This I Believe

Kimberlee - Corona, California
Entered on October 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

How many people hide who they really are every day? How many people must resort to voyeurism, lest they be judged and mocked by others? How many find sanctuary from this in the embrace of the Internet?

I have observed great and terrible things on the Internet. I have seen things that every high school boy and girl has heard of; I have happened upon things that have made me question my very existence; I have bore witness to monstrosities that have angered me and yielded fiery response; I have stumbled upon things that I dare not speak the name of. All of these things, I am sure, are true for almost all avid Internet lurkers.

Parents, teachers, pastors, and the like would be horrified by some of the things that many of us see on a regular basis. Are these things bad for us? They would reply “Yes!” without the slightest hesitation.

I disagree. The extent of my disagreement is so profound that there exists no word in any human language that has the power to describe it.

The Internet is not a thing. The Internet is not a series of wires and tubes. The Internet is a world, and, like any world, its areas fall to the light and dark sides of the spectrum. It has its shrines, its parks, its ballrooms, its houses, its schools, its museums, its suburbs, its alleyways, its skid rows, and, of course, its gentlemen’s clubs. There is little to no difference between these places and their real-life counterparts.

On the Internet, every time one encounters a place that is new to them, how they react to it reflects their true character. In real life, people alter and mask their personalities in order to conform to the optimal images that others would hold them in. On the Internet, there is no such pressure. People are free to feel and do as they please. There is no one to impress there but yourself.

The Internet is the only place where many people can truly be themselves in our modern world. Women are pressured into conforming to either a wholesome image or to a sultry image. Men are pressured into conforming to either a steadfast image or an arrogant image. Teens have little choice but to be seen as the rebellious troublemakers that the majority of adults make them out to be. Children are left in the dust as the older generations consider them ignorant and not worthy of attention. If men, women, teens, and child wish to be treated equally, they must turn to anonymity. If blacks, whites, Asians, and Hispanics wish to be treated equally, they must turn to anonymity. If Atheists, homosexuals, and even pedophiles wish to be treated equally, they must turn to anonymity.

On the Internet, there exists anonymity. On the Internet, it means naught whether you are a king or a peasant. On the Internet, humanity is truly free. I believe that every human has the right to be themselves. I believe that every human has a throne in the embrace of the Internet.