Why Are Trolls More Active Than Ever?
Though it seems like trolling on the internet is a new craze, trolling has actually been around for quite some time. We’re not talking about that weird dude that lives underneath a bridge and demands that you answer questions to cross it. We’re talking about how people can lose their sense of individuality when they are with a group. If someone threatened to jump from a building, for example, many of the bystanders who would hear this threat would actually encourage that person to jump. Internet trolling works the same way from a psychological point of view.
It’s All About Anonymity
The reason why trolling seems excessive these days is because there are many opportunities to make it happen successfully. With a basic e-mail address, anyone can sign up to comment on many blogs, social media sites, and new websites to say mean things to people without anyone ever really knowing who they are. It takes great efforts to track someone down through an IP address, but even then a savvy troll will know how to mask this. Because there is no actual person in front of an internet troll, it is easy to make hurtful comments because the troll’s natural inhibitions are lowered. There are seemingly no consequences!
It Works Because It Doesn’t Happen In Real Time
Unlike a real conversation that has a back and forth component to it, trolling can take place over a long period of time because a comment can be made at virtually any time, especially on a social media website. This allows the troll the time they need to be able to come up with the most devastating comment possible. In the same thought, a troll can offer an inflammatory opinion and then walk away from the discussion without much in the way of consequences.
People Are More Willing to Hurt Others When They Can’t See Them
In a study done during the 1960’s, people were much more willing to administer an electric shock to someone else as long as they couldn’t see the results of their actions. This is very much what happens with the internet troll. The troll knows that an inflammatory or insensitive comment will create a negative reaction in people when they read it. Combine not seeing these people suffer with not having any personal association with these people and in many instances, hurt can be caused in a guilt-free way. That’s what makes trolling so devastating to the average person on the internet today.
What Can Be Done About Trolling?
The only reason why trolls have any success is because we allow them to have that success. Just like your average bully, the more you ignore them, the less power they have over you. On the other hand, the more attention that you give a troll, the more active that troll will become. Remember that you have the power of your own life: nothing a troll can say or do can ever change that!