20 March 2012

Trolling and cyber bullying

Hey guys,

Today I won't talk about beauty and the like but about something that most of you will already have come across: cyber bullying and trolling. I am sure you are familiar with these terms. The internet is full of it and every day there are new victims. Maybe you have been a victim already (I hope not) or maybe you have even trolled or bullied someone online (I really hope my readers don't do that).

But what exactly ARE cyper bullying and trolling ? You can find everything in the internet and therefore there will for sure be a definition. Now what does Wikipedia, most likely the main source of knowledge for a lot of people, say about this?

Cyberbullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner

A troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: "That was an excellent troll you posted".

Long story short and in my own words: both stands for people hiding behind their screen and keyboard, provoking, hurting and scaring people in the internet.

Just that it does not really stay there. Victims often don't know how to handle these situations. They get depressive, sick, scared, they might hurt or even kill themselves.

Now I am no therapist, I am only a girl who wants to put a stop to this but doesn't know where to start. It happens everywhere, after all...all the time. It is not a new phenomenon either. Both exists since the internet (how we know it) exists. And unless politicians, authorities, social network sites and IT specialists grow some balls and work together it will keep existing.  

But there are ways to protect yourself, for example
  •  never give out personal details in the internet
  •  keep your social network sites as locked as possible. Facebook for example has multiple ways to do so. You can hide your profile, only give certain people access to your wall and change your user name to something that is not connected to you
  • if you happen to become a victim of trolling, make screenshots before you delete the posts and keep them, keep them, KEEP THEM. Make sure to have as many details as possible on these screenshots, like the post itself, username of the person posting, time, date and platform.
  • do NOT stay quiet. Means: talk to someone you can trust. That can be your parents, partner, siblings, teacher, trainers, you name it. 
  • don't hesitate to go to the police. Don't worry about people thinking you are overreacting. If you feel seriously hurt or scared it is your right to seek help
  • don't react to offensive posts. It will only motivate them to keep going. (don't feed the troll)

What you can do for others:

  • be careful what you write in the internet, don't be offensive, word feedback carefully
  • report offensive posts to the moderators
  • if you know someone who is a victim to cyber bullying or trolling, be supportive. That person might need a good friend
  • don't put yourself in danger but be aware of what is going on around you (especially outside the internet)

I know these are only a few things and there is probably much more you can do to protect yourself I can simply not think of at the moment. But never forget: you are not alone !

Before I finish this post and click on "send" I would like to share a documentary I came across and think it is a really good one. You will need about an hour to watch it but trust me, it's worth it.

If you have any comments or ideas you would like to share, please do so. And all those trolls out there: don't even bother trolling here, it's not worth it.

The anti-social network, a documentary on bbc.co.uk

Stay strong and keep smiling,


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