Find out what trolling is, how to deal with a troll, and how not to be a troll online…
What Is Trolling?
Trolling is when someone deliberately makes a comment or shares a picture or post online with the sole purpose of upsetting, angering or teasing another person. Trolling is a form of cyber-bullying.
Trolls enjoy starting arguments then sitting back to watch the following eruptions. They thrive on igniting fights and quarrels online, often feeding into the quarrels in order to stoke the flames. Trolls can be incredibly manipulative and enjoy causing disruption for their own entertainment.
Trolls like to keep their identity a secret. They will often hide behind a fake profile pic which makes them think that they can do or say anything they like. Hiding behind a keyboard makes them feel invincible. It can make it difficult to identify them and hold them responsible for their actions.
Why Do People Troll?
Every troll is different and there could be many different reasons why they troll. These include:
Boredom – they simply have nothing better to do.
Amusement – they find it entertaining to provoke arguments and upset.
Insecurity/Jealousy – the troll is insecure about their own life or appearance and will do everything they can to belittle or criticise someone else in order to make themselves feel better.
Revenge – trolls could be seeking revenge for some pain or experience they’ve had in their own lives.
Mainly, trolls choose to lash out to make themselves feel better. They seldom stop to think about how their actions and words could be affecting their target. Trolls can be incredibly hurtful and damaging, causing anxiety, low-self-esteem and stress for others.
How To Deal With Trolls
Follow these five steps to stop trolls in their tracks!
- Never feed a troll. Try to resist the temptation to respond to their comments or to engage with them at all. Trolls thrive on attention so by withholding any kind of response, they are likely to get bored and move on.
- Educate. If the troll is sharing fake news or potentially dangerous conspiracy theories, you could share a post or link with actual facts to highlight how misleading or incorrect their original post is.
- You can always take a screenshot, just in case you do need to take the issue further. You might need to report the troll at some point so it’s always handy to have evidence of their original post.
- Many celebrities and influences experience trolls every single day. Their social media feeds are full of hurtful, negative comments about their appearance and personal lives. If you see a trolling comment, don’t engage. Simply ignore, report and block.
- If you receive a particularly nasty comment from a troll which makes you feel threatened or frightened for your own safety, you should tell an adult immediately. You can then report it to the social media platform and the police, if necessary.
Don’t Be A Troll
Do your best to be a kind, good person online. If you see something you don’t particularly like or a celebrity you don’t really rate, simply scroll on by, rather than leave a nasty remark. Always think twice before you post anything. Ask yourself, ‘Will this comment harm anyone in any way?’. If the answer is ‘yes’, then hit delete and move on. For more help and advice on staying safe online, read How Do I Stay Safe Online?