Mind your online manners

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Mind your online manners

The Internet has become essential to everyone, especially in Korea. With our well-made Internet infrastructure, Koreans have become accustomed to the Internet culture and its influence in life. However, it seems that Korean netizens don’t have proper online manners commensurate with the country’s advanced development in hardware infrastructure for the Internet. One example of this is the prevalence of malicious commentary by Korean netizens.

Mostly, the biggest victims of malicious comments are well-known entertainers. I am highlighting examples of those entertainers who have become victims of malicious comments by Korean netizens.

The first is the case of Yuni, a female singer who assumed a sexy image she usually wore low-cut dresses and sang seductive songs. From my perspective, although sometimes she exposed her body too much, she did her best as a singer and was a polite and decent person. However, many netizens heaped calumny on her through groundless rumors and personal attacks. For instance, they said that Yuni had slept with the president of the entertainment company managing her career. As everyone knows, this kind of rumor really hurts a woman. Other online attacks included commentary posted under Yuni’s pictures or online articles about her, such as, “She looks like a prostitute” or “Why is she called a singer? I think she is a stripper.”

No one can endure such awful insults. Just before the release of her third album, Yuni hanged herself in her room. What a tragedy! I was not a big fan of Yuni, but I felt really upset about her fate. Right after her death, it seemed that a lot of netizens reflected on their conduct, and I expected there would be no more victims like Yuni. But my expectation soon proved unrealistic.

Recently, malicious comments proliferated online about Son Tae-young, who announced her marriage to Kwon Sang-woo the other day. As both are well known stars, the announcement of their marriage was hot gossip in the online world. However, the interest in their marriage turned into malicious attacks about Son Tae-young’s past relations with other men. While it may be true, don’t many of us also fall in love with other people before marriage? It is totally unreasonable for Son Tae-young to be criticized for her love affairs just because she is a well-known actress. Because so many bitter words about Son Tae-young flooded the Internet, most newspapers and Internet portals reported and commented on these stories. Who gave them the right to meddle in other people’s love affairs or marriage aren’t these completely private matters?

When cultural and intellectual development falls far behind technological development, it is called cultural lag. This cultural lag is on display in the behavior of some netizens. I hope Koreans will develop better online manners.

Eom Sujin, student, Seoul National University
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