people. Hurt people, hurt people. It is this that perpetuates the cycle of rudeness and toxicity. When a person is insulted repeatedly, they become hurt and oftentimes take that hurt out on another person and with that, the other person is hurt so they go and do the same thing. Just like that, a chain reaction ensues, stirring only anger and pain in its wake.
I believe that at the core of our being humans are “good” people. Sure that it is a loaded statement, but most of us want to feel positive emotions and generally people like to see others also experiencing those positive emotions. However, we’re left with these contradicting intents and actions and until we can honestly acknowledge this, nothing is going to change. We need to acknowledge that “an eye for an eye” doesn’t solve anything and doesn’t provide any real closure. We must start bettering our communication with one another, because at the end of the day, even if a person is hurting, why should that person want someone else to feel that same pain?