It is certainly difficult to live with it on a constant basis.
But when the limelight fades and they’re alone in the dark, they have to ask themselves, “Is this who I really want to be? Please check out Emuna’s new book A Diamond for Your Daughter – A Parent’s Guide to Navigating Shidduchim Effectively, available through Judaica Press Emuna Braverman has a law degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters in in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University.
Every day some new manifestation of the dangers of social media occurs. When I was a kid, phone pranks were popular (you know the old “Is your refrigerator running? While I’m not justifying it, it had no long-term consequences and was a brief, silly moment. (Although sometimes you are found out and it’s truly embarrassing, if not criminal! The consequences in this world may be very limited. But when we think of what is at stake, maybe we will stop before we hit send. There is no authority stopping you (except the Higher One), it doesn’t necessarily happen in real time, our victims don’t see who we are and can’t exact retribution or revenge.
Now it seems to be “trolling” where, under the cover of anonymity, it is possible (and increasingly more prevalent) to steal personal data, call in emergency SWAT teams, write mocking posts on Facebook memorial pages, threaten rape and other violence to people who take positions you don’t like (like Anita Sarkeesian whose “crime” was to point out the misogyny in video games), write virulently anti-Semitic posts (apparently so many that the deputy Washington editor of the NY Times felt compelled to delete his Twitter account) – the list of possibilities and types of attacks is virtually endless. We can allow for teenagers to engage in the occasional innocent prank. It has the makings of a “perfect crime.” Yet whether it fits the definitions in the criminal justice system or not, it is a crime – against others and against oneself.
The Trump campaign signaled that the Republican presidential nominee would address the birther controversy, but the first 20 minutes of the event featured veterans telling the media why they supported Trump.
Although some of these “trolls” are certainly people with serious personality disorders, they are mostly “normal” people, and when asked why they did it, the typical response seems to be “It seemed fun at the time.” The invisibility of the action allows them to dissociate from the consequences. But the internet permits people to cross the line, with seeming impunity and immunity. There is a famous maxim in Ethics of Our Fathers which would limit trolling if people would remember it and reflect on it. It is a hardening of our souls and a callusing of our humanity. But it is not harmless and there is an ultimate price to pay. Let's make sure that we don’t have an “inner troll” and if we do, let's root it out before it’s too late.
We are reminded to “Know what is above you – a watchful Eye, an attentive Ear, and all your deeds are recorded in a Book” (Avos, 2:1). It is bullying and cruelty and cowardice all rolled into one. For a brief moment, a troll may be in the limelight. While internet fame may be brief and fading, the Almighty’s Book is forever.
Marc Lamont Hill a host of BET News, called Trump’s stunt “repugnant.” “Donald Trump has never give a speech this short before on any issue! “He talks for hours sometimes when it’s supposed to be five minutes.” CNN’s Dana Bash admitted that CNN would have never aired Trump’s event if it knew about the structure of the event.
“What they did, was tease us that he was going to say something, then as John said, played us by making sure that everybody who has an ability to show Donald Trump actually took 20 minutes or got 20 minutes of very important decorated veterans praising somebody who they think should be the next commander-in-chief, which would not have been live on cable news otherwise,” she said.
But they were forced to return to Trump just minutes later as he made a short definitive statement that he believed that Obama was born in the United States.“I really don’t quite know what to make of that except for that we got played again by the Trump campaign which is what they do,” said John King afterward, pointing out that Trump tricked them into covering a live event.