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To most of us, the internet is a wonderful place. It’s where we spend a great deal of our daily lives, and it connects us to virtually everything and everyone in a matter of seconds.

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Having worked as an online content creator for close to seven years now, I can confidently say that the internet has made the world a better place. But as with everything in life, the world wide web has its dark sides, too.

While most of those dark sides do not require any formal introduction, there is one in particular that I would like to turn my spotlight on: internet trolls.

Nestled comfortably behind the “security blanket” of our computer screens, many of us become creatures we would never dare to be in person. We tease, we criticize, and we abuse one another on a regular basis.

What makes the situation worse is that even those of us who don’t actively participate still encourage the hatred by becoming spectators, laughing at their jokes at the expense of others. The result? A world where negative commentary has not only become socially acceptable, but more common than positive feedback and support for our fellow humans.

Having been on the receiving end of some of this “criticism” over the years, I can admit that it isn’t always the easiest pill to swallow. But what I have personally experienced as a young male barely scratches the surface of the vile remarks that others are subject to.

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The following is a powerful video put together by Just Not Sports that showcases how disgusting the online world can be. In the piece, a number of men are asked to read a series of insulting online comments that two female sportswriters (Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro) have received.

WARNING: While censored, much of the subject matter featured in this video is derogatory and not suitable for all audiences.

As if the comments weren’t terrible enough, what really stood out for me is the context in which they were delivered. While there can be no justification for such vileness, neither of the women wrote anything that could even remotely be perceived as deserving of such retaliation. There isn’t an ounce of constructive criticism contained in any of the comments, and they were all made in response to the two women simply being themselves and doing their jobs.

This Isn’t About Ending Constructive Criticism

Let me set one thing straight: I’m not suggesting that the appropriate response to this is for us all to only engage in positive commenting. If people only tell us we’re good all the time, we won’t learn and develop our skills.

But we need to make sure that the critiques we decide to post actually offer constructive advice and are respectful when doing so. We should be helping to raise each other up, not bring each other down.

As a content creator myself, I can promise you that the vast majority of us take thoughtful responses to heart to see if any of it can be used to improve our material or our method of delivery.

The Easiest Test

In most cases, unnecessary rudeness is easy to identify, but other times, it’s not so clear. If you’re unsure if you’re being rude, the easiest test is to simply ask yourself, “Would I ever say this in person?”

Just as the men in this video struggled to read these remarks when face to face with their recipients, chances are most of us (if honest with ourselves) would be just as challenged.

If you wouldn’t dare say it in person, you shouldn’t be saying it online.

We ALL Deserve Respect

Given the recent U.S. election results, now, more than ever, many are fearing an increase in unnecessary and archaic hate crimes. Whether or not you believe President Elect Donald Trump’s stance to be for or against this behaviour, we need to remember that we are the ones responsible for what we do and do not do; we are culpable for both our actions, and our inaction.

For the record, this video was released well before Donald Trump was elected into power.

Neither of these women, or any of us for that matter, should be subject to this kind of negativity. While we may not be able to control most forms of abuse, this is one that we can all work to prevent.

When you come across posts or comments like these, choose to do something about it. Take the time to respond and defend the content creator, or at the very least report it as abuse. It’s time we all step up to the plate in creating an online world we are proud to be a part of.

Written by MARK DENICOLA. Mark has been writing for Collective Evolution and other online platforms for over 6 years. Much of his content centers around personal development, self-help, and conscious food for thought.

Follow Mark on: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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