Online trolling has been around ever since the Internet started. In children’s fairytales, trolls are known for bringing trouble and misery to the main characters. In the real world, internet trolls are popular for spreading hate culture on social networks for the sake of amusement and entertainment. Although we use social media in private, everything we share is open for the public to see. If we’re not careful enough with our privacy, we can easily fall into the traps set by internet trolls.
Trolling and cyberbullying that often target children and young adults are prevalent on the Internet. This is why online communities are encouraged to use an all-in-one community platform to ensure a safe and secure space for members and group moderators. This tool allows owners of community platforms to reclaim control while giving users better peace of mind.
Online harassment can take a toll on one’s mental health. Victims can succumb to stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, violent behaviors, and other mental health issues. Many people think that internet abuse only comes in the form of cyberbullying. The truth is, different types of internet abuse seek to harass, exploit, and embarrass others. To avoid falling victim to these behaviors, we’ll talk about the various forms of internet abuse used for cyberbullying and how to address them.
Exclusion is a mild form of cyberbullying, but it can cause serious distress to the victim. It’s the act of leaving a person out of the group intentionally, where they expect to be a part of it. For example, a person can be excluded from a group if their friends create a social group or group chat without them. Another way is when a group posts something while tagging everyone in your social circle except you.
Cyberbullying starts when the group leaves hateful comments or insults directed to the person they excluded out. Since the behaviors are public-facing and none of the involved people want to communicate with the excluded victim, the loneliness and embarrassment can take a toll on the person.
The best way to deal with exclusion on social media is to focus on fostering real-life relationships instead of relying on online relationships for the sake of exclusivity and belongingness. Don’t just focus on your existing relationships. You can find a lot of real-life and online groups that gather people based on personal interests, activities, and hobbies.
Flaming is the act of posting or sending insults, profanities, or derogatory statements against another person. It has almost the same similarities as trolling but focuses on directly attacking the victim to provoke them. It’s also a form of public bullying that turns into an online fight within chat rooms and instant messaging platforms.
Flaming also involves outing, another form of online harassment, by purposely revealing sensitive information about a person’s actual gender when the victim hasn’t come out yet. A troll can also use it in character assassination by insulting the victim’s character through posting false information or exaggerating their perceived mistakes to cause damage to their reputation or image.
Abuse happens not because of the victim’s fault but because of the behaviors and actions of the people surrounding them. To prevent flaming, observe proper online etiquette and avoid posing comments that provoke other people. More importantly, respect yourself and other people so others will return the favor.
Cyberstalking is one of the extreme forms of cyberbullying which can lead to physical harm. It is the practice of using the Internet or other digital means to obsessively harass, contact, or stalk an individual or a group. It includes threats, false accusations, monitoring, defamation, vandalism, sexual soliciting, offline stalking, or other forms of unwanted attention.
Identity theft or impersonation also happens through cyberstalking. In this situation, the person follows the victim’s social accounts until they have acquired their information, such as name, image, and address. They can use this information as blatant mockery or borrow their identity to intimidate the victim.
To avoid cyberstalking or impersonation, be careful about the information you post on all your social media accounts. Remember, all the details and content you post can be used against you. For more serious forms of cyberstalking, report the case to the police to get the protection you need.
While the Internet can open doors for learning and entertainment, it can also pose serious risks to its users, particularly children. Learning the different types of online abuse will decrease the likelihood of falling into the traps of cyberbullying. Understanding how these negative behaviors work will also help you find ways to prevent them from happening to you and other people.