When are dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection,

When I was younger, one of my
older cousins was running for mayor and during her election, we had gone over
to her house to visit, and while we were there, a friend of hers called her up
to tell her something she should see. The friend told her to go to a website
called “Topix” and search our town and find the thread titled
“Mayor”. Topix is a website full of forums that cover local community
news, events for their calendar, and updates from colleges, churches, sports,
and classifieds, and people can post their comments on these topics to this
board anonymously. This is what the website is intended for, but people who
love to gossip use this site to talk about others, hence why she was on here.
People were posting mean and malicious comments about her and her family. I was
horrified what I was reading, I couldn’t believe how mean people could be. This
is all due to the Online Disinhibition Effect, meaning where one acts out more
intensely online towards others then they would in person due to being
anonymous. There are many contributing factors why anonymity is dangerous on
the internet. However, the Online Disinhibition Effect is the leading
contributing cause why anonymity occurs on the internet.

The leading cause of why
anonymity is common on the internet is because of the Online Disinhibition
Effect. In the article, “The Online Disinhibition Effect” by John
Suler, states “Everyday users on the internet … have noted how people
say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t ordinarily say and do in the
face-to-face world. They loosen up and feel less restrained, and express
themselves more openly.” He explains that this phenomenon is called the
Online Disinhibition Effect. There are several factors that interact with this
effect and why it happens. These factors are dissociative anonymity,
invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection, dissociative
imagination, and minimizing authority. Dissociative anonymity is when one
thinks their actions can’t be credited to how they really are, and invisibility
is when one feels safer because no one can see what they look like or judge
them. Asynchronicity, meaning that because people are not intermingling with
others in real-time, they don’t have to deal with immediate responses, and
solipsistic introjection is when someone who can’t see or know others online,
sometimes imagine in the minds who that person is and what is their intention.
Dissociative imagination is when one thinks that since it is the internet, it
is not real life and those people are not real, and minimizing authority means
that these people feel they can do or say whatever they want on the internet
because there are no authority figures to stop them. I know, some of these
factors may seem crazy and doesn’t make sense, but this how others think or
feel when on the internet.

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Cyberbullying is one reason that
can be resulted from anonymity online and why it is very dangerous. In the
book, Cyberbullying: Activities to Help Children and Teens to Stay Safe in a
Texting, Twittering, Social Networking World, by Vanessa Rogers, states that
“Cyberbullying is different from face-to-face bullying because the bullies
can keep a distance between themselves and their victims. This affords the
bully a level of anonymity and a perceived sense of security that convinces
them they won’t get caught. It also makes it easier to ‘forget’ what they’ve
done and, as they don’t see the harm caused, any feelings of guilt or empathy
are minimized.” (par. 2) Basically, the author is trying to make a point
of why cyberbullying is easier to happen to people rather than face-to-face
bullying. This type of bullying can also cause major harm to the victim to the
point where they end up committing suicide as a result from no longer being
able to take all the harassment and that’s just what happened to a 10-year-old
little girl. She was being bullied at school and one day decided to stand up to
her bully and resulted in a fight between the two. While fighting, others
recorded the fight and posted it on a social media website where hundreds of
kids would see and make fun of the girl that got bullied. Just a week after
being posted on the internet, that little girl committed suicide by hanging
herself in her closet because of all the mean comments she got. It’s sad to
think a 10-year-old even knew what suicide was and most of all thinking that
was the only way to make it all stop. Suicide from cyberbullying happens more than
anybody really knows and continues getting more common over the years as technology
grows . In the article, “End of Anonymity” by Chris Baraniuk, he
states, “Not everyone can stand up to such abuse: it has driven several
teenagers to suicide. It has been called the online toxic disinhibition effect,
and it is a consequence of a basic fact of internet life: online, no one knows
who you are.” He is basically saying cyberbullying can end up in suicide
and it just one of the consequences of the internet.

Another issue is cybercrimes that
are caused by online anonymity. One of the most dominant physical crimes that
can now be aided by the use of the internet is identity theft. Majority of the
time, identity theft can be done because of anonymity, it allows these
criminals to continue to be anonymous and steal identities, then turn them into
online currency or what is known on the internet as “cryptocurrency”.
In the article, “Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online” by Lee Rainie,
did a survey about anonymity and in the article the author stated “11% of
internet users have had important personal information stolen such as their
Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information” (par.
5). Over the years, cybercrime has been on the rise and becomes a higher
significance when discovering the fact that the U.S. infrastructure is becoming
more and more connected to the internet. This leaves infrastructure helpless to
attacks from people wanting to do harm to the United States, hacker groups that
don’t agree with policies, or even other nations that want to steal and use
data to do harm and only benefit themselves.

The role of anonymity in
cyberspace if profound, it allows for individuals or groups to be able to go in
cyberspace relatively undetected from authorities. While on the internet, users
may feel hidden from other users and not feel like they are forced from
behaviors that are not considered traditional. This loss of self-awareness and
self-regulation could potentially lead to behavior that is considered to be
different, although anonymity can lead to negative behavior it could also offer
benefits. It could potentially allow for more open conversations on sensitive
topics or possibly even counseling. However, these positives cannot help but be
compared to the different possible activities that can be accepted using
anonymity. This loss of individualization and self-awareness allows someone
with different tendencies to act on those thoughts due to the supposed
anonymity offered by being online. This is not to say that any person who can
remain anonymous online will simply decide to act in illegal ways, but a person
who already has this want to commit deviant acts will be more likely to do so
if they are provided anonymity as well as physical and moral detachment from
their actions, which leads me to my next topic.

 Since we can’t change the way people think to
stop them from being anonymous on the internet, there is a solution to control
the use of negative factors that are caused by anonymity. In the article,
“The Dangers of Anonymity on the Internet” by Ari Ezra Waldman, he
proposes this solution, “We can help to ensure a safer online environment
by developing norms of social interaction, by setting examples for others, and
by standing up to harassment when we see it. Only then, when powerful norms of
reciprocity and kindness hold back our worst aggressive tendencies, can online
anonymity truly help to foster a diverse Internet community.” (par. 9)
This solution could work but it is not that effective. I have come up with a
couple solutions to fix this problem. These solutions include convert emails
with a real return or originating address, make people start paying to use
certain sites to decrease the use of hacking, or have these sites have a code
that detects a certain type of words that can be harmful and then have
programmers review them to decide if it should be taken off or not. However,
the best solution that can work would be to create a verified identification
system, for those who want to use it, would need to have verified
identification and authentication. People would not be forced to use this kind
of system, but if they wanted to continue to communicate and surf anonymously,
they would need to be verified. However, for those of us who choose, at times,
not to be anonymous and should not have to deal with people who are anonymous.
The benefits would be to decrease hacking, spamming, cyberbullying, trolling,
emitting of anonymous hate, and the possibility of a more civil discourse.

In conclusion, Anonymity has its
good side and its bad side. It’s protective and it’s empowering, but also, it’s
dangerous. Anonymity can be a useful tool for shy people, for cyber or
political activists and for those seeking an escape from their offline
personality. At the same time, anonymity can become a channel to enable
cyberbullying and cybercrimes. I think that in order to reduce the risks of
anonymity, Internet providers and social media networks need to reconsider the
easing of such outright anonymity and implement more protective measures to
avoid cybercrimes.