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An internet troll is someone who intentionally comments rude or upsetting statements online in an attempt to get an emotional reaction out of others. Trolls tend to do this for their own amusement and unfortunately it has become a very common a form of online cyberbullying. Most trolls attempt to aggravate and spark conversation online while posting anonymously hiding behind their computer screen. Some platforms such as Twitter, Reddit and the YouTube comments sections tend to have more trolls than Facebook and Instagram as most people have the option post anonymously, meaning no one knows who they really are, so no one can stop them.

Signs Someone is Trolling Online 

Here are 5 of the most common ways that trolls can be spotted online

  1. Off topic Comments – these are purposely done to annoy other users and distract them from the meaning of the actual post
  2. Refusal to acknowledge evidence – Even when presented with hard, cold facts, they ignore this and pretend like they never saw it and continue on believing in what they think is correct despite being wrong.
  3. Negative, condescending tone: An early indicator of a troll is that they would ask an angry responder, “Why you mad, bro?” This is done in an attempt provoke someone even more, as a way of dismissing their argument altogether and gaining the upper hand in the conversation.
  4. Use of unrelated images or memes: They reply to others with memes, images and gifs. This is especially true if done in response to a very long text post.
  5. Seeming obliviousness: They seem oblivious that most people are in disagreement with them. Also, trolls rarely get mad or provoked as they are the ones trying to do this to others. 

Why people Troll 

There are many reasons people troll online however here are some of the most common reasons;

  1. Insecure within themselves so they find flaws in other people’s lives. This is a big part of cyberbullying as it has a large effect on people they are targeting
  2. For attention or validation as a form of personal amusement or because they are bored and are looking for a way to pass time
  3. They tend to feel better about themselves by constantly putting other people down 
  4. Trolls tend to feel a sense of community with other trolls when they join forces when targeting someone or something together. 

How to Handle a Troll

The best way to handle an internet troll is to completely ignore them. Trolls tend to move on very quickly if they don’t get a reaction and will just go elsewhere on the internet. Another way is to join the #STOPCampaign in Western Australia by commenting the stop emoji when you see someone being bullied online to raise awareness about cyberbullying online.

– Written by Kristen Sly