Being online frequently sucks. This is due in large part to the fact that most people suck and online communities are just big gatherings of people who don’t feel they need to take responsibility for how much they’re sucking right now. Unless you’re incredibly particular about which areas of the internet you visit, you’re likely to come across somebody saying something that makes the hair on the back of your neck go up, makes you grind your teeth unconsciously, or just makes your heart shrink a couple sizes smaller. If this sounds like your daily experience, you may be interested in a new Google Chrome extension called Soothe.
Depending on which settings you choose, Soothe has the ability to blur out content it deems racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic, and/or violent. The extension wasn’t initially designed to just tune out assholes, but was instead meant to help people with mental illnesses that can be triggered by online content, such as someone with PTSD who accidentally stumbles into a particularly violent thread.
While the jury is still out on whether purposefully avoiding anxiety triggers actually helps relieve anxiety in the long run, it’s pretty clear that being bombarded with offensive bullshit online isn’t fun for anybody. The internet has the potential to be a fun place too, and no one should have to run the risk of self-harm or a panic attack just because they want to see what everyone thinks about the new Wonder Woman movie. The real question is, once you blur out all the racism, homophobia, sexism, and violence, what’s left? The Garfield Facebook page?