Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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The Dark Side; Cyberbullies and Trolls

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An avid creative whose word plays so much that words say I play too much; a Ki'shon flow. Life is a journey and we're all full of stories.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch!”

Lewis Carroll – Jabberwocky

If nothing at all in that little bit of a write up there is in no way familiar, the phrase ‘beware the Jabberwock my child is’ and in this nonsense poem penned down by Lewis Carroll, he speaks to his son about a certain creature and entreats his son to be aware of the danger it poses and also that when the opportunity comes he should kill it before it kills him.

It’s a fairly weird poem, to be honest as the Jabberwock is not a creature whose name is even known; to talk about its apparent fearsome appearance. I do think however that the metaphorical sense of it all creates the perfect picture of cyber bullies and trolls, and in this case, they are the Jabberwock.

image credit –pixabay

The internet has come to stay and won’t be going away any time soon and so the sooner you get abreast with the times and the things that you can use it to do and also be wary of the danger it poses the better for you as an individual.

With this resource has come both good and bad things, I mean to think about it almost everything here is a double-edged sword; there’s good and bad to it and the internet is no exception.

With media platforms being created every day to facilitate people meeting people and interacting with each other, there has come a crop of people in this generation that have decided to use this resource and turn it on others. The Internet may be a domain of free expression, but not all of that expression takes the form of being polite and being friendly.

image credit–pixabay

Some have intentionally, out of want, dedicated themselves, to be instruments that use the openness and anonymity of the internet to vocalize both hateful and violent messages. Among these are cyberbullies and trolls.

To differentiate them might seem a waste of time as their labels aren’t as important as the harm they cause people however for the sake of clarification and just so you know who you’re dealing with when confronted, there is a difference between what trolls do and what cyberbullies do.

Trolls just seek to cause unrest and noise in online communities and attract attention to themselves, so that amidst the chaos they have created they tend to feel relevant as being at the center of it all, while cyberbullies just want to use the Internet to hurt their victims. It is called trolling because trolling in itself is a word used to describe a method used in fishing and is of a similar approach to what is done on the internet.

Trolls are visitors who leave inflammatory comments in public comment sections. That’s the first thing you should know about a troll, no individual is too big or too small for them. As to whether they comment on blog posts or online news sites, they are specifically looking to attract the attention of other visitors and disrupt discussion that would otherwise be about the page’s content.

Trolls do this by posting comments that are hateful, racist, sexist or profane. They want to shift attention from the author’s content and conversations about the content onto themselves. They want responses to their inflammatory comments from the original author as well as other commenters.

Trolling has interestingly shot up over the years as compared to cyberbullying because of how normal it has been regarded by the general public forgetting the effect it has on people. Researcher Ben Radford wrote about the phenomenon of clowns in history and modern-day in his book Bad Clowns and found that bad clowns have evolved into Internet trolls.

They do not dress up as traditional clowns but, for their amusement, they tease and exploit and like clowns in make-up, Internet trolls hide behind anonymous accounts and fake usernames. In their eyes, they are the trickster and are performing for a nameless audience via the Internet. The internet would be a very safe place without all of these antics and gimmicks honestly.

Trolling is harmless right? Then why have several celebrities and even people of normal status in interviews and blog posts disclosed how trolling made them crawl into a closet of depression and all of that? In this part of the world, it is as though there is nothing better to be done and so trolling has been picked up as a hobby by various people.

Unless someone doesn’t make a mistake with their captioning when uploading a picture, or a video doesn’t go viral, or a football team doesn’t lose, or an award show doesn’t happen and some people don’t receive accolades; it’s like people are just there itching and waiting for an opportunity to release a mouthful.

On July 3rd Ed Sheeran renounced Twitter after receiving a stream of unwarranted, malicious tweets. ‘I can’t read it,” Sheeran told The Sun. “One comment ruins your day…that’s why I’ve come off it.’ Sheeran’s not the only one that’s been impacted by internet trolls.

So many other figures have come out to address the issue; Ghanaian artist ‘Pappy Kojo’ was being interviewed by Delay once and he went on to talk about how failing to win at the VGMAs affected him.

The ironic twist is that in the tweet and comments that followed after it, people were still trolling him and telling him to suck it up and be a better artist. Artists such as ‘Medikal’ and ‘King Promise’ have all come into the limelight of such situations and we are oblivious to the fact that the effects of this thing are real and tangible.

It’s thoughtless, cruel, and harmful and can lead to some serious consequences such as depression, self-harm, or even force those who have experienced trolling to contemplate or attempt suicide leaving families and friends to live with the aftermath.

So the next time you think about trolling some random stranger you don’t know, do us all a favor; don’t.

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