The Dangers of Online Trolling and Bullying


The internet is a space of unhampered free expression, yet the greater part of that expression is in the form of impolite talks and rowdy conversations. Some people use the accessibility and secrecy of the online world to retch disdainful messages. Among them would be the trolls and the cyberbullies. While the difference between the two might appear to be superfluous to their victims, there is a distinction between what they do. Trolls aggravate online groups and draw attention; they are attention seekers, while cyberbullies utilize the online world to inflict pain on the online community. Understanding the dangers and how to protect against them should be essential to protect the mental health of our kids.


What Is an Online Troll?


Online Trolling and Bullying

Trolls are online community members who leave provocative remarks and messages in the comment section. Either they will leave comments on the blog entries or online news locales to grab the attention of the other members of the communities. Trolls tried to disrupt the discussion on the web by posting derisive, supremacist, sexist, blasphemous remarks or comments with words of profanity. Trolls can target the article, other commenters, or the blog owner.


Web trolls are attention seekers. They need to convert the attention from the article, discussion, or the author to themselves. They are hoping to get reactions to their incendiary remarks from the blog owner and other commenters of the site. They do not care whether they receive a disdainful or positive message; their main aim is to get more attention by posting comments. As long as they are receiving a lot of attention on a certain website, there is a huge possibility that they will continue doing it.


What is a Cyberbully?

 Online Trolling and Bullying

There is a huge difference between trolls and cyberbullies. Trolls concentrate on gaining attention by being a nuisance, while cyberbullies target individuals. Instead of posting an incendiary comment, they post horrible things that aim to intimidate or disgrace only one user. This could be dastardly messages, private photos, and videos related to the targeted victim. They may choose to post it on their public feed or send the message to the targeted person privately to provoke that person.


Cyberbullies have the urgency to disparage and hurt a targeted user. Trolls are unconcerned with the damage their remarks might bring about. They couldn't care less if the comments they left would cause pain. The only thing that they are hoping to receive is attention. Cyberbullies are not expecting to divert attention to them, but they want to create negative reactions to the victim. Cyberbullies exist to cause harm and emotional distress to their targeted user.


Where Does it Happen?

 Online Trolling and Bullying

Cyberbullying and trolling happen all over the internet. Contrary to what most of you might think, the problem is not constricted to social media alone; it also occurs on gaming sites, instant messaging, blog sites, forum sites, and even search engines. The majority of trolling and cyberbullying happens on Facebook, followed by Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat, and Instant Messages. According to the statistics, almost 95% of social media accounts have experienced dealing with cyberbullies and trolls. 55% of them are frequently experiencing this. The latest research concerning cyber bullies states that around 16% of online trolling and cyberbullying happens in online games. The male community poses a high risk of harassment through online gaming. Cyberbullies will use Google Bomb to increase the visibility of a particular post that targets an individual on search engine sites. People will then pass the article thinking that the article's content is factual.


Impact on Girls


Study shows that the female community is vulnerable to trolls and cyberbullies on social media sites. The situation is getting more serious as more than half of those who participated in the study attest that they experience cyber bullying to someone they know, which makes the attack more personal. Some of the hurtful messages that the girls received are being retained, causing them to lose confidence, leading to low self-esteem. The female online community is more exposed to these kinds of harassment than the male community. Last 2013, more than 20% of the Grade 9 girls were affected by it, whereas only 9.4% of the males were involved on the same level.


Steps Parents Can Take

 Online Trolling and Bullying

Cyberbullying and trolling are unfortunate events but a realistic part of adolescence. It can affect the physical, social and emotional health of the affected individuals. Due to that matter, the guardians and the parents need to take considerable action against it. One tip to give your children would be advising them to ignore the hateful messages. They can also take a screenshot of the hateful messages as evidence of that event. If you find out that there are malicious web content on a webpage, you can call the Internet Service Provider to ask them to remove the webpage. Simple blocking can do the trick if online harassment happens on emails and social media sites. It will also not hurt to ask their school to be proactively involved against cyberbullying and trolls.


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