One of the greatest gifts the internet offered us is the ability of people to be anonymous. It allows people to freely explore interests and interact with each other without fear of being prejudiced against. It is even better for teens who are still discovering themselves. However, anonymity still has its bad side. There are valid arguments when it comes to online anonymity and this article will discuss both sides.
1. Freedom of Speech
Pro: Online anonymity has made it possible for people to air their views on several topics. Some topics are trivial while others are serious. People can share their stories and spread their messages. Activists, for example, can advocate and defend their beliefs without fear.
Con: By having the freedom to freely air their views; people become more prone to online abuse. People who have blogs or websites know how easy it is to become a target. The freedom people have to hide behind avatars makes them more confident and fearless when making comments online. You find that there are those who will abuse the freedom by speaking in a very harsh manner. This ends up affecting those who are spoken against.
You can also find others misusing the internet by being excessively mean knowing the repercussions are not severe. They can get away with making death threats and promoting rape culture or racism. In the real world, these would have been dealt with in a severe manner. Unfortunately, the internet is not as strict as the real world.
2. Less criticism
Pro: When you post something anonymously online, people do not know your identity. This makes it possible to discuss hot topics and share sensitive information without worrying that you will be judged for your opinion. There are times the discussions will get heated, but all you need to do is step away from the keyboard.
Con: Since you are posting anonymously, you can easily distort the facts before sharing them. This also extends to online communities. When you meet a person online, you cannot be sure that they are revealing their true selves. You can also get conned easily by people claiming to sell certain products.
3. Whistleblowers can come out and share information
Pro: It is easy for whistle blowers to share and release information concerning wrongful acts that were committed. Being anonymous helps them share without worrying that there will be repercussions like being dismissed from work or being targeted by others.
Con: if a whistle blower comes out with information but withholds their identity, they will be perceived to be lying. When it comes to information posted by anonymous persons, you need to take everything with a pinch of salt since you do not know who is lying or not. Unless you know the source, you are not likely to believe everything you hear.
4. Online safety
Pro: When you browse online anonymously, you ensure you are safe during the time you are online. This is important especially for teens that are discovering everything about themselves. Being anonymous gives them a chance to explore and express themselves without fear of being trolled and cyber bullying.
Con: If you only focus on the safety your online life provides, you will never know how to deal with the real world. You can find yourself running to your online space any time you face a challenge. When your online life is taken away, you can find yourself unable to cope because it was easier running away from your problems than face them.
5. Internet exploration
Pro: Almost everything is available online. This makes people spend more time online. You can make new connections and interact in different communities online without revealing your real identity. This gives you a chance to try different things out and eliminate what you do not like.
Con: Being anonymous gives you the chance to explore the internet on a larger scale. However, that increases the chances of getting addicted to the online world. This will make it difficult to establish connections in the real world since all your connections are online. It is not surprising to find a person not having any friends except those that are online.