But instead, I'm going to write about some of the disturbing (jaw-dropping, rage-inducing) trends, applications, and practices I've stumbled across in the past little while during my web wanderings.
First On the Docket→ EnemyGraph*
For those of you who don't know about this god-awful new Facebook application, let me fill you in. EnemyGraph is the brainchild (demon spawn?) of a University of Texas at Dallas professor and his two students. For some time now there has been a public cry for a 'dislike' button on Facebook, and since such a button isn't forthcoming, these geniuses** decided to come up with this app that allows FB users to make enemies of everyone/thing from 'friends', to celebrities, to fast-food franchises. As of yesterday, Trending Enemies included: Justin Bieber, Sarah Palin, FarmVille, and Jesus Christ, among others. But it doesn't stop there. Users can make enemies of people in their friend list as well. Why, you may ask, would someone do that to one of their friends? Well, we all know—especially in high school—how a person can be a best friend one day and get relegated to mortal enemy the next.
As if this labelling isn't bad enough, EnemyGraph allows people to band together around common 'enemies'. Denise Restauri, contributor to Forbes online, sums up the inevitable damage from this:
"Here's the harmful reality: EnemyGraph gives bullies and people with a sick sense of humor a great way to bully and attack. It's another example of 'Absolutely nothing good can come of this.'" —Forbes.com (April 3, 2012)She couldn't be more right. Cyberbullying is a very real and disturbing problem in this day and age. Why empower these bullies with a tool that makes bullying easier? Shame on everyone involved.
Next On the Docket→ Am I Pretty or Ugly? (on YouTube)
Disclaimer: I'm including this video as a means of informing, not of perpetuating this awful trend.
As I understand it, this heart-wrenching trend started cropping up on YouTube as a way for young girls (not sure about boys) to gather public opinion on whether they are pretty or ugly. These often beautiful girls have taken their self-esteem issues to the web. To echo the Forbes article's verdict of EnemyGraph, nothing good can come from this. Online predators, bullies, and people just looking to be perverted or hateful flock to these kinds of things. It begs the question: Where are her parents?! It's a toss-up which is more disturbing: that this video has more than 5 million views (I guess I'm adding to that, sadly), or some of the things viewers wrote in the comments section just below it.
A heartfelt response to these Am I Pretty? videos→ More people need to speak out about this:
From the time the internet hatched we've been warned about the potential dangers to be found there. We all know what these are. But then I see things like EnemyGraph and the Am I Pretty? videos, and I know that the problems are just mutating, multiplying, and finding new and insidious ways to harm people. What can we do to stop this? I honestly don't know. But I think we can all agree that the best way to protect people from these dangers is to spread the word that this is not okay.
* Seeing this was what finally gave me the nudge I needed to delete my Facebook account (already wanted to do it). It sickens me that the "servers are struggling" with the high demand for this app.
** Note sarcasm.