Internet Trolls

https://unsplash.com/photos/NXirdJh0di0

The first important thing that I learned from this week was the meaning of “trolling” and how the term is being changed. In the article “Online trolling used to be funny, but now the term refers to something far more sinister”, talks about how internet trolling is destructive online behavior that harms others. Over the years, this meaning has changed, but has always been seen as a malicious online behavior. I think it is important to know that our society is trying to move away from the word ‘trolling’ , as it doesn’t address the harmful behavior being done. By changing the word into something such as cyberbullying, I feel that it make people more aware and shows that this bad behavior online should be managed and prevented. The second most important thing I learned is that online trolls know that they can effective and will not be punished for their bad behavior. Trolls feel comfortable commenting awful things online because they can be anonymous and no one can catch them. We see people post hate speech because they want to draw attention to themselves even though people may not know who they are. As technology and social media are growing, I feel that people are getting more opportunities to hurt on one another online and that bad behavior is increasing. This bad behavior may seem as if it is not a big deal to some people, but it is. Verbal abuse damages people’s self-esteem and affect’s individual’s mental health. As people are getting more access to technology and are able to go online easier, it is important that we are working together to manage this bad behavior.

Looking at my personal experience, I feel that I haven’t necessarily been affected by trolls, but have seen other people experience online harassment, specifically famous people. Demi Lovato is a person that comes to mind when someone commented and asked if they could discuss a diet plan for her. In the photo below you can see her respond.

https://www.lifeandstylemag.com/posts/demi-lovato-slams-troll-for-commenting-on-her-weight-and-diet/

As a famous artist, I think the best thing she did to address this situation is respond to the person and show courage to the people who are being bullied online the same way she is. Demi is an individual who has had eating disorders in the past, and for someone to comment and imply that she is fat, can be very traumatic. I think she showed strength by responding and helped send a message to the world that it is not okay to make comments like that. She wanted people to understand that verbal abuse is as bad as physical abuse, and there are way too many lives being taken because of another person’s words.

A social platform that I think has been trying to limit trolling, is Instagram. This past year, Instagram created a function to hide inappropriate comments. The filter was created to block certain comments from viewers. Although this was a small step, I believe Instagram is headed in the right direction trying to help those people with diverse backgrounds, genders, races, sexual orientations, and ability to feel more safe. They are doing their best to stop the attacks on Instagram.

https://thenextweb.com/apps/2016/09/12/instagram-finally-lets-hide-troll-comments/

Overall, from this week we can see that trolls are a part of human life. In the article “Dealing with Trolls in Online Support Communities”, states that when trolls are posting about you, you should, report them, block them, resist the urge to strike back, and check in with mental support. I found this site to be credible because it is a nonprofit organization providing a safe online community where people with mental health conditions can share stories and comfort one another.

Flynn, K. (2017, June 29). Instagram will Now let you Hide offensive comments automatically. Retrieved March 19, 2021, from https://mashable.com/2017/06/29/instagram-block-offensive-inappropriate-comments/

Dealing with trolls in online support communities. (2021, January 22). Retrieved March 19, 2021, from https://screening.mhanational.org/content/dealing-trolls-online-support-communities/

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Arianna Delmoral

Student-Athlete at the University of Minnesota majoring Business and Marketing Education