By: Elizabeth Bernstein
Published: October1, 2012; The Wall Street Journal; http://online.wsj.com Alternatively, just google the title and writer’s name.
Level of Difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU READ
- Read the title of the text. Do you think people say and do things online that they would never do face to face?
- What do you think the reasons for this might be?
NOTE TO THE STUDENT
As you read the text, make notes on the reasons for rudeness online and any other information you consider relevant.
1. Read the story of the pitbull to the end. Why exactly did Jennifer Bristol’s old friend, the ER doctor, unfriend her? Answer in your own words.
2. What does “That” refer to in the sentence “That unleashed a torrent”?
3. For what two reasons does the writer think anonymity is not the reason for rudeness?
4. Why exactly does Facebook lower our self control?
5. What interesting parallel does Keith Wilcox mention? You will need to tweak the text.
6. What bad habits and life style factors were observed in subjects in the study involving 541 Facebook users?
7. What interesting conclusion was reached in the third study?
8. What is the consequence of not being face to face with the person we are addressing and the resulting lack of inhibition?
9. Why do people feel especially offended by a thoughtless remark on Facebook?
10. Read the story of Mr. Bolcik to the end. For what two reasons does he post extreme and controversial comments? Do you agree? Discuss.
11. How does he deal with a flare up that spirals out of control?
Imagine you work for a popular daily and your editor has asked you to write a summary of this text to be included in the paper. Use your notes to write the summary.
WHY WE ARE SO RUDE ONLINE KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
I believe that it is always a good idea to cover material the students are familiar with to facilitate discussion and the voicing of opinions. This text is a good example and should generate plenty of discussion. The text is well organized and easy to make notes on so the summary should be a doddle too. If you have never shown students how to make notes on a reading text, you may want to make notes together on the board.
1. Possible answer: He considered her responsible when he was the victim of some harsh language.
2. In 15 years doing this, I am yet to see a golden retriever bite that had to go to the operating room or killed its target.
3. Because on many websites we aren’t as anonymous as we think and even when we reveal our identities we still misbehave.
4. When we have an inflated sense of self, we tend to exhibit poor self control.
5. Poor self control and an inflated sense of self are often displayed by people impaired by alcohol as well as people on Facebook.
6. Binge eating, they have a greater body mass index, more credit card dept and a lower credit score.
7. People who spent more time on Facebook were more likely to give up on difficult tasks more quickly.
8. Aggression online.
9. Because Facebook promises us a face and a place where we are going to have friends.
10. He is interested in how people who have different opinions think; for the entertainment purpose
11. He privately messages one of his attach dog friends.