Janet Sternberg, a communications professor at Fordham University in New York has done extensive writing about online civility. She compares television and the internet to show how the internet perpetuatess childhood. A cultural critic Neil Postman asserted, “TV ended childhood — the medium provided an impetus for young people to act older.” Sternberg says the Internet has done the opposite of television.
One important arguement that Sternberg makes is that internet has a clique for every adolescent from class clowns, bullies, drama queens and fanboys. All of these cliques participate in squabbles. Sternberg states that people get instant gratification from competing and calling each other names, watching car crashes, or sharing whatever is on their mind.
She mentions Freud and his “Civilization and Its Discontents,” which argues that civilization relies on restraint of childish behavior. The Internet is a reflection of our larger civilization and how people behave online shows how they conduct themselves in society.
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