The internet is swarming with trolls. They spam Facebook posts and clutter Twitter feeds, causing trouble and trying to push people’s buttons. They’re total pests. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of our best moves for scaring trolls back into their caves. Spoiler: screaming ‘wingardium leviosa!’ only works in Harry Potter.
1. Starve them
It’s totally understandable to want to wage a war on trolls with your keyboard, but trolls thrive on others’ anger, frustration and annoyance. This means that the angrier you get, the stronger they become. So, your best bet for ridding the internet of trolls is to starve them of a reaction.
This can be pretty challenging. It helps to remember that trolls don’t actually believe what they’re posting, so you can’t beat them with logic or fact. When you’re being trolled, the best thing to do is to ignore the posts. Eventually, they’ll probably tire themselves out.
2. Record it
Take a screenshot so that you have a record of the original post. This covers you if the person tries to edit or delete their post once they realise it could get them in trouble. These records can also be handy if things escalate and you need to take the matter further.
3. Stand up for yourself
You can ignore trolls and still make a stand against them. Most social media sites have special functions in place to keep you feeling safe online. Report harmful posts and block the user so they can’t bug you anymore.
If you’ve exhausted the reporting and blocking options within your social media platform and things are still really bad, you need to make a report to The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner by filling out this form.
Before you make a complaint, you need to:
- have copies of the cyberbullying material ready to upload (screenshots or photos)
- report the material to the social media service (if possible) at least 48 hours before filling out the form
- gather as much information as possible about where the material is located
- allow 15–20 minutes to complete the form.
4. Log off
It can be really overwhelming when trolls are constantly pestering you. While you can’t control other people’s trolling behaviour, you can try to limit the amount of time you spend dealing with it.
Logging off social media can be really difficult, but it’s a good idea if you’re feeling upset. Don't worry, you don’t have to go completely off the grid; you could just try turning off push notifications, logging off from the accounts that are most affected by trolling, or deleting social media apps from your phone and only logging on when you’re at home.
5. Tell someone you trust
It can help to talk to someone if trolls are getting you down. This can be really tough, but it can make you to feel a lot better. Choose someone who you trust and who will be able to give you the help you need. Work out what you want to say beforehand, focussing on how the experience is affecting you and what help you want from them. If they don’t give you the support you’re looking for, try speaking to someone else.