Monday, June 24, 2024

The Age of Digital Warriors

By Deogracia Bemida | Feature Writer

Vol. XCIII No. 7

Sept. 27, 2019

A particular situation in social media can become complex when toxic netizens launch their destructive and opinionated narratives. Such people will strike a series of contextual bashing the moment they notice something unacceptable. Mostly, such actions feel like a huge slap to someone’s face when the online community cast their judgment and hateful comments that will surely ruin someone’s day.

Social media serves as the most influential source of news nowadays since a lot of people or organizations share relevant topics there. The shared topics reach a large audience, which then shape public opinion. Since netizens belong to different cultures, their views towards a particular situation also vary. It’s either they respond neutrally, praise or react positively, or take it as an offense then rant on social media sites.

The common problem lies within the people who prefer to express their sentiments aggressively. With the use of their ‘mighty keyboards,’ they attack and pick fights with strangers in a childish way. In most cases, people who react negatively are easily offended.

There are categories of netizens who possess a heightened sense of fragility. Their feelings are fragile to the extent that when something small or irrelevant catches their attention and within their view, they regard it as offensive. They tend to criticize those whom they think are at fault and derogate them publicly. Netizens who keep on doing such action seem to be everywhere as they can be at home, in classes, or even in the workplace. They are referred to as keyboard warriors, internet trolls, and snowflakes.

There seems to be distinctions among the three. They may sound synonymous to each other; however, a thorough examination says otherwise. Thus, it may not be a good idea to interchange those terms when describing a certain netizen.

Keyboard warriors are those who express their rage through a text-based medium because they are incapable of resorting to physical violence. They often make online threats that are physical, psychological, and even sexual.

On the other hand, online trolls are those whose main intention is to antagonize other netizens through offensive means. They have no intention of providing a good argument and only rely on memes. Memes are emergency words, phrases, and images created by the online community that are usually employed when one can’t think of anything else to say.

Lastly, snowflakes are those who entitle themselves with traits of uniqueness and being peerless. Most of the time, they are sensitive to opposing opinions. Hence, the term snowflakes.

These attention hoggers find convenience in provoking others and convince the people to take their sides. They resort to blaming the apathy of the others where in reality some of them are hypocrites who need self-validation. There are times when their sentiments lead to outrageous outcomes that will surely raise the eyebrows. In a nutshell, they can be thought of as concerned citizens, but in reality, some of them are more or less, a bunch of childish teens or adults who constantly do nothing productive in their spare hours.

Responding to their comments or tweets is comparable to adding fuel to the fire: the more you defend, the more they will use your words against you and certainly they will lead you into further anguish. They will usually insist on their ideologies and prove to the public that they are in the right position.

The actions of these digital warriors are grounds for cyberbullying, a criminal offense and also a leading cause of youth depression. The effects of depression to the youth are something that should not be taken lightly. As mentioned by PhilStar Global, victims of cyberbullying are most likely to lose self-confidence, skip school, incur health problems, and get involved in alcohol and drug addiction.

This new breed of digital warriors will always exist as long as they are able to, with the help of accessible media platforms. However, since their virtual actions can only affect those who stay in the same dimension that these digital warriors are staying, one can always transfer to another breadth where they are no longer susceptible to such toxicity. The choice is always left within one’s finger: to click unsubscribe or continue watching.


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