YouTube recently overhauled their comment system, requiring users to associate accounts with their Google+ profiles, and it’s partly in hopes of cleaning up the usually foul, rude, and demeaning posts that makes the site notorious among Internet trolls. While some of them try to lessen the offensive blow by appending their remarks with phrases with a “LOL” or “just kidding,” a recent poll shows that online backpedaling in the same space as a slur is not an effective way of saving face virtually. It turns out, you’re still a nasty human being and everybody knows it.
The Associated Press and MTV initiated the survey, which reveals that the majority of the 1,300 kids interviewed admit that even though posting offensive comments is mostly considered normal (juvenile) behavior and that most people their age hardly ever take these potshots seriously, witty disclaimers don’t really water down insults. In fact, 52 percent of respondents between the ages of 14 and 24 – that’s eight percent higher than results from a similar poll taken two years earlier – say it’s better to avoid bigoted comments entirely, even if they’re aimed toward friends who know you don’t really mean to be mean. Six out of 10 affirm that dishing out derogatory statements is totally not OK, not even when it’s followed by “just kidding.”
Despite this, the amount of negative commentary on the Web doesn’t seem to be on the decline. Rude comments have been steadily high since last year, with higher concentration coming from YouTube and Facebook as well as gaming communities like Xbox Live, and they’re usually aimed toward women, homosexuals, African-Americans, and overweight people.
“Young people saying derogatory stuff is most often posted online or texted on cellphones to be funny or cool,” The AP explains. “Less than a third believe a major reason people use slurs is because they actually harbor hateful feelings toward the groups they are maligning.”
Now that more sites are taking a page from Facebook’s playbook by associating your comment section usernames with a profile that’s already crammed with pertinent personal information, you may want to think twice before using this type of online behavior.