The LOLZ Don’t Live Here Anymore

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
July 19 2010 5:49 PM

The LOLZ Don’t Live Here Anymore

/blogs/xx_factor/2010/07/19/content_moderators_are_often_scarred_by_the_images_they_sift_through/jcr:content/body/slate_image

The Internet! Let’s start with the pros: YouTube clips of warm puppies nursing sweet-faced bunnies, theOnion.com , online shopping, an array of mindless time-murdering activities . The cons: child pornography, Internet bullying , and, apparently, horrific scarring images that will most likely give you screen-spawned PTSD. Images that most of us don’t ever see because there’s a group of people who are paid barely above fast-food-worker wages to sit at a desk and sift through them .

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Today, the New York Times has an article on the moral custodians of the online world and the emotional toll the job has on them. Stacey Springer, a woman who works for a firm that sifts through about 4.5 million images a day, says it's hard to be completely desensitized to the nature of the material she looks at from her cubicle (a lot of kiddie porn), and at times, she "takes it really personally." Her office provides counseling, but it seems that no amount of therapy can overcome the fact that the trauma isn’t just a memory; it’s Springer’s job.

Psychologist Patricia Laperal studied 500 content moderators and unsurprisingly discovered that they were more likely to be depressed and angry, have trouble forming relationships, and possess a diminished sex drive. Well, yeah.

Photograph of woman at computer by Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images.

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