What is online trolling?
Trolling is when someone posts or comments on an online platform to ‘bait’ people, which means they are deliberately trying to start an argument or emotional reaction/response. In many cases there is no reason for this other than to randomly attack someone. In other cases, it may be that the troll doesn’t agree with the views or opinion of the other person online, this can include personal attacks due to their race, gender, religion and other protected characteristics. Trolls can group together, creating online mobs urging others to join them to become more powerful online.
Trolls often post under a fake name or anonymously, so they can say things without being held responsible. This can make them less cautious than they would be if they were talking to someone in person. This makes it difficult to identify who wrote the post or comment. Some cases however, have been brought to justice with trolls being sentenced to time in prison of up to 6 months.
Trolls also often try to downplay the impact of their behaviour, claiming anyone who’s upset by their posts or comments is overreacting. They may say it was just a joke, or the person who they targeted needs to toughen up. This can make the person who was trolled feel even worse.
What should YOU do if you’re trolled?
Don’t feed them..
Resist the urge to respond – it’s not possible to reason with them. As tempted as you may be, getting involved in an online argument just gives them the reaction they want, so they are likely to step up the attack that comes next.
Collect evidence, report and block
Online platforms such as Instagram and tiktok have a responsibility to ensure people can use them safely. Screen shot or record the evidence, so you have proof of what’s been happening. This then allows you to report and block the troll on whatever platform it’s happening on. If you’re not sure how to do this, every online platform will have a help service or FAQ with advice and guidance. Trolling can be prosecuted under the Malicious Communication Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003.
Get more help
Make sure to talk about it with someone you trust. You could show a close friend or family member this information and ask them to help you decide what to do if you’re being trolled.
If you believe you have been a victim of cyber/online crime, you should report it to the police by calling 101.
Find out the governments plans for online bullying HERE>
Find more advice and guidance HERE>
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