9 Things In Your Online Life That You Need To Stop Doing

You. Stop that. Right this instant!

The Internet is full of pitfalls.

It's brimming with things that can not only be damaging to one's professional and personal life, but also things that are really just harmful to your emotional and psychological health, as well as that of others.

With that in mind, take a deep breath. Here are a few things that we all need to stop doing online right now.

1. Don't presume that what you read should never offend you.

People are going to say and write things that offend you. The world is full of people who, like it or not, not only don't believe that same things that you do, but actually disagree with you entirely. 

You're offended? Don't go looking for offense. Don't seek out people to argue your opinion with. Don't get into name-calling wars over politics. Treat the internet like a cocktail party, not a soapbox. 

Still offended? 

You'll probably live.

2. Stop reading the comments.

The comments left by grammatically and ethically challenged people spouting conspiracy theories, moral proclamations, and clueless opinions on matters they know nothing about can you leave you feeling like there is no hope for humanity.

Save yourself the demoralization and, whatever you do...

3. Don't feed the trolls.

They're baiting you. Probably from a dank basement or a miserable office that stinks of rotting Chinese takeout and months of unwashed laundry. Don't try to figure them out. They do it for the lulz. That's all there is to know.

Attempting to plumb the depths of troll psychology can only lead to places of dark hopelessness and hashtags.

You have NOTHING to gain by this.

There's no award for Internet debates (thank God), so don't think you're "winning" anything.

Engaging trolls or commenters only validates them and creates needless textblocks on otherwise pristine Facebook walls. 

Don't dignify them by attempting to reason with them or understand them. At best you might be able to counter-troll them into ragequitting, but we hope you have better ways to spend your time.

If you must win the Internet, please click here. Don't worry, we'll wait.

4. Don't repost that.

Don't repost any "shocking secrets" that "they don't want you to know about."

Don't repost any "scientific" articles that claim miracle cures for anything.

Don't repost anything discussing the amazing "new" health benefits or the super-lethality of any common foods.

Don't repost anything that claims to offer copyright protection.

Don't report anything about vaccines causing this or that.

Don't repost chain letters: If the ghost of a murderous child were actually going to kill you in your sleep for not reposting something, we would all be dead. 

In short: Don't repost that.

5. Stop clicking these.

Please. Just. Stop. Eventually, centuries from now, these companies will wither away and die.

6. Stop believing online "experts."

This includes, but is not limited to:

1. People who swear that lemon juice/vinegar/collodial silver/whatever cured their shingles/depression/cancer/sense of self-importance

2. People on YouTube who do things with screwdrivers and firearms

3. Your friend who offers you legal advice, but prefaces it by plainly stating that he or she is NOT A LAWYER

4. Pretty much everyone, actually. Hmm.

Main thing: Know who to trust. And if you slip up, it's okay. We've all reposted stuff we shouldn't have.

7. Don't self-diagnose.

Yes, shortness of breath could be a sign of a heart attack.

It could also be lung cancer. Or tuberculosis. Or asthma. Or anxiety. Or having just run three miles.

If you think you're in immediate danger, get offline and call 911. If you're just worried, make an appointment with a healthcare professional. There's no reason to worry yourself to death before you can find out that all you really need is some soup and sleep.

Don't self-diagnose: There are people for that. They're called doctors.

8. Quit stalking your ex.

Here's a three step process for not obsessing over someone you're not with anymore:

1) Unfollow him or her on Facebook. Don't unfriend them unless they've done something hideous and you want to cut them out of your life completely. 

2) Go out and live your own life. Meet new people. That's what they're doing.

3) Repeat #2.

No, that's it.

9. Stop telling people to Google you.

Sigh. I hear this all the time. Granted, I travel between Hollywood and New York – not exactly the capitals of humility – but even so, hearing it once is more than anyone should have to bear.

Here's the reality of life in the 21st century:

1) If someone's interested in you, they're going to Google you. That includes headhunters, prospective employers, journalists, stalkers, creeps, exes, potential lovers, classmates, landlords... you get the picture.

2) If your primary goal in life is to be more "Googleable," then DO something so cool or noteworthy or awesome that people won't even have to Google you.

But please. Please. PLEASE... Don't tell someone to Google you.

This is stuff we've all done (except #9), so don't be TOO embarrassed.

Just try not to take any of the stuff you see online – including, ahem, advice – too seriously. 

If you enjoyed this, you'll want to check out "8 Signs You're Dealing With A Sociopath" and "5 Things To Never, EVER Ask Your Significant Other."

Cover photo via Giphy .

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