Remember we’ve talked about how to become a better online citizen?
Now make a U-turn and think of… TROLLS. The anti-social side of being social. A threat to good manners and Internet etiquette. Trolling is all about deliberately and cleverly annoying people online and there are plenty of examples. To spot a troll in your online conversations on forums, blogs or chat rooms simply look for offensive or off-topic messages that disrupt the thread and try to start a riot!
You can ignore them, but what happens when kids or even yourself, become victims? In 2012, according to the US Cyberbulling Research Center, 52% US students and 33% teens admitted to have been cyberbullied and threatened on the Internet. Sadly, trolling can lead to cyberbullying, the worst kind of anti-social behavior. What seems an innocent joke might develop into a form of constant harassment causing anger, depression, frustration and more.
Here’s what you can do to minimize the risks of becoming a victim:
Adopt the “stop, block and tell!” strategy. In other words:
- Take action: report the aggressor. Inform and urge the website owner to block any hateful or offensive comments coming from a certain account.
- Change your passwords regularly. If you feel like prying eyes are watching your every move, you might want to choose stronger passwords to avoid someone hacking your PC.
- Temporarily deactivate your social media accounts. Exposing your life on social media has its risks. When trolls start commenting on your profile page you can choose to shut down the channels they use to contact you.
- Ignore provocative comments. Don’t fuel the conversation the troll starts, it will make things worse. Replying will only feed the bully’s hunger for attention.
- Silence means becoming an accomplice, so contact the authorities. Whether you’re a victim or you know someone who is, don’t be afraid to tell your story to people who have the authority to ban such aggressive behavior.
There will always be trolls out there, but knowing what to do will help you stay off their radar! Also, use parental controls, like the ones included in BullGuard Internet Security 2013, to filter the content your kids have access to and keep them safe!
Do you have a better way of dealing with trolls? Share it with us!