The Internet has given us numerous advantages, and various social media platforms have been a place of social interaction across the globe. But with freedom of expression and a chance to interact with the whole world at a time, social laws and ethics are often missed. Social ethics are the broad values every human has to follow, whether online or offline. Or we can say that the rules one must abide by while using any social media platform are social ethics and laws.
The comments or posts demean other users or people, or their content is called Trolls. An Internet troll is an excellent example of social laws and ethics missing out. These are generally done to respond to any person or their posts negatively. However, sometimes, people forget the general ethics while using the internet and use non-humble words and unexpectable vocabulary or media.
Trolling can be done by sending hate direct through messages, posts, or comments. Their way of stating things is suppressive and oppressing, and trolls are visible on all social platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. The main target of the people who create trolls is people with good fan-following, whether influencers or celebrities. Cyber trolls not only diminish their persona but also impact their social image. Sometimes people imagine an image of a person based on his trolls. Numerous shows on Indian television and news channels have also been broadcasted to spread awareness about trolling because it sometimes harms people using social media.
Now the following question can come into your mind: who trolls and Why? How to deal with these trolls? You will get these answers by the end of this article.
Sign that someone is trolling
To understand that someone is trolling, first, you should understand the difference between a normal disagreement and a troll comment. When someone shows disagreement, they usually address the issue and try to have a conversation rather than using something unethical against that person. Generally, trolls use offensive linguistic behavior and try to demean the person rather than address the problem. This problem is expected in the case of celebrities, and their regular pictures are often filled with numerous hate comments and unnecessary violating stuff. One more difference between disagreement makers and trolls is that the trolls don’t want a solution or a reply.
They do it just for the sake of their ego, and subsequently, there is no point in replying, but if someone wants to disagree on a point, they will impatiently wait for a discussion and state facts. If any of the listed actions match, it is clear that the person is trying to be a troll.
The negative impact of trolling
Trolling always leaves a negative impact. It takes away the person's mental peace, people usually use social media to kill their extra time, but trolling kills puts them in a situation of self-doubt and discomfort. Most of the time, the ones who are too conscious about their social image are the ones who get trolled easily by the trollers. So many cases of depression and social anxieties have been reported, whose sole reason was trolling.
Trolling is very distinct from posting one's idea. Therefore, one must remember that one hate comment can change a happy person into a patient with depression and anxiety. Or we can state that they may harm when the trolls don't obey the general ethics and laws. Some of them are listed below:
- Wrong manipulation: Mostly, wrong ideas are served, and trolls manipulate the masses.
- Depletion of self-confidence and self-doubt: When one is constantly trolled, they lose their self-confidence and start doubting themself. The fear of getting trolled sometimes stops people from showing their talents or doing things they love.
- Negative effect on mental health: The one who gets trolled often feels left out, which affects their mental peace.
- Affect on the young Generation: The young generation is the integral users of social platforms, which can also misguide them.
Techniques to Defeat Internet Trolls
Trolls are not choosy– they can target anyone, such as individuals, businesses, celebrities, politicians, you name it. If you’re on the internet, you’re fair game for a troll.
Don’t Feed the Trolls
The classic internet saying still holds worth. Trolls flourish more on emotional responses to their encouragement. It will be tough for you to stop yourself, but don’t add fuel to the fire. Just take a good breath and let it go. If you don’t engage, the troll will hopefully move on.
Be the Boss! No Trolls Allowed
If you are using a social platform, whether it’s your social media profile, discussion forum, blog, or so on, you need clear guidelines that include a “no trolling” policy.
Implementing these rules establishes impartiality. If someone states why their comment was deleted, you can refer to your policy that their comment was removed due to violating it.
Always take a screenshot of the troll, so you have a record of the original post. It will cover you if the person tries to edit or delete their post once they realize it may get them in trouble. These records can also be helpful if things escalate and you need to take the matter further.
Stand up for yourself.
Remember, you can ignore a troll and still make a stand against it. Most social media sites have unique functions in place to keep you feeling safe online. Report harmful posts and block users so they can’t bug you anymore.
Things are still evil if you’ve exhausted the reporting and blocking options within your social media platform. In that case, you need to make a report to The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner by filling out this form.
Before you make a complaint, make sure to:
- have copies of the cyber trolling (screenshots or photos)
- try reporting the matter to the social media service at least 48 hours prior to filling out the form (if possible)
- collect as much information as possible
- allow 15–20 minutes to complete the form.
Kill Them with Kindness
Indeed, it is hard to respond to hate with kindness. But since trolls usually look for reactions, a reaction with an opposite approach often stops them in their tracks.
Instead of reciprocating the anger by becoming defensive, the user responded with kindness, even complimenting and ultimately connecting with the upset mother and answering her questions.
Don't say, "My child is sick due to you!" instead, say, "Bless you, if I have more questions, I can ask you."
By doing this, you might make a big difference. This conversation would have ended differently if anger had been met with more outrage.
Reply to them with Humor
Like with kindness, trolls aren’t usually provided to respond with humor. The goal of a person making trolls is to make people mad, not make them laugh.
Block, Ban, or Report Trolls
While this option sometimes becomes necessary if you have a troll that won’t stop. Social media pages allow you to report a post as being abusive, among other options like unfollowing the person who has posted it.
The mistake that you can make the situation worst is responding unprofessionally. Always stay calm while replying to a troll.
If someone is complaining about the issue they face in your business, apologize and redirect the conversation to a legal channel to resolve the issues outside the public’s scrutiny.
If someone is pointing out a minor mistake, thank them for pointing out the error, fix it, and then don’t engage any further.
If you’re answering a troll, remember that your comments are public, and the other people are also watching if people are less concerned with the problem and more with how you handled it.
It can be irritating when trolls are constantly annoying you. While you can’t control the behavior of trolling people, you can limit the time you spend dealing with it.
Logging off social media may sound complicated, but it’s a good idea if you’re upset. You need not go entirely off the grid; you can try turning off the notifications or logging off the accounts that are affected or deleting social media apps from your phone
Relax yourself Before Replying
Remember, the goal of the person creating troll is to make you and other people upset. Never let them achieve their goal.
Before replying to a troll, try this:
- Take a deep breath.
- Take a walk for a few minutes
- Remind yourself that these trolls are neither defining you as a person nor worth getting upset.
Once you’re composed enough to return and address the issue, keep your mind clear and open. Replying when you are calm will help you end in a peaceful resolution.
If you are a parent or guardian who is worried for their teen then we have listed something for you.
Tips for protecting your teens online
- Share information responsibly – talk with your teen and make them understand that anyone can use the information or images they post online, even people they don't interact with.
- Post carefully – sites such as Facebook and Twitter encourage quick status updates but ensure your teen is sensitive and careful, even when writing. If they're not sure about their words, then they're probably best not to post that status.
- Privacy settings – there is information about levels of privacy on the social media platform. Understand them together and agree on the settings for your teen's accounts.
- Which technologies are they using? If your teen owns a webcam, ensure they are aware of the dangers of posting images online.
- Learn the lingo – did you know LMIRL means Let's Meet In Real Life or TTYL means talk to you later? Ensure learning about the new codes and words.
- Be there to help – make your teen know you are there if problems arise.
- Keep up with technology – know how your teen's phone works and what security features it has.
- Talk to your teen – Ask them about their online activity and which sites they use regularly.
Things you can do if your child is a victim of cyber trolling
If you find out that your child is being trolled online, it will be challenging to understand what to do. We have prepared an action plan in which you can resolve the issues:
- Ask your child not to respond - Make sure you are communicating with your teen and make them understand that this situation didn't require their reply; by doing this, the issues would not extend any further.
- Save a copy - Make sure you have evidence of what has been said and when. Cyber trolling usually has hardcopy evidence. You can use the print screen option on your PC/laptop or the screengrab option on smartphones to save a copy of any messages or proof.
- Report it to your child's school - you can conduct a meeting in your teen's school where you can take your hardcopy evidence.
- Report these trolling and bullies to the administrator of the website - Social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have 'safety centers,' especially for this purpose. A website will generally investigate those posts and may be able to remove them.
Remember, when you experience cyber trolling, it is not your fault. You did not do something to deserve being trolled. Never allow what happened to you to define you as a person. Everyone deserves to be serve with respect and dignity, whether offline or online, including you. Leave the hurtful words, name-calling, and rudeness in the past. You have worth, and no troll has a right to reduce that. Make sure you are reminding yourself every day.
What are the ways of cyber trolling?
Cyber trolling is done by writing nasty things about you in a public way, such as commenting on a YouTube video, replying on Twitter/tweeting about you, writing Facebook posts about you/commenting on your posts, or publishing a fake blog, and so on.
What are the consequences of online trolling?
It's harmful, cruel, and thoughtless, leading to severe consequences such as depression, self-harm, or even forcing those who have experienced trolling to contemplate or attempt suicide, leaving families and friends to live with the aftermath.
Is trolling part of cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is any form of hateful messages, abuse, name-calling, and threats using any technology, from social media sites to mobile phones. Trolling has become a common term for purposeful online abuse on social media sites.
What is the fear of trolls called?
Is cyber trolling a crime?
Online harassment, bullying, or even severe trolling are crimes, and the person committing them should not be let free.