Isn’t this really considered bullying?
Yes, the term cyber bullying was coined specifically to identify when individuals become targets of bullying in virtual spaces. Again, because of anonymity, it is oftentimes difficult to identify the perpetrators of bullying online.
When someone leaves a hateful comment, it obviously makes the person on the receiving end feel bad. But I have to believe that it also makes the sender feel bad. Does it?
It depends on what purpose the comment serves for both the target and the perpetrator. Apparently there are what users refer to as online “trolls” whose purpose it is to incite conflict and hostility on message boards and other sites online. In this case, I don’t know if we could say the perpetrator feels bad about a hateful comment, as it appears that is the purpose of “trolling” for these types of users.
What would be a better way for people to handle their objections or disagreements over the Internet?
Again, laws haven’t yet caught up to the technology, and our culture is lagging relative to other countries regarding the almost complete lack of regulation regarding the internet here. Some make the argument that users should not be allowed to be anonymous and must identify themselves, thus forcing some measure of civility between exchanges. Others are strongly opposed to forcing users to identify themselves, as this is seen as a gross form of censorship or “cyber policing” that is seen as too restrictive. As a culture I don’t think we have come up with effective answers yet.
Yes, there will always be angry and bitter people out there. The Internet didn’t produce more people like that–it only gives them a forum for those emotions. The best thing to do when you find yourself riled up and tempted to fire back at someone online, is to pause and walk away from your computer. Then, if the next day you still feel compelled to say something, ask yourself before leaving a comment, “Is this something I would say to someone’s face?” And, “Is this something I would want my kids/mother/friends to see?” Often times the answer will tell you how to proceed.