Deindividuation and Cyber Bullying by Caitlin Randall

In class, we discussed the potential of deindividuation, or the tendency for people to lose their sense of self within a group, I immediately focused on the bad examples I could think of: rioting, mass crime, social chaos, and more – you get the idea. While these instances (read:crimes) can all negatively affect humanity, I consider deindividuation that directly affects individuals as more directly harmful. As we discussed in class, computers, the internet, and technology have made deindividuation a bit easier, as people can now hide behind screen names or at least distance themselves greater than that experienced face-to-face.

Check out the first two minutes of the video below to see an example of the negative deindividuation society battles today:

In the video, a girl is first criticized by her “friend” for having a crush on a certain boy. Then, the “friend” makes a facebook status about the girl and her crush, humiliating the girl (which she wouldn’t have done in person) and then the real deindividuation begins as other people start chiming in on the crush, posting rude and hateful comments that they surely would never say to the main girl’s face, and definitely wouldn’t have said without being provoked by the poster, who can be recognized as the group leader. Because of the distance and relative anonymity of the group’s members as compared to a normal setting, this deindividuation is in full bloom.

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