Flame First, Think Later: New Clues to E-Mail Misbehavior

From the New York Times:

Jett Lucas, a 14-year-old friend, tells me the kids in his middle school send one other a steady stream of instant messages through the day. But there’s a problem.

“Kids will say things to each other in their messages that are too embarrassing to say in person,” Jett tells me. “Then when they actually meet up, they are too shy to bring up what they said in the message. It makes things tense.”

Jett’s complaint seems to be part of a larger pattern plaguing the world of virtual communications, a problem recognized since the earliest days of the Internet: flaming, or sending a message that is taken as offensive, embarrassing or downright rude.

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