I have a serious problem... I'm addicted to reading YouTube comments. I can't help it! Whenever I'm watching or finished watching a video, I'm genuinely curious about the reactions of others and their thoughts on the subject matter. What I never expected though, is how incredibly rude and hateful some of the comments are.
Personally (even if I strongly disagreed with someone or didn't like something), I would never say or post some of the things I've seen:
Ew, you really need to change [this about yourself].
You are complete cancer.
Go kill yourself.
It completely floors me to see things like this - no constructive criticism or helpful feedback at all - just straight up harassment. I've mentioned cyberbullying in a previous post, "Accepting Your Body Image" and while I flip my middle finger at anything blatantly hurtful that might come my way, I know how difficult it can be for some to do the same. This brings me to another issue that's been circling the net lately - YouTube's recent changes to their terms of service.
You can read up on all the changes in YouTube's policy changes here: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2802268?hl=en&ref_topic=2803176, but what it boils down to is that any form of harassment and/or malicious attack in the form of a video, comment, message, etc. won't be tolerated any longer and can/will be subject to removal upon being flagged or reported. My first reaction to this was a happy one, until I saw all of the reactions from others online, claiming that this policy inhibits free speech.
I don't want to get into it too much (especially because I am in no way qualified to make any kind of report or know everything about the situation enough to make a statement), but I'm pretty sure that YouTube is a privately owned company and not a democracy or government where the will and rights of the people are protected under the First Amendment. Also, the First Amendment is a right stated in the United States Constitution, and YouTube is a global video-sharing site, so using "freedom of speech" as an argument for being a complete asshole online seems kind of silly to me (in my opinion).
Because I can't get enough of all the salt in the comment section, I also saw the argument that people need to "suck it up." Have tougher skin. Get over it. And I totally get it. If I bitched and moaned every time someone said something negative to or about me, I'd never get anywhere. BUT... I mean, seriously? Do you really think people just need to start getting used to being verbally abused - even if it is just online? 'Cause to me, that sounds horribly ridiculous. Then again, is that just me?
Of course I do not want my right to speak up to be taken away. Not in the slightest. And maybe some of the comments of outrage on this change are correct, maybe this is the beginning of unwanted censorship. However, I do think that people also have the human right to feel safe. And maybe it's just me, but there is a HUGE difference from receiving a mildly irritating message from a non-subscriber to getting death threats/racial slurs/sexist remarks/whatever from someone who legitimately wants you to feel like complete shit. Shouldn't that be the cause of concern? Rather than arguing to keep videos/channels up that are targeted to harass others? Is it that difficult to just be kind to one another?
I will never be one of those people that pushes for others to agree with me or my opinions, but I will always say what I mean and mean what I say. I would love for people to be kinder to one another.More generous. More thoughtful. More forgiving. On the other hand, I can admit that even I have trouble with those things sometimes. Even so, I think being kind is an extremely important thing that we shouldn't push aside. It can be difficult, especially when the action isn't being reciprocated, but please excuse me for being a complete hippie when I say that "love is all you need." Because I truly feel like it is. You don't need to be hateful or angry... you're just choosing to be.
Holding in hate and anger makes me feel heavy. I don't know if that makes any sense, but I don't like feeling that way. When I let go of those things that make me unhappy and focus on all the love in my life (love of family, friends, my fiancé, art, movies, books, nature, life, anything!), I feel better. And I think if we all made an effort to focus a little less on other people's shortcomings and a lot more on dealing with all that saltiness on the inside, we'd all feel better.