We needed a good note to end 2020 on, and the viral Twisted Tea smackdown video is the justice we all needed to witness. A video posted before Christmas shows an idiot spewing slurs in a convenience store get the beating he deserves...with a can of Twisted Tea. The result is satisfying justice for the viewer and a lesson learned for the culprit.
I watched the video several times, wondering how a full grown man could justify speaking like that and delighting when the gentleman with the Twisted Tea finally shut him up. It was like listening to the in-game chat while playing Call of Duty, only with a more satisfying result. If only we could reach through our gaming headsets and beat the ever-loving crap out of trash talking trolls who spewed the same filth as the antagonist in the viral video.
But why on Earth do people talk like that? There have been multiple studies conducted on the psychology behind the connection between our phone screens and behavior.
The Association of Computer Machinery published an article detailing a study that was conducted by the University of Haifa in Israel. The study, conducted with 142 participants, explored "the impact of three typical online communication factors on inducing the toxic online disinhibition effect: anonymity, invisibility, and lack of eye-contact."
The study went on to state, "The results suggested that of the three independent variables, lack of eye-contact was the chief contributor to the negative effects of online disinhibition."
According to the Pew Research Center, 70% of women and 54% of men believe online harassment is a major problem. This issue has been the cause of many people changing settings, not posting content, or ceasing to use platforms.
It appears as though unchecked trolls have begun to take their bad behavior out into the streets. The confidence gained from hiding behind computer screens has given them the delusion of being able to continue that behavior face to face.
In a previous article, we discussed the repercussions of faulting the victims of harassment for fighting back. Not only does this impact the individual being harassed psychologically, but reinforces the negative behavior in the aggressor.
As a society, we have allowed this toxic behavior to grow into an outlandish problem. At this point, trolls like the one in the viral video literally need to be smacked into reality. Maybe if we began carrying around cans of Twisted Tea (or whatever your preferred canned alcoholic beverage is), this world would be a much nicer place.