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Should Online Users Be Required To Use Their “Real Name?”

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One of the major issues facing the “online world” is cyber-bullying. With MySpace, Twitter and Facebook, it has become easier for those intending to attack others via the internet. The issue of anonymity has come up recently. Should people be required to use their “real name” when accessing an account or using an account on the major social network sites?Randi Zuckerberg, (Mark Zuckerberg’s sister) was recently quoted as saying…

“I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away,” “People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.”Marie Claire Magazine

To me it makes a lot of sense. Just like when people drive large suv’ s and cars. They have a false sense of strength or security and act/drive more agressive. The same happens with online predators and bullying.

The counter argument is that victims of sexual abuse or other related crimes need to remain anonymous to protect them. The other argument against is that it will limit the extent of certain discussion online that may otherwise be productive when people comment or share ideas anonymously.

It has even happened here at WYRK and on my own social network sites. We get anonymous comments/emails and texts many times. Some are good-natured but, there are those that are simply vicious. When there is no legitimate email/name attached, there is no chance for us to have a discussion or response to these “drive by” comments.

I imagine that these policies may be hard to enforce. However, there needs to be some sort of action taken to thwart off would be attackers. In some cases it IS a matter of life or death. Just consider the amount of suicide cases that have occurred as a result of cyber-bullying.


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