“Keyboard warriors” is a term I find highly entertaining. These are the types of netizens who hide behind their computer screen and deliver such inappropriate, rude comments to people who they barely even know. It’s unfortunate for me that I have seen many of these comments everywhere to the point where it’s so easy to scroll past them without a second thought.

The history of the term

The term was popularized somewhere in 2014, when cult members in China publicly murdered a woman in a McDonald’s restaurant in the Shandong Province. The term keyboard man or keyboard warrior was stemmed from the online commenters who criticized bystanders for not helping the woman.

Take a celebrity’s Instagram account, for instance. Click any of their pictures and casually scroll through their 300 plus comments. Barely in the first quarter of the chunk of comments, you’ll probably come across with remarks filled with such negativity.

“Omg! Your new haircut is ugly!!! Why did you cut it? Want the old hairstyle back pls :-(“

The quote above is a verbatim comment I had randomly found on a recent picture of a famous actor’s Instagram.

You will find keyboard warriors lurking at every corner, in every hidey-hole of the Internet. Then, they’ll abruptly pop out and ruin your day – or anybody else’s day, for that matter.

It’s sad that social media has become more of a curse than a blessing. It’s a place where you can watch one of the ugliest sides of what humanity has to offer; belittling, disrespecting and trampling on others.

A keyboard warrior’s purpose

Having said that, it makes one wonder what drives them to spread such negativity. What is the reason behind all those poisonous, insensitive remarks?

Is it possibly the rush of power that the keyboard warrior feels that they are able to catch a celebrity’s attention just by being the odd one out? By being the black sheep out of all the hundreds of supporting and praising comments? Does it give them a feeling of self-importance and validation?

Or is it possibly because everyone is entitled to say what they want when they’re online because they can’t get caught? The Internet is such a vast place and there really isn’t an Internet police telling them what they can or cannot do. The online world is a platform for freedom of speech.

It also makes me wonder if these keyboard warriors are aware that celebrities are still human after all. If not celebrities, other people behind the digital screen. Do they know that they’re probably picking fights against an innocent 11-year-old who genuinely wants help in an MMORPG world? Or possibly even criticizing a YouTube content creator, who in reality has a serious issue of low self-esteem? Just imagine the sheer amount of impact one negative comment can do to the YouTube personality or the innocence of a young boy.

It’s absolutely volatile. What’s even more sad is that these keyboard warriors would never actually be this way in real life. They would never be able to stand up in the middle of the crowd and express their own opinion to a public speaker: “Your presentation was as boring as my aunt’s stale bread. What a joke. Go kill yourself.”

It’s frightening and truly heartbreaking.

Spread the positivity

I can only hope that the people being on the receiving end of these toxic comments can keep a cool head and an even stronger willpower to shake off such negativity and hate.

The only wish I have as of now is that we, as netizens of the World Wide Web, should be able to treat each other with the kind of respect and self-preservation, just as how it’s like in the real world.