Internet trolling is becoming a prevalent, genuine and growing problem in the online world. An Internet troll is someone who intentionally posts inflammatory, extraneous, off-topic, and sometimes even harmful, outright disrespectful messages in an online community, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a particular emotional response. Whilst trolling has been around since the Internet became popular, the increasing ease of staying connected through social media platforms, as well as the anonymity the Internet enables, has led to a rise in trolls.
And they’re out for blood.
Cyber bullying is at its highest, with most experts saying that, because trolls can’t directly or physically see what their messages does to a person, they believe they absolved of responsibility for their actions. The cloak of invisibility, enabled through anonymous accounts, is what drives this. It is easy to create a new and fake account even if you have been previously banned from the online community. It doesn’t stop – and many governments have their hands tied on the issue.
If you have been trolled, the best action to take is to ignore, block and report the person’s ID to site administrators. If they continue to bother you, contact the police for further advice. Trolls thrive on the reaction and emotional response their behaviour produces. It may be difficult and hurtful to receive such messages, but know that the troll’s intent is to be harmful and you should not take it to heart – their behaviour is abhorrent, as most would agree. If you are upset, make sure to consult a friend, family member or counsellor and seek support.
For more information on how to keep yourself safe online, visit: www.cybersmart.gov.au
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