LEONIE AND THE CYBER TROLLS
I have had over 15 years experience with online forums and online communities – both as a moderator and a participant.
My role as a cyber safety trainer, social media consultant and speaker is to educate employers, parents, teachers and students on how to handle cyber bullying and protect online privacy.
I have witnessed many of my online friends and my own family subjected to online abuse. I have also encountered trolls in the past – if you’ve been online for as long as I have you can’t avoid it. I have also assisted family members, clients, teachers, students, parents, friends and colleagues in dealing with trolling, cyber bullying fraudsters and online stalkers.
I am not a mental health expert, my opinions come from years of research and experience as a forum moderator, a blogger, an online community member and lastly as a mother of two teens 12 and 15 yrs of age who are passionate users of computers and online games.
My lay person’s opinion is that trolls bully for attention, for sport and a need to stroke some deep seated urge for power to the point of sadism.
My advice for dealing with trolls or abusive behaviour online is to always ban, block, report and reach out for help from a trusted friend or mentor, parent or teacher.
This is the safest way to deal with online abuse. If the troll goes away, all well and good but unfortunately, if a troll or cyber bully is determined to get to you, avoiding them is almost impossible.
Trolling can turn from mild abuse very quickly into a frightening stalking episode, one that even police may find hard to deal with.
I won’t go into all the ways I’ve seen stalkers and trolls get at people – it only advertises their methods. However, reporting cyber bullying and trolling is vital to bring it out in the open and have accountability.
I have in the past gone “undercover” to help expose a stalker or an internet nasty. (I think I must have a Nancy Drew detective side of me that is burning within). I do it because I have a strong need for justice and if I see someone being victimised, I find it really hard to not help.
Some trolls and online frauds are really stupid, leaving traces all over the place, others are far better at hiding. I’ve learned over the years how to trace people online and it’s not that difficult.
Why Do I Care?
I was bullied as a child, not badly, but I learned to avoid the bullies by being a bit of ham and getting a laugh, but witnessing my own children being bullied hurts more than anything and that is why I became involved in online protection from cyber bullying. Both my boys are a little “different” and have been the target of offline and online abuse, one of them since he was four years old. I’ve taught them resilience, avoidance, and all of the techniques I’ve outlined above. And yes some of the bullies did get their comeuppance.
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