With the growing amount of criticism toward violent games, little has been said about the environment of multiplayer games. Play any network like Xbox Live, and you will eventually hear a variety of insults ranging from death threats to racial slurs. In one way, it all boils down to deindividuation and anonymity. Deindividuation happens when social norms are tossed out of the window because a person's identity is concealed while in a group. In this example, people gain the freedom to taunt their opponents because they're miles away from each other and they feel powerful when hiding behind their screen. Like conformity, you lose your sense of self.
Personally, I try to avoid any multiplayer video game because they foster such a negative atmosphere. However, I've been accustomed to the downright rude criticisms in the beauty forum on Soompi, my favorite Korean pop culture website. Ranging from the latest beauty reviews to the outfit of the day thread, the forum is a guilty pleasure for any girl obsessed with the latest trends. However, their rating system can get out of hand because posts are allowed to receive negative votes. For instance, there are times where an OOTD post would receive 20 negative votes, and no one would bother to explain what the person did wrong.
Here is an example of an outfit of the day from Fuzkittie, a popular beauty guru:
With the additional bandwagon effect and the anonymity found in forums, I find it highly offensive that people don't consider the feelings of others. For one, people should deserve some respect because they actually have the courage to show their face to people they don't even know. Sadly, deindividuation can bring out the worst of us. If there is a solution to this, I would say a simple way is to put your actually name to any account. I know how people are sensitive with displaying their personal information, but having your name on something is a healthy reminder that you're accountable for your behavior. The impact of deindividuation and even the whole entire study of social psychology will always be in my mind for years to come. On a final note, deindividuation has definitely opened up my eyes to how powerful our social situation can influence us.