Mob Mentality is Prevalent in Most Internet Forums with Members Harassing Others Who Don't Conform
If you've spent any time in internet forums, you'll discover quickly almost every one of them has a roaming gang that engages in mob mentality.
This roaming gang usually consists of a small group of people who will
travel through every forum topic, posting rude, harassing, threatening and sometimes even racist, sexist and homophobic comments to others in the forums who don't agree with the thought of the group. One member of the gang will start the harassment, followed quickly by other members of the gang who encourage the original poster and add comments of their own.
Others will also pile on to add often ruder and even more harassing comments to the person or people that's the target that day. But why do some people join internet gangs and engage in mob mentality and why do others not?
Weak People Usually Join Internet Gangs - People who have been taught to think for themselves rarely join internet gangs. Usually, if you've been taught to think for yourself, you don't need the encouragement of a group of people to give your opinion weight or to add to your self-confidence. You know your own mind, you know what you think and you don't need other people to agree with you to make you feel good about yourself.
Weak people, who don't have confidence in their own opinions and ideas, feel the need to be validated by others. By joining an internet gang and being bolstered by others, it makes them believe they are powerful. Whereas in real life, most of these people have very little power. On the internet, where no-one can discover who they really are, they gain the supposed-power they don't have in their off-the-internet lives.
Abused People Are Often Members of Internet Gangs - Just about any psychiatrist worth their salt will tell you a bully was usually bullied themselves at some point in their life. While still children, many bullies are abused at home. The only way they know to get power for themselves is to bully who they consider are the weaker kids, thus the abused becomes the abuser.
Some psychiatrists think the same mentality is evident in internet forums. People who are being or have been abused in real life (by fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, co-workers etc) feel like they have no power. Then
they join an internet forum, are welcomed into a gang and, suddenly, the power they've never had in every day life is given to them in a forum. The mob mentality feels comfortable to them and handing out abuse to others feels 'normal'.
Those, however, who have come from well-adjusted and healthy homes are usually taught bullying is wrong, joining in with the mob mentality is wrong and putting down other people to make you feel better about yourself is wrong.
Mob Mentality is Worse in Internet Forums Than Real Life - The nature of the internet makes mob mentality even more prevalent than in the real world. With a computer screen between them and the person they're bullying and often with fake screen names no-one can track, these internet bullies feel completely safe and comfortable saying things to someone online they would never have the courage to say face to face in person.
You'll also find the worst bullies are those who leave comments under 'Anonymous'. Without the courage to even sign their own name, they are also usually the weakest of people in real life.
How To Stop the Mob Mentality - Ignore it. The people who perpetrate mob mentality have little or no power. They just think they do. The support of the group gives them the illusion that they're powerful. They also thrive on responses to their harassing comments.
The more you comment or try to defend yourself, the ruder, the more hurtful and the more out of control they become. The people who involve themselves in mob mentality deserve your pity and not your fear. Think of them as inconsequential people who are fooling themselves that they're more important than they really are.
Besides, if you come from a well-adjusted background, you probably have more important things to do with your life than waste it on fools. Leave them to their mob mentality. Eventually, as has happened throughout history, the mob will feed on itself. And when it does, not one of the members is safe.
As a final note, I have to say I always feel sorry for people who get sucked into the mob mentality of internet forums. While they're bolstering themselves up with delusions of grandeur, in reality, off the computer and
back to their often sad little lives, I just think how unhappy they must really be.
Just think about it. Someone who has hours every day to spend in internet forums abusing others cannot have much of a life off the computer. It's just not possible. Besides, my parents always taught me to ignore bullies as they're not worth one second of your time.
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