Saturday, November 5, 2016

Internet Trolls: A Repost

Today is day 5 of NaBloPoMo for November and I'm reposting because, as a former computer lab teacher, I feel the topic is so important. 

Trolling. It has a whole new meaning these days. I always thought trolling had something to do with fishing boats and trolls were those cute, yet ugly, little dolls with the hair we spent hours braiding. Not these days.

The new dictionary definition of troll is: "make a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them." (GOOGLE Search)

IN an article in Psychology Today by Jennifer Goldbeck (phd) 

"An internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. Often, in fact, it seems like there is no real purpose behind their comments except to upset everyone else involved. Trolls will lie, exaggerate, and offend to get a response." (SOURCE)

Yes, they're out there. And I've seen them. I cannot imagine having that much anger or being that desperate for money or appreciating such dark 'humor' as to purposefully try to upset or offend other people. How?
  • they twist words
  • they miss the point (or at least, they pretend to)
  • they cross the line every time and on purpose
  • they use bad language
  • they attack you
  • they play the victim 
  • they are relentless
  • they 'one-up' you no matter what you say

I do enjoy joking around and finding a humorous way to make a point. I have been known to express my opinion about situations/products/events that I find displeasing or pleasing. But to deliberately strike out in the hopes of hurting someone? Nah. That's not cool no matter what your reasoning.

The best piece of advice anyone has ever offered on how to deal with them is:
DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS. I see it all the time. A troll comments and someone responds. And there it is. Trolls feed off the stupidity of others. Yes, I said it. Because it is STUPID to respond to anyone, online or in person, who makes statements that are purposefully hateful or offensive. They have researched and they know your weakness. And they will pounce on it knowing you will not be able to stop yourself from commenting back.

I have friends- online and in the real world- with whom I disagree on religion, politics, education, race relations, etc. But I respect their opinions and they respect mine. We do not have to agree on everything under the sun to be friends. I will remain silent before causing a raucous. Trolls do not. Trolls will do everything they can to insult you personally and they are relentless about it.

Trolls will always criticize but never offer constructive criticism. They are criticizing to cause harm and stir up chaos not to offer helpful suggestions to make anything better. Their criticisms are insulting and personal. And, when you respond, you can sense the excitement in their responses to your response. And the cycle goes on and on and on.

It's sickening, really. But what's worse is when I see people falling into the trap. So, again, DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS.

It's this type of internet bullying that makes me worry about the kids I will no longer be teaching at school. When I taught technology I was able to explain all of the internet dangers to every student, 700+ of them, from the ages of 4 to 12. We covered everything from the importance of and how to set good passwords to cyberbullying. I even told them all about people who will try to scam their grandparents. 

Check out this video:

Bottom line: The internet is full of fun and interesting things to do, see, read, and use. But it is also full of hackers, identity thieves, cyberbullies, trolls... You MUST keep up with the bad side so that you can protect yourself and not fall into the traps that are set for you.


Have you had an experience with an internet troll?


  1. Yeah when one has a problem with trolls one should ignore them paying them any attention is like feeding the bear, it isn't necessary easy to do but it is the best thing to do


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