Pretending on the Internet: As a Whole

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By Carly Cantor

People have a habit of acting differently behind a screen. It could be overly positive or the opposite. In my personal experience, it’s been both. I realize there’s a sense of comfort that comes with being online in opposition to saying certain things in real life. I like to think this is because you can’t physically see people’s facial reactions, and you are able to prepare yourself for what they might say. 

Pretending to be somebody you’re not has always had a significant effect on my views. I had a period of my life where I did it everyday, and I don’t think I could ever go back to feeling that way. This experience has made it so I can usually identify when others are going through the same thing. And, though a blessing, it is also a curse of sorts, as seeing this behavior makes me angry. 

I know many others feel this same way when seeing influencers on the internet act phony or corny. I believe the entire act is filled to the brim with stupidity, and it is much more appealing when internet-stars are ‘real’ with their audience. 

However, idiotic influencers aren’t the main focus of internet-pretenders. Who is? Cyber bullies. We are taught about cyber bullying in school and laugh, but do we ever truly think about what those people may be going through? I think about it a lot, actually. I believe it’s pathetic to swarm somebody’s comments on a post for no particular reason. And, I honestly don’t think they do it because they have “nothing better to do”. Mental health in my generation has become such an important topic, and though the people being targeted by these bullies are obviously put first, we should take into consideration what the aggressors may be going through as well. 

But pretending behind a screen doesn’t necessarily have to be public for everybody to see. It could be that you’re lying to your friends or even family. Doing this is honestly a little harder considering these people know you and see you, but it’s been done many times, even by myself. This type of pretending could include text messages, emails, calls, etc. It’s hard to notice sometimes because usually it isn’t overly out of character, but you must be able to identify it. There aren’t really steps to this sort of thing, you simply follow your gut and make sure to communicate with that person and ask them.

There are too many issues regarding pretending to be something you aren’t. It takes a strenuous toll on your mental health, and I just overall don’t recommend ever utilizing this way to avoid problems. It’s ineffective in the long run, and will only hurt you and others. 

Sincerely, your local teen talk writer,

Carly Cantor