Trolling & Cyberbullying are terms that are appearing again and again when speaking of online communities and social sites. I wasn’t entirely au fait with either so I decided to do a little research and this is what I discovered.
Trolling “In Internet slang, 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 ofotherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.” (Wikipedia)
These are the people who lurk on message boards and Social Media sites getting their kicks by upsetting people. In real life they probably have few social skills, and/or a small penis and/or an overblown sense of self. Most of the time you can simply block / ignore or report these people, some people see it as a challenge to take them on but my advice is don’t bother because you won’t get any intelligent comment / conversation out of them.
Recent cases of trolling include Sean Duffy who was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison last September after admitting two “trolling” charges. He had visited Facebook tribute pages and posted videos on YouTube taunting the dead victims and their families.
Panorama made a programme called ‘Hunting the Internet Bullies’ that was aired on 6th February. The programme opened with Cher Lloyd (an X Factor competitor) speaking about her personal experience of trolling / cyberbullying: “I think I must get at least 10 tweets a day saying I’m a dirty pikey,” she broke down on the programme saying that she is “very scared” and some days she just wants people to leave her alone. If someone as high profile as Ms Lloyd is suffering at the hands of trolls and bullies it raises concerns for our children.
Before I started researching for this article I thought Trolling and cyber bullying was pretty much the same thing but after further investigation I discovered that they are different and the difference seems to stem from the length / duration of the abuse, it seems that trolling can turn into cyber bullying. It also seems that the cyber bullying victim – more often than not – knows the perpetrator.
“Cyberbullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. As it has become more common in society, particularly among young people, legislation and awareness campaigns have arisen to combat it “ (Wikipedia)
An example of cyberbullying that you might have stumbled across recently is the case featured on channel 4’s ‘my social network stalker’ where Ruth Jeffery was terrorised and humiliated by her boyfriend Shane Webber who posted naked pictures and videos of her all over the web and she had no idea it was him.
Panorama claim that cyberbullying is on the rise and unearthed a startling statistic from charity Beatbullying that 28% of 11-16 year olds have experienced bullying or harassment online. Before Social Networking the bullying was left at the school gates, now with smartphones and the internet being essential in everyday socialising, our children are open to abuse 24/7 and often unable to prevent it.
These stats come from www.vital.ac.ukwho commissioned an internet safety survey of teachers in January 2012 Over 1300 teachers responded, here are some of the findings:
- 3% of teachers have personal experience of cyberbullying
- 69% of teachers are aware of pupils who have been cyberbullied
- Of those pupils, 81% had been bullied via social networking sites and 67% by text/multimedia message
The statistics are pretty shocking so please make sure you look after yourself, your friends and your young people, there are a variety of charities that have been set up to help those who are suffering at the hands of cyberbullies and for parents of children being bullied, here are a couple that I found: