For Good or for Evil?

Remember Deep Throat? He captured the imagination of a nation and gained notoriety as the secret informant who helped expose the Watergate scandal in the early ’70s.

Though his true identity was finally revealed in 2005 as W. Mark Felt, Deep Throat hid for more than 30 years behind the shroud of his mysterious persona. The jury is still out on whether the move was incredibly cowardly or incredibly genius.

But here we are, a few decades later, and kids in select schools across the United States are taking a cue from Felt. A CNN article published a few weeks ago spotlighted a Web site created by a college student that allows students to anonymously report bullies and offer up information about drugs, theft and harassment to school administrators — things they otherwise might not do for fear of being identified.

To some, this might seem like a fair proposition. After all, the perpetrator gets caught, the innocent person who reports it walks away unscathed, justice prevails and everybody’s happy. Right?

Well, that’s how it would work in a perfect world. But in reality, there are users out there who are more inclined to abuse anonymity for their own personal gratification and selfish motives. And the Internet makes this deception even easier.

For example, there exist legitimate, functioning Web sites — such as Mybiggestcomplaint.com and JustRage.com — that encourage users to vent their frustrations publicly. Users can post vitriolic attacks, expletives and all, on any topic of their choice…


Deanna Hartley

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