The Internet is a thriving virtual world, but it has its dangers. We’ve heard about scammers, frauds, and even kidnappers using the cyber world for their nefarious schemes. However, these are the people who actually get some solid benefit out of their wrongdoing. A much tougher concept to understand and avoid is the Internet troll.
Internet trolls are hard to deal with, as they take some time to identify. Sometimes, they’re just people out looking for a laugh. More seriously, they could threaten one’s sense of security and their self-esteem. What they mainly want is attention, so one doesn’t really know the correct way to respond. Never fear, though. We’ve compiled a list of points on how to identify trolls, deal with them, and eventually come out on top:
1. The Term Itself
Trolls are what we call people who seem to have a lot of time on their hands. Basically, they are those who would strive to ignite an unproductive, meaningless, or irrelevant debate with others. For instance, they could come spewing hatred against Muslims on a YouTube channel which features prolific Muslim speakers. The speakers may not even be talking about their faith, but they would get attacked by trolls in the comments.
Most likely, these comments are meant not just to hurt others but pull them into debates that have no end. They would further try to negate the experiences and opinions of others. Proving their point is not their goal, but disturbing everyone else is. At the end of the day, they simply want the discussion to revolve around them instead of what is truly important.
2. The Key To Their Power
Many trolls have ended up ruining decent discussion forums and the overall Internet experience for other people. There is little record of trolls ever getting caught, in spite of the huge damage they could inflict. This is because the Internet has so many options for one who wishes to remain anonymous. However, there have been where Internet trolls got their just desserts.
There’s no limit to how many email and social media accounts one could make, for example. Snapchat and Instagram may make more than one account a crime, but the same is not the case with Facebook, Gmail, or YouTube. Even Twitter users can have multiple accounts which they can use for separating their personal and professional life. In some cases, one account may be set aside solely for trolling purposes.
3. Their Intent
The main intent for Internet trolls is simply being malicious. They don’t want to derive attention in a positive manner since negativity is more effective at this. They don’t even care who they are arguing with, as long as they’re getting a response.
In fact, many self-proclaimed trolls have admitted that they have engaged in malicious debates with strangers online. The group most likely to indulge in such activities is that of millennial males. They are the ones who are tech savvy and confident enough to verbally beat other people’s brains out.
However, the trolling person’s intent is usually not physically or even financially to their victim. Their power and interest mainly lie in emotional, verbal, and mental bullying. They could probably disturb one’s peace of mind easily enough but are usually not interested in extracting money.
However, some trolls work in their scams in their quest to harass strangers no matter what. They do so by posting links, sometimes even spamming comments and posts with them. When you click those links, your personal information and security details are put at risk. Then again, they may also introduce a virus into your computer and phone. This is another step that many trolls take just to gloat over another person’s frustration.
4. How To Respond
When you’re faced with a troll, their comments are usually so sweeping and provocative that you want to reply immediately. This would be especially true if you feel personally attacked by their comment. However, it is important to remember that attention and responses are exactly what trolls want.
In a nutshell, trolls don’t care about anything but affirming themselves through their words. They don’t want to open their minds or read any facts. Plus, they certainly don’t care about hurting other people. If you do respond, you would likely remain polite and open to discussion. Trolls, however, would not hesitate to delve into name-calling, insults, and outright threats. While many of their threats and hollow and meaningless, they could end up seriously scarring the reader. This is obviously a much more dangerous experience for young people or those with anxiety disorders.
Hence, the best response to trolls is simply to remain quiet. An Internet motto is “don’t feed the troll” and there’s a lot of sense in it. A troll wouldn’t waste their time where they’re not getting attention. They would take themselves and their malicious intents elsewhere soon enough.
Another way to respond to trolls is with the proper humor. For instance, if a troll may criticize your video by saying that you look ugly. One response may be ‘Thanks, that’s just what I was going for!’ You could also remain steadily happy and optimistic, taking their insults for compliments.
If the trolling is on a more serious level, you could simply respond with a fact. If you provide a source for your information, that’s even better. This would prevent anyone from getting fooled by the troll. In fact, the troll would have facilitated your position by providing a platform for the proper information to go through. However, the non-silence options are usually for extreme cases. Try to not give them any kind of attention if you can help it at all.
Trolling may incite anger, hatred, frustration, and general unhappiness on the Internet. Then again, there are some positive uses of trolling, as in advertising. When the lights went out during a ball game, Oreo immediately tweeted ‘you can still dunk in the dark’. This put a funny spin on an otherwise disturbing situation and made the company look well-updated on current events.
We all look forward to a time when the Internet would become a much safer place for our mental health. However, there are strange people everywhere, and they are in their element when hidden behind a screen. It is thus better to steel ourselves when online, as trolls are inevitable and plentiful.
Jessica Barden is a Blogging Expert, and an Academic Counselor at an . She is inquisitive about the latest happenings and uses internet to learn about the current topics in her areas of interest.