What is Internet Trolling?
You may have seen or heard of the word “troll” or “being trolled” in online or social media communities but perhaps you are not quite sure what it really means?
Cambridge Dictionary defines the word “troll” as follow:
- someone who leaves an intentionally annoying message on the internet, in order to get attention or cause trouble.
- A message that someone leaves on the internet that is intended to annoy people
An example of an internet troller is a person who sows discord on the internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll's amusement.
Many times what we see as a troll can look pretty innocent or maybe even funny. However, the truth of the matter is that it is not always funny and it can cause real hurt or negatively impact people in many ways.
To deal with the issue of internet trolling, being able to identify them is the first step to knowing or finding ways to help us manage when the situation arises or when someone we know is being affected by it.
Here are some places on the internet where trolling often occurs:
- Social Media Communities (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest etc)
- Gaming Websites
Why do people troll on the internet?
People troll on the internet for many reasons. As the internet offers anonymity and no face-to-face interactions are needed. It is easy for trollers to hide behind the safety of their computer or smart devices while carrying out the act without having to face any real consequences. Similar to cyberbullying, trollers feel stronger by making the victims feel inferior.
What to do if I am being trolled?
The key to handling trollers online is to ignore them. Trollers feed on the response they receive from their victims in order to continue with their act. By ignoring them, you do not acknowledge them or their need to be validated. Some other ways to deal them may include reporting them to the site moderator, blocking them, or unmasking them to remove their power of anonymity.
Trolling can affect anyone and it is important for victims to know that it is never their fault that it has happened to them. They should not allow the comments or negative remarks that has been made of them define who they are.
If you have been a victim of online trolling and have been negatively affected, know that help is available and you do not have to suffer alone. Our counsellors at Help123 are available to speak with you to address any concerns you may have, in a safe and confidential space. Have a chat with us today.