Online vs Offline (Blogger of the Week)

Posted: 31st May 2015 by cdidoned3721 in Blogger of the Week

We live in a world surrounded by technology. We live in a world surrounded by people. Both technology and people are a daily part of our lives. We use technology to interact with people we know, and people we have never met before. Online interactions make the world a better place. Or do they?

The Facts

If you interact with people online, you might notice that they seem to act oddly. If you know them in person, you might notice they are different online. Even someone you think you know really well could change how they are when they are online. So, why do people act differently online compared to in real life? Here are a few reasons[1][3]:

1) We know we’re being watched.
The best way to boost someone's self-esteem online.

The best way to boost someone’s self-esteem online.

This reason is simple: the more “likes” we get on something, or the more people we can impress, the better we feel. It boosts self-esteem, and makes us feel better about ourselves. If we have to bend the truth to get those likes, then we will.

2) We choose what information about us can be seen.
What Facebook can do. Photo from:

What Facebook can do.

If something embarrassing happened in the past, and you don’t want people to know, would you tell anyone? Of course not. On the other hand, if you have a boring life but want people to think your life is exciting, what are you going to do? Lie, or only talk about and share the exciting things that happen. The internet is a place where we can pretend to have the life we want.

3) We can get too comfortable.
Getting too comfortable.

Getting too comfortable online.

When you’re with someone you don’t know, you tend to be shyer and don’t always say what you want. When you’re with your best friend, you are yourself and you say whatever you want. This is similar to the online world. When you’re new to the internet, you can be hesitant, but once you get comfortable, you say and do whatever you please. While this isn’t true for everyone, this was the case for me and a few other people I know.

4) Invisibility
You never know who you're talking to online.

You never know who you’re talking to online.

This one mostly applies to online gaming, unless you have an anonymous account on social media. People think that since no one knows who they really are, they can do whatever they want. They believe that they can say and do anything and they will never get in any trouble for it, because they won’t say their real name, or show their real face. People use the invisibility effect many different ways such as to say anything they want anonymously, mess with their friends, or even simply because they don’t want their information online. The invisibility effect could also be used to pretend to be someone your not, such as pretending to be a 16 year old boy when you are a 65 year old man. Tread carefully, because you never really know who you’re talking to.


What online disinhibition effect can seem like.

What online disinhibition effect can seem like.

While the internet can be a scary and unwelcoming place sometimes, it can also be a great and very welcoming place. We can talk to anyone in the world, stay connected more easily with friends and family, and learn many different things. But there is something that everyone has to look out for in their friends, family, and even themselves. It’s called the online disinhibition effect. [2]



The online (right) and offline (left) personalities of someone with ODE.

The online (right) and offline (left) personalities of someone with ODE.


Take everything you know about society and social conventions and throw it all out the window.  The online disinhibition effect states that certain people lose the need to act civil online. They still act normally in person and normal face-to-face interactions, but can be the rudest, most disrespectful person you’ve ever met when they’re online. The effect also states that the longer people spend online and the less time they spend with people in person, the more likely they will lose their social conventions online, and the worse it will become.

The Experience

The more I researched this topic, the more I realized that everything I was reading was the same. But as an avid Call of Duty player, I’ve had many experiences with people online. I’ve witnessed the different personalities of people, and I have watched my own personality change. The following information is what I have gathered during my online gaming time, and it easily proves that human beings tend to act completely different in an online setting.

1) Life as a “girl gamer”.
A normal gamer.

A normal gamer.

Certain girls are used to attention. They’re used to boys talking to them and wanting to be around them. I’ve never been one of those girls. On Xbox though, it’s a different story. I get attention, good and bad, even though I don’t want it. Two of the types of guys I’ve encountered on Xbox are the ones who harass me, and the ones who insult me.

First, the harassers. These guys say whatever pick-up lines that pop into their heads. Whether they’re cute, inappropriate, or just plain stupid, they’ll say them. Some won’t give up until I leave or mute them, and some give up as soon as they get rejected. I don’t know the exact reason why they do it, but I think they do it because they can. They do it because there’s no consequence. I can’t call the police if it gets too bad because I don’t know a single thing about them except their name on Xbox. They can do it, and then move on to the next girl to repeat the process.

The life of a girl that plays video games.

The life of a girl that plays video games.

Finally, there’s the insulters. Take every stereotype about women that you know. I’ve heard all of them at least 5 times. Every bad word you can think of, every assumption about women you’ve ever heard, and every old-fashioned, sexist comment ever invented. They’ve all been directed towards me. Boys on Xbox think it’s “funny” and “cool” to disrespect girls on Xbox because they’re immature and there’s no one online telling them they can’t. There’s no one to stop them, and there’s no consequences for doing it. The anonymous online world is a place where people can do whatever they want, and get away with it.

Some boys harass and insult girls in real life, but most are scared of the consequences. On Xbox, in a game where you’ll never talk to those people ever again and they don’t know a single thing about you, there are no consequences. People do and say whatever they want.

2) Girl vs Girl
Girl Gamer (left) vs Normal Gamer (right)

Girl Gamer (left) vs Normal Gamer (right)

It is very clear that girls love each other. Going out for “girl’s night”, going to the bathroom in groups, and standing in huge mobs around the school blocking parts of the hallway. Gossip is also a very important part of a female friendship, and is often directed towards other girls. What you would never see, however, is a girl going up to another girl who she’s never met before and starting a fight with her. A bit uncalled for, right? Welcome to Xbox, where everything you know about society is left behind the second you turn on the console.

Almost every time I have joined an online game that contains a girl, a fight starts between us. For some reason, girls find the need to fight each other online, for what I assume is “dominance over the game”. As soon as I open my mouth, a fight commences, for no other reason than to prove who is the dominant female. If it was up to me, no fights would start because I don’t see a point to them. I have never seen anything like that happen in real life, and I’m almost positive it doesn’t happen often. I assume they do it because they feel threatened by me for some reason, and because they want attention.

The following video is an accurate representation of almost every encounter I’ve had with a girl on Call of Duty:

3) Stress Relief
Relieving stress using video games.

Relieving stress using video games.

Everyone has had bad days, and we all have our own ways of dealing with stress. Some are better than others, and some are horrible. I had a bad habit of taking my stress out on my friends, because they were always the ones closest to me. It was a bad thing to do, so I needed a new stress reliever. So I went on Xbox.

I used online gaming to get rid of my frustration. I would yell at people I didn’t know, and it made me feel better. Doing that was still bad, but it was better than taking it out on my friends. I didn’t care about those strangers, and they didn’t care about me. We would never meet again. There was no consequences to doing it, so I did it. I would never yell at a stranger in real life, but in an online setting, it is more acceptable. There is no one telling you you can’t do it, and if someone judges you, you can easily leave and pretend it never happened. You can turn invisible, and everyone will forget you.

4) Friends?
Having multiple personalities.

Having multiple personalities.

My friends and I have known each other for a very long time. I’ve known the ones who have Xbox since the early years of elementary school. For the most part, I know how they act, what they say, and most of their personality traits. When I’m on Xbox with them, they become completely different people.

My best friend is the nicest, most polite person I have ever met. On Xbox, he starts fights with everyone, insults everyone, and screams at the top of his lungs for no good reason. My other friends are all usually shy, just like me, but in an online setting, we say whatever we want. I don’t usually talk to anyone unless I know them well, but on Xbox I’ll talk to anyone just because I’m bored. Xbox brings out my outgoing side, and it does the same for my friends. We all become different people, and while that can sometimes be a bad thing, it can also be good.


The internet has changed me. As soon as I enter the online world, I become someone else. I become a better version of myself; the me that isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind, and the me that can talk to people with no problems. I also become a worse version of myself; the me who insults and yells at people for no good reason. Even though online disinhibiton isn’t a good thing, we all need a break from society every once and a while. We all need to let loose and let our feelings and frustrations out, and the internet is the best place for that. Things will be deleted and forgotten. We act differently online because we can. We act differently because we get to have a break from what is considered “right”. It’s nice to pretend to be someone else every once and a while, but don’t forget who you are, and don’t go overboard. Other people might forget what you do, but you will always remember.

The evil (left) and good (right) sides of the internet.

The evil (left) and good (right) sides of the internet. Photo from:



1) How much time do you spend online per day? Do you interact with people?

2) Have you ever interacted with someone online who you don’t know? If so, what was it like?

3) Would you say you act differently online compared to in person? Why or why not?

4) Do you know anyone who acts differently online? How are they different?

5) Have you ever created an anonymous account online? If so, what was it used for?




“What Facebook can do.” Photo from:

“The best way to boost someone’s self-esteem online.” Photo from:

“Getting too comfortable online.” Photo from:

“You never know who you’re talking to online.” Photo from:

“What online disinhibition effect can seem like.” Photo from:

“The online and offline personalities of someone with ODE.” Photo from:

“A normal gamer.” Photo from:

“The life of a girl that plays video games.” Photo from:

“Girl Gamer vs Normal Gamer” Photo from:

“Relieving stress using video games.” Photo from:

“Having multiple personalities.” Photo from:….0…1ac.1.64.img..0.15.696.VyWvmnwpamM#hl=en&tbm=isch&q=multiple+personality


[1]”Facebook Psychology: 7 Reasons Why We Act Differently …” 2012. 28 May. 2015 <>

[2]”Why Do We Act Differently Online? – NR Media Group.” 2014. 28 May. 2015 <>

[3]”Six Causes of Online Disinhibition – PsyBlog.” 2010. 29 May. 2015 <>

  1. bgriffit5407 says:

    I noticed that you mentioned how you become less shy online. This reminds me of creating a podcast. Since you are not talking to a large group of people at once, you don’t feel scared by it. Do you think you act this way because no one can see you and no one actually knows you? How do you think you can stop people from acting differently online? What issues does it cause when people do act differently online? Why should they care enough to try and stop? Also, in your paragraph about stress relief you have a sentence “I was a bad thing to do, so I needed a new stress reliever.” I think you meant “it”

    • cdidoned3721 says:

      Thanks for pointing out my error. I tend not to catch the little ones when editing.
      I agree with what you said about the podcast. I freeze up, shake, and ramble on whenever I talk in front of people, so I think creating a podcast is a great way to avoid that.
      I act differently online because I don’t know the people I meet during online gaming. I’m never going to talk to them again, so I don’t have to worry about saying anything embarrassing. Also, I don’t like people looking at me when I speak and I don’t like looking at people when I speak, so an online setting is perfect for me, since I’m protected by a screen.
      I alone cannot stop anyone from acting differently online. To truly stop someone from doing that, one would have to take away their online privileges. However, online privileges should only be taken away if the person abuses their power, like using an anonymous account to post or say inappropriate things online. On the other hand, some people come out of their shell online, so stopping them from acting differently could be a bad thing.
      When people act differently in an online setting, the things they say can affect the people they interact with. When they become rude, racist, sexist, or anything else like that, it greatly affects the people around them. They could hurt someone badly, even to the point of depression. Additionally, when people act differently online, it could change how they act in person, which could be a big problem.
      For a person like that to stop, something would have to happen so that they realize what they’re doing wrong. Their identity could be exposed, they could make someone very hurt and feel bad, or their negativity could affect their life in the real world.

  2. sadli5478 says:

    Good post Clarissa. You explained your experiences online with vivid detail and got me thinking about my own behaviour online. A point I would like to make about my own personal experience is that I sometimes act a little different online and act more brave in a sense by insulting people because it’s fun sometimes (to be completely honest.) But, I think it’s important to allow your real world self to reflect and be the same as your online self. Now, to answer some questions:

    1) How much time do you spend online per day? Do you interact with people?
    I spend a lot of time online per day, possibly 4-6 hours. I do interact with people but only on social media networks such as Facebook. I do have some google accounts and YouTube but I’m not active on them, and when I do interact with people they’re almost 100% of the time my friends.

    2) Have you ever interacted with someone online who you don’t know? If so, what was it like?
    I have interacted with someone online that I didn’t know on multiple occasions. It’s not as bad as people may think, but it depends on what you say and how the person reacts. If you’re positive then you’re more likely to receive a positive reply, and if you post a negative comment or insult someone, prepare to face the consequences.

    3) Would you say you act differently online compared to in person? Why or why not?
    Sometimes, as I said it’s fun. If a person doesn’t play well in a certain video game you’re sure to get angry after a while. But, I’ve found solutions to this like switching out of that game and joining another lobby for example. Most of the time, I act like my real world self.

    4) Do you know anyone who acts differently online? How are they different?
    I do know some people who act different online. Most of the time, people act worse for the reasons you mentioned like they’re hiding behind a screen. It is very rare to see someone act better online even if they’re shy.

    5) Have you ever created an anonymous account online? If so, what was it used for?
    No, but I have used some game accounts for trolling(when I was young.) I can say that it was an enjoyable experience annoying others on the game I was playing (Runescape,) but I have been able to get past it and mature.

    • cdidoned3721 says:

      Acting differently in an online setting is fun sometimes, like you mentioned. I like to compare it to a child playing dress-up. They get to pretend to be a different person for a little bit, and then they go back to their normal self. If someone were to act differently online, it would be best if it was just for a little while, and they always return to normal.

  3. Jeremy W. says:

    Interesting post indeed aside from some spacing/formatting errors well done! I remember in the days I played Xbox playing online Call of Duty. I was quite a bit younger(9-12ish) when I went through that phase. I never really spoke whilst playing online because I was a so called “squeaker” or one with an excessively high-pitched voice. It’s funny to reflect now with my baritone of a voice box that I have now, or as Mr. Puley put, a “politician” voice :P. In the past I never really interacted with people online nor do I do much today as a PC gamer. It’s pretty great to see the characters you hear who voice their opinion and I find it’s easier to laugh than it is to snap back. And even with Bias/sexist/discriminatory comments there is always the fine glory of the “mute” button!

    • cdidoned3721 says:

      I get called a “squeaker” a lot on Call of Duty, since apparently I sound like a ten-year-old boy. I prefer being recognized as a young boy compared to a teenage female, since I get less harassment. As you said, the mute button is certainly an amazing gift to the online gaming community. When I get tired of hearing the same insults over and over, the mute becomes my best friend.

  4. sadli5478 says:

    Also, make sure to fix your references to MLA format using the website as a reference point/guide.

  5. Alex E. says:

    Very well-written post on a relevant topic! I’m on the internet a lot, whether I’m on Reddit, a Steam discussion thread or another online forum. It’s interesting to see the amount of people online who behave inappropriately relative to people in real life. From this I know that a lot of people act differently online, as they’re using the mask of anonymity to hide themselves.

    1) How much time do you spend online per day? Do you interact with people?
    I spend a lot of the day online. Most of the time it’s research, but there is also time I spent on watching videos, gaming and participating in online discussions. I do in fact interact with others. Here are my answers to the questions:

    2) Have you ever interacted with someone online who you don’t know? If so, what was it like?
    Yes, there’s been plenty of times when I’ve posted something on Reddit or asked a question and received replies that started a discussion between myself and someone else. There is this one thread on a game on Steam that for some reason or other, me and around 5 people who I don’t know in real life use for casual discussion. That thread is over a year old now, and has more than 28,000 comments (mostly between our small group), and I have gotten to know them better. Although I don’t give away any personal information, I still talk about the country I’m from and the games I like, and it’s really cool to be able to talk to a person from Lithuania or China that thinks similarly to you.

    3) Would you say you act differently online compared to in person? Why or why not?
    I try to stay the same online. As in real life, I refrain from using vulgar language, and occasionally I speak passionately about an issue I have in mind. I’m comfortable with myself and I don’t feel that I need a “mask” to conceal who I am.

    4) Do you know anyone who acts differently online? How are they different?
    No, my friends usually do not participate in online discussions so they are not different in that respect. Sometimes we make jokes over the online environment, but we do that in real life as well so it’s not that much of a difference.

    5) Have you ever created an anonymous account online? If so, what was it used for?
    My Reddit and Steam account are more or less anonymous. Usually if I state my age I’ll be ridiculed for being too young, so not mentioning it allows me to participate in conversation more easily.

    • cdidoned3721 says:

      I find it very interesting that you participate in an online discussion with people that now has over 28,000 comments. It is incredible to think about how the internet brings together many different people. The internet allows us to interact with people we would have never even known existed, which is a wonderful thing.

  6. nhersi4167 says:

    This was a very well written post and you explain your own personal experience in great detail. Im on the internet alot myself because I use Steam, go on youtube, and go on reddit form time to time.

    1) How much time do you spend online per day? Do you interact with people?

    I spend about 4 to 5 hours on the internet per day because most of the time i’m on youtube, netflix, and on Steam.

    2) Have you ever interacted with someone online who you don’t know? If so, what was it like?

    I have interacted with someone on Youtube because we had a heated discussion on a video about someone’s opinion on a video game. I agreed with the person on the video because he had legit facts to support his opinion about a game that is generally viewed as negative. This person in the comments disagreed with what I said and it soon turned into a heated argument at the point where the other person was swearing and and saying offending things at the point where i left because I was annoyed with this person

    • cdidoned3721 says:

      I’ve noticed that many people enjoy arguing on the internet, for no reason other than to argue. It’s a good thing that you left the conversation before things got any worse. When people are upset to the point where they are swearing to try to win an argument, it’s good to leave it alone. I’m glad that it’s easy to leave a heated argument online, since people tend to be more aggressive and argumentative.

  7. erepasi9082 says:

    Good post Clarissa! I think this is a very interesting topic that I feel everyone can relate to. It reminds me of a video I watched (which I can’t find) about a young girl in university who was severely depressed. Her family and friends were unaware of this because her social media didn’t reflect that about herself. She made her social media’s a much happier representation of herself and one day, she committed suicide. This was a huge surprise to her family because they didn’t have any warning signs.
    To answer your questions…
    1) How much time do you spend online per day? Do you interact with people?
    I spend about 2-3 hours online a day. Recently, a lot of this time has been school related while being online.
    2) Have you ever interacted with someone online who you don’t know? If so, what was it like?
    I don’t believe I have, I am usually pretty safe online and only communicate with people I know.
    3) Would you say you act differently online compared to in person? Why or why not?
    I think I probably do. I am a shy person and online gives me the courage to open up but at the same time, I would never say or do anything online that I wouldn’t in real life.

    • cdidoned3721 says:

      That video sounds very insightful; I’ll try to look for it. I find it sad though, that her family and friends never saw past her fake happiness online. As for what you said about being shy, I am exactly the same way. I can barely talk to anyone in person, but online I feel like I can easily break out of my shell. It’s nice, not being completely shy all the time.

    • mkhushmo4204 says:

      That video that you are talking about is very similar to a video I saw that was made a year ago. In the video, a man is very depressed with his life so on his Facebook page, he expresses them as if they are good things. For example, his girlfriend cheats on him so he says on Facebook that he is finally happy to be single. I’ll let you watch the video yourself here:

  8. mkhushmo4204 says:

    Great post, Clarissa. It’s very relatable and very well written. You explain your personal experiences with others about how being online changes a person’s personality which really helps support your argument in the post. There were no grammar or spelling mistakes that I could find, so overall a great job on the post.
    Now to the questions:
    1) How much time do you spend online per day? Do you interact with people?
    I would most likely spend around 4-5 hours online. Most of would be on social media like Reddit and Facebook. I occasionally play an online video game like CS: GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) or TF2 (Team Fortress 2). So most of the time I am online, I do interact with other people.
    2) Have you ever interacted with someone online who you don’t know? If so, what was it like?
    In the video games I listed above, I usually interact with others through a voice chat. Most of the people I play and talk with are complete strangers to me. In CS: GO, there is an interesting game mode with 5 players vs. 5 players called “Competetive”. It is very tough to win without teamwork and communication, so it is very interesting how people, including myself, can trust and work as a team with complete strangers in a game just to win.
    3) Would you say you act differently online compared to in person? Why or why not?
    I do act differently when I am online since I get very uncomfortable when around people I don’t know as I feel that they are judging me. When I am with my friends, I am more comfortable knowing that my friends won’t judge everything I do or say.
    4) Do you know anyone who acts differently online? How are they different?
    I don’t know anybody that acts differently when they are online. When I play with my friends or talk with them online, they act the same as they would in person.
    5) Have you ever created an anonymous account online? If so, what was it used for?
    I have created many online accounts on medias such as Reddit, Facebook, and Steam. They are not anonymous at all as my friends are aware of my accounts.

    • cdidoned3721 says:

      I have always been interested in CS: GO and have wanted to play it. I want to be able to work together with people on an online game, instead of having to listen to insults and vulgar language. It’s nice to know that not all online gaming communities are rude and inappropriate.

  9. asu8252 says:

    Excellent post Clarissa! I enjoyed your post especially because its so original and because of the fact that almost everybody uses the internet. I doubt that anyone who uses the internet to socialize is the same person is in person. I see rude comments all the time on youtube that are sexist and only think that they are only saying it because they think they are funny.

    1) How much time do you spend online per day? Do you interact with people?
    I spend most of time online and I interact with people maybe 10% of the time i am online

    2) Have you ever interacted with someone online who you don’t know? If so, what was it like?
    I have, but it was not like a friendship type of interaction. More of a forum where I needed help on fixing my gamecube. It was good because the other person was nice and very helpful. It seems that depending on the website you are on, there are different types of people who use it.

    3) Would you say you act differently online compared to in person? Why or why not?
    I do act differently. Online I am more social because there are so many different ways to interact. For example, you can share a video or play games online. In person its harder because you have to solely rely on your communication skills and whats around you to interact.

    My question to you is, do you think kids should be allowed to have social networking accounts?

    • cdidoned3721 says:

      You said that depending on which website you’re on, people act differently. I completely agree with this because I’ve come in contact with people from many different websites and other online settings, and people always seem to be different depending on where they are on the Internet. On YouTube, people will be rude and most racist/sexist comments because they think it’s funny, and they want attention. Whereas on websites designed to get information, such as a question and answer website, there are very helpful people who generally want to fix your problems. The Internet is definitely a strange place.

      Your question is a difficult one because there are many things to take into account. First of all, the age of the kid. Personally, I see no reason why anyone under the age of thirteen should have a social networking account, because it can very easily change the way that child grows up. If they spend less time interacting with people in person from a very young age, they’ll be more likely to develop online disinhibition effect. I see that as a problem that can easily be avoided by preventing a young child from having a social media account.
      Next, we have to make sure the child is responsible. If the kid proves to be irresponsible in real life, there is a good possibility that they will be irresponsible online. Posting inappropriate statuses or pictures, or posting rude comments that could get them in trouble. All of this could come back to the parent, and then the parent would be seen as irresponsible for letting their child do inappropriate things on social media.
      Finally, the kid needs to be educated enough to know the dangers of using social media. If the child has never had the “don’t talk to strangers talk”, there is a greater chance of something bad happening to that child because of a predator. They might share personal information publicly (which I have seen countless times among my own friends, and I believe it is one of the dumbest things someone can do on social media), they could start conversations with people who are trying to hurt them, or befriend someone who isn’t at all who they say they are. Educating a child is important at any point, but it’s extremely important when it comes to strangers and what could potentially happen on the Internet.
      The Internet is a scary place, and personally I don’t think children should have anything to do with it. However, if a responsible, educated thirteen-year-old wants to get Facebook, then they should have every right to.

  10. Cameron H says:

    As a squeaker I can totally understand the struggle of being screamed at once I switch on my microphone. I have been yelled at so much that I have left games and I don’t even talk at all using the microphone anymore because of it. I also noticed that you left out a couple of different types of guys from your girl gamer section. There is of course those ones that make a wall in front of the girl so they can be come ye’old knights of the realm and win her favor. The other is of course the one who doesn’t believe you are a girl and continuously tries to make you prove it.

    • cdidoned3721 says:

      I had considered adding those types in, but that wouldn’t help my argument about how people act differently online. I come in contact with a lot who think I’m a boy, and I usually just go along with it. Unlike most girls on Call of Duty, I don’t care about being noticed as a girl. In fact, I prefer being seen as a boy (even a squeaker) because I get less harassment. Sometimes I’ll even try to make people believe I’m a boy. Another type of guy in online gaming (and my personal favourite) are the ones who couldn’t care less that I’m a girl. They treat me like a normal person. I don’t get special treatment, and I don’t get treated worse because of what gender I am. It makes my online gaming experience more enjoyable.