March 13, 2015
Each day Americans, from the age eighteen to sixty, on average, spend over three hours on social media, according to a study by Ipos Open Thinking Exchange. The internet has given people a way to insult and degrade each other publically while still retaining a sense of safety. 73% of adults admit to witnessing another being harassed online, while 40% admit to being personally harassed, says Pew Research Center (www.pewinternet.org). They found 60% of users witnessed someone being called an offensive name, 53% had seen efforts to purposely embarrass someone, 25% had seen someone physically threatened, while 24% said they witnessed someone being harassed for a sustained period of time (www.pewinternet.com). Sadly, 66% of internet users that have personally experienced online harassment experienced it on a social networking site or app (www.pewinternet.com). Any parent will say they raise their children to use good manners and be respectful towards others. The “ golden rule “ is one of the very first things taught to any child. So what has happened to the concept of “ do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? As people age does the concept of civility, that has been ingrained into their very being from as far back as they can remember, change or does it disappear altogether?
When approaching the topic of civility, the first step is to identify what civility actually is. According to Webster’s Dictionary, civility is defined as “ polite, reasonable, and respectful behavior “ (www.merriam-webster.com). This definition seems understandable enough and most people would say they think of themselves as polite, reasonable, and respectful towards others. If this is truly the case, then how can the same people justify their aggression and hurtful comments that are written towards others online? To answer this question it is first necessary to delve into how civility resonates with people
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