Social networking produces generation of cowards

Hadeel Abusaud, Opinion Editor

I have never been in an argument with someone face-to-face.

All of my trivial fights in middle school were about my friend taking me off their “Top Friends,” taking my profile song or stealing my profile background via MySpace messaging. All of my equivalently frivolous high school problems have been via Facebook, text messaging, Tumblr and Twitter. With great shame, I admit that I share a flaw with the majority of my generation: I’m unable to confess to someone that I’m enraged without being behind the security of a screen.

The ability to think before you speak has saved many of us from facing some uncomfortable situations. But with the new norm of sending anonymous hate and creating fake accounts on social networking sites, it’s become clear that our generation not only lacks a filter when it comes to speaking our minds online, but we are unwilling to face the consequences of our thoughts head on.

Twitter users have invented their own word to use for when they are indirectly talking about someone specifically — subtweeting. If you look up “#subtweet,” millions of tweets will show up of angsty teens who are too cowardly to say it to that person’s face, whether it’s a rant about mommy and daddy not buying them the brand new car they wanted, a teacher that expected them to stay awake during class or an enemy that just passed by in the hallway.

In addition, creating an anonymous account and impersonating someone else on the Internet is a third degree felony. But regardless, people still create anonymous accounts, either unaware or apathetic to the serious consequences it can bring.

However, we may be the largest offender of anonymous hate, we aren’t the only generation who hide behind a safety barrier. All drivers experience road rage at one point or another. They don’t think twice about throwing a finger to the car that’s in their way but are quick to hide their face when they end up at a red light next to them.

Some argue that having a fight through texting or messaging is better because it helps them thoroughly think their thoughts out rather than when they’re in person and can’t really think about what they’re going to say next and how they’re going to word it. But using technology every time we’re incapable of verbally saying what we’re talking about makes us even more dependent on our mobile devices and tablets, and in turn, makes us more socially inept.

If investigated, all the people I follow on the multiple social networking sites I use would be criminals of the law ­­— including myself. While we can point fingers at cops for not cracking down on each of us for the cruel, offensive things we say online, we should be well aware that even if the First Amendment gives us freedom of speech, there is always a limit to the things we say. There is always going to be something too offensive or insulting, and no matter how private you think your things are, they aren’t.

So don’t be a coward.