During late middle school and most of high school I spent a lot of time on 4chan. I think one of the biggest factors in shaping my views was that not all my friends were 4chan nerds, so I got exposure to “real life” a bit even when I spent the most time on 4chan. But I think the draw of the site was that I lived in a suburban area where you had to drive to see 99% of your friends, and you were lucky if someone your age you liked lived on your block/even within walking distance. Just wasn’t feasible to go outside when I got home and play games with people my age.
College really is liberalizing in a lot of ways, and I think the biggest way now is being thrown into a truly multicultural, real life experience. I was lucky enough to find a community that could kind of live in two worlds: the 4chan world of dark jokes and the real world of empathetic community. Others, entering college, weren’t so lucky, by choice or happenstance, and dig themselves deeper into their 4chan groupthink by only seeking out or taking seriously people that confirm those kinds of biases. I see this at my own University, where there are certain ideological groups that create a “conservative” safe-space of groupthink and have private message groups to ridicule the “normies”. Meanwhile they’re not really a part of the greater campus community except when they try to bring trolls like Milo in.