Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Internet: The New Jr. High

I remember Junior High vividly. Most of my readers have allready figured out that I'm a geek. Junior High was better than Elementary School. Mostly because it was bigger, which made it a bit easier to find people that I fit in with. High School was even easier for the same reason.

I remember one day was dress up day. And I wore this lovely romantic skirt and lace blouse. Other girls wore dresses that looked like they were going to the prom. I felt good. Not sexy, but pretty. Until someone told me that I was dressed like a grandmother. Like I said, I thought the ensemble was romantic. These kinds of things were common. And I was not yet mature enough to not take it personally.

The internet has been a wonderful thing to me. Yet another larger pool of people from whom to find those that I fit in with. I've even been blessed to find a Yahoo group for Catholic Attachment Parents! Some of them are even gamers and still play Dungeons and Dragons. Sorry, the geek in me was rising up to take over the post. DOWN!

There has been another side to the internet as well. I first realized it when we were losing Sarah. Some people had wonderfully kind and supportive things to say to me. Some people had things that were well-meaning but poorly worded. Some people were downright cruel, considering. It was a big eye opener for me.

People in Junior High had trouble recognizing feelings other than their own. They were still learning that others had value. It was easier to say hurtful things. The anonymity of the internet lends itself to that same thinking. If you can't see the person you're addressing, it's easier to be hurtful. But as much as anyone thinks they might know about someone from reading their blogs or message board posts, the internet is still not a wonderfully three dimensional image of the people involved.

Still, people feel like by reading some opinions, they know the person. They feel justified in getting personal. They say things that they probably wouldn't say in life. It's just a written form of the same Junior High crud.

I suppose it's possible that perhaps it's not the anonymity of the internet that is responsible. Perhaps it's that I overestimated adults. I grew, matured, and changed in many ways after High School. I became an adult. I'm still me, but more mature. Perhaps not as many people matured as much as I'd hoped or thought.

Either way, how sad.

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