Trolls are a common part of internet life; it’s estimated that 4 out of 10 users have personally experienced online harassment. When posting content online, be aware that everything you share can be seen or saved by anyone if your content is made public. Social media sites are adding ways to report and block content, but there are steps you can take to defend yourself against internet trolls. Here are some ways:
- Don’t Bait Trolls. Don’t post “baiting” material – that is, content intended to upset a particular audience or person.
- Consider Your Content. Keep in mind that topics like politics, religion and current events are likely to provoke trolling behavior or arguments. Be kind and inclusive in your posts.
- Ignore Trolls. Trolls want attention and they want to frustrate you. If you ignore them, there is no reward for their actions; they will move on once they realize this.
- Gather Evidence. Save print screens / recordings of any questionable content – just in case you need it to prove damages in a lawsuit.
- Block Users. Most sites have ways you can block abusive people; do not hesitate to take away the abusive user’s platform.
- Block Keywords. Some sites let you enable word filters for specific words. Set up content filters to help keep things clean.
- Get Help from the Internet. If the troll is publishing content about you on their own account, use the #helpmeinternet hashtag and describe the issue with a link to the troll’s account.
Most importantly: If you are a child or teenager, tell your parents what is happening. Don’t be afraid, ashamed or embarrassed; the sooner you involve an authority figure, the better things will be.