When I think of the many issues humans face with computers and the internet being so prominent in today’s society I automatically think of safety and relationships. I think of these two things automatically because those are two areas of my life that have been so greatly affected by the internet. As all other humans, I never stopped to think that computers and the internet have affected other people in many different ways.
After reading an essay that was assigned to me which was titled, “A Rape in Cyberspace, or How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database into a Society”, my eyes were opened to a whole new world I’ve never been exposed too. I am often ashamed to admit this, but my geeky older brother is sadly a frequent player of the online game World of Warcraft which I couldn’t even begin to explain the purpose of. Watching my brother go from a social member of our society who used to go out with his friends and have bonfires on Friday nights, to a zombie who eats and stays up to all hours of the night to play a computer game broke my heart. Reading Dibbell’s essay about an online world where college kids log in every day to role play their fictional characters confused me , why are college students doing this when they could go to the student center and live out their fictional game. I have no idea what type of quirky action plays out in my brother’s virtual community, but in Dibbell’s essay she explains a rape that happens in an online house called LambdaMOO. If I thought being so submerged in an online game was unhealthy before, I was right.
Not only do these online games promote people to alienate themselves from reality, but they are filled with creepy dark minded people. It scares me to think that my future children could end up addicted to an online game that contains creepy men who are just trying to get a rise out of harming others. In the essay Dibbell interviews one of the women whose online character gets raped by the voodoo doll. In this interview “Legba”, the lady whose character gets raped admitted to actually crying about the situation. If an online game is projecting mental distress onto its players the game is obviously poisonous and unhealthy. In a book Jay David Bolter wrote titled Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print he states that novelist E. Annie Proulx stated that “no one is going to read a novel on a twitchy little screen. Ever” in 1994. I bet she would have never imagined that people would transfer not only their books to digital copies but also their relationships. It’s one thing to use social media apps like Facebook and Instagram to connect with friends who one has met through the course of their social life, but to use the internet to create those relationships is just unhealthy in so many ways. Humans need actual human interaction to stay sane, and these cyber world games are doing the complete opposite.