To Grow up in a Cyber World

This documentary left me torn. I remember growing up online. My uncle worked with computers and we had our first computer in our home by the early 90s. We just played games with the old floppy discs until AOL came about. Then the whole world changed. All of a sudden we could talk to anyone. I think growing up with computers the way I did I never really lost control of reality. It was something that had almost always been there. I think I was roughly 6 or 7 when my uncle put a computer in the room I shared with my two cousins. By the time I was 10 I knew my way around the internet and thanks to shows like So Weird and Alex Mack, a computer was a way to meet people and find out information.

That of course is my personal experience with computers and as such has left me concerned about the children depicted in the documentary. I believe the mother of four was over-bearing, but I also think it was very smart of her to put the computer somewhere very public like that. I do not think she had anything to worry about with her kids, they seemed pretty mature.

Autumn Edows I think just wanted people to like her and having her modeling page on myspace gave her that sense of self that she was so desperately seeking, however, I think she was much too young to be sharing those particular images.

As for Ryan, Ryan made me so very sad. He was so young. Watching that part of the documentary made me realize how important it is stand up against bullying of any kind.

And finally there was Sarah and thinspiration.

Both Ryan had fallen victim to websites that glamorized the wrong messages. Ryan searching for ways to commit suicide and Sarah trying to find a sense of camaraderie in other anorexics.

The cyber world is a vast open space. Will it ever be regulated? That is hard to answer because of the nature of the internet. Nevertheless, one thing is for certain, bullying must end. Ryan’s death could have been prevented had more people known about the abuse he was enduring and how it was affecting him.

I think most people who grew up online, like I did, being online is very natural and instinctual to them. They do not get bogged down by things people say and do, let themselves be harassed, or even use the internet for purposes other than education and entertainment. However, there are the few that slip through the cracks and those are the folks we need to keep an eye out for. I am reminded of something I heard years ago about the effects a smile can have on someone. A smile can change someone’s entire day.

Or maybe I am too optimistic for my own good.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. lykesherlockbutnot
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 11:56:54

    A smile is social medicine. As the poster child of social awkwardness, I assure you: a smile turns worlds around.


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