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Monday, August 10, 2020

What is a Troll?

When I was a kid we (my parents and me) went fishing up in northern Ontario, Canada my dad would often troll. 

Trolling is a fishing technique that employs dragging a hooked lure or bait through the water from a moving boat. It’s supposed to trick the fish to think that your bait is moving prey. 

Like many things, the word has taken on a different meanings today. Trolls are people who intentionally leave provocative or offensive messages on the internet in order to get attention, cause trouble or upset someone. 

Internet trolls hide behind their computers or phones and go out of their way to try and cause havoc online. There are two main types of troll, but both are like those who write on the walls of public bathroom stalls. 

The first type likes to target public figures on social media where they leave hateful, false or disgusting messages. Then their hateful messages keep getting more and more responses. 

Then there is another type who exhibit a psychological trait known as negative social potency which means they are sickos who enjoy causing harm to others. They get pleasure from upsetting those they target with abuse. If their victim responds it only encourages them to continue. 

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioral Addiction at Nottingham Trent University said, “Most people troll others for either revenge, for attention seeking, for boredom, and for personal amusement.” He added that, “They want to lash out at people who are being successful, who are happy, who are enjoying their life because they can’t.” 

It may seem like there wouldn’t be any consequences of trolling, but there are. For one thing, it can cause heightened levels of anxiety and lower self-esteem for the target if they are unsure of who they are as a person. Trolls can highlight insecurities a person has and even create new ones. 

Trolls often use cyber-bullying. the bullying of another person using the internet, mobile phones, etc. Cyber-bullying can take the form of posts on forums or social media, text messages or e-mails, all with the intention of hurting the victim. 

Trolls want to provoke a reaction either because they enjoy seeing people hurt or because they want to be puffed up. 

In some case anonymity won’t protect a troll. People have been kicked out of school and college lost their jobs, their friends and a few have even been jailed for online abuse. 

What Makes Trolls Tick? A Psychology Today article

Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychpaths and Sadists -  amother Psychology Today article.

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