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Are People Becoming More Rude, Especially In The Online World?

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In recent weeks, CBS 11 News has highlighted the problem of bullying in newscasts. Now an email attack on a Wisconsin television news anchor is drawing attention to bullying again.

CBS 11 talked to students today about how rude people seem to have become to one another — especially in the online world.

Anchor Jennifer Livingston’s slap back against a viewer’s verbal complaint about her weight and role model status has turned into a rallying call against bullying, and social media meanness.

Richland College student Daniel del Rio admitted, “ I criticize people too. I think we all do. All of us.”

When asked about her feelings about the email received by the WKBT-TV anchor fellow student Katherine Creecy said, “I don’t honestly get it. I don’t see why you would say that, other than jealously.”

Del Rio, Creecy and other Richland students were asked to explain why the tools of social media, popular web networking sites, and even email are gateways to mean-spirited acts towards others.

While all said they’ve seen it, others admitted doing it.

One student said, “I do it to be funny. Maybe it’s not really funny. Maybe I’m trying to be funny for my friends.”

In August an 11-year old girl, singing an off-key version of the national anthem, received hateful and threatening online comments from adults… by the dozens.

“I think as a whole, our society is becoming more aggressive, because we’re exposed to it [aggression] so much,” Psychology professor Jennifer Jones said.

Professor Jones believes social networking is often used as a tool in the dark, for those who’d never do the same in the light.

“This makes it so much easier, the virtual reality makes it easier to be aggressive and mean to others, because you don’t know who I am,” she said.

The Wisconsin anchorwoman certainly isn’t the first person to encounter such ugly attacks, but she may be one of the first to publicly fire back.

We want to know what you think about how people treat each other on the internet. Does it make it easier to be mean? Leave us a comment below.