Imagine for a moment that you are suddenly in the mind of someone else, that you have an opportunity to create an entirely new you from a perspective in which you will meet all sorts of new people for the very first time. These people have no idea who you are or what you’ve done, thus allowing you an opportunity to present an entirely new persona for yourself. This isn’t simply a psychological myth, it is a completely possible scenario that occurs everyday in the world of online gaming. Being online in nigh complete anonymity brings out another side of people, a side that allows them to freely display sides of themselves that under normal circumstances they would never let see the light of day; a normally reserved individual may curse like a sailor while playing an online fps, and outspoken advocate of equal rights may jokingly dole out a racial slur, these sorts of events are rather commonplace in a world veiled by a shroud anonymity.
What causes people to display these hidden, even uncharacteristic sides of themselves? Perhaps it simply is that promise of never meeting those you randomly play with online in real life, maybe it’s the effect of having a psychological mask that allows one to create and display a more bold side of themselves. Eitherway these occurrences allow us to see parts of ourselves that we may not even be fully aware of, parts of ourselves that might not be politically correct, but exist nonetheless. Or perhaps we simply enjoy making use of the fact that we can totally recreate who we are at any given point and time online, with the simple click of a button. It is this freedom that defines the benefits of the internet and the anonymity it can afford. But along with this freedom, does come the notion of personal responsibility, just because you have the freedom to say and act however you wish while online, should you? While it is certainly not required, nor are any moral standards heavily enforced, one should still hold true to their own personal integrity even whilst anonymous and online. Afterall if you can be you online, why can’t you do the same in real life?