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Is Negativity Online as Addictive as a Drug?

Whether it’s keeping up with the buzz on your favorite celebrity on TMZ or gossiping with friends on Facebook, the internet has become everyone’s number one source for everything, good and bad. But how much is too much? Has negativity online become as addicting as a drug?

Ever see something online, maybe an article or a video, that’s become popular but attracts negative attention? Well what is your first instinct? To check it out yourself. Then one thing leads to another and you’re posting mean comments right along with everyone else. But the most befuddling part about it all is that, even if you realize it’s harmful and you decide not to look anymore, a lot of the time you find yourself not being able to control yourself. Even if you know you won’t like what you see, you become addicted to knowing what’s on there and it becomes your drug.

The ABC Family movie Cyberbully is a good example. In the movie, the bullied teen Taylor couldn’t help herself from checking and seeing what people were saying about her despite the fact she knew it’d hurt her.
From my own personal experience recently, it was people posting mean and negative things about my favorite singer. That may sound silly, but it’s something a lot of people deal with when they’re dedicated to their favorite celebrity and haters speak out. Except this time, it was fellow fans doing the posting. Out of shock and opposition, I posted in defense, but eventually after reading too many hurtful comments, I decided to just not go on the website anymore. But that was easier said than done as I found myself wanting to keep going back and reading what people were saying.

It turns into an addictive drug that becomes harder and harder to get off of. And unfortunately, it isn’t so easy to all out avoid it when you‘re online, as there will always be someone saying something negative. But over time, I realized it wasn’t doing myself any good by reading hurtful comments about someone that I care about from people who have succumb to the negativity and drama. There’s a line that’s drawn between defending someone and just avoiding the controversy, and I learned to take the high road and ignore it.

When it comes to the internet, as much as you feel like you can state your own opinion, at the same time you can’t. If you say how you feel, there will always be someone disagreeing, then eventually it turns into a battle between a group who agrees with you and a group that thinks differently and someone will always get hurt. But the sad truth is, people will say what they want online. They don’t think about it, they just do it, no matter who it could hurt or insult. If you have a computer, you’ve seen it, or may have even succumb to it yourself. But the trick is to ignore it. Don’t give in and don’t take things to heart, just simply ignore it. I know from experience that it can be one of the hardest things to do as it is as addictive as a drug, but in the long run it’s the best thing to do.

If you’ve been dealing with negative, hurtful or insulting posts online that you can’t quite do anything about, here are some tips on how to get yourself off the “drug” and ignore it all:
* If an addicting site is saved in your bookmarks, delete the link. Out of sight, out of mind.
* Try and only go on positive websites where not much cyber contact is made.
* Try and take a break from the computer all together if possible to clear your mind.
* Remember to stay true to what you believe and never let any negative comments from other people change how you feel or who you are.



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An addict said...
Dec. 26, 2011 at 8:48 pm:
Excellent article. I became addicted to reading the comment sections on news articles in national newspapers etc. I even find myself skimming the article and skipping straight to the comments even though I know that I'm going to get annoyed by the often nasty, smug and 'know-it-all' comments, from self-professed and often bitter 'experts'. Of course there are always the aggreable comments too, but they're not usually the ones that stick. I've often stayed up until the early hours reading co... (more »)
 
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