How to Deal with Internet Trolls and Protect Your Mental Health (2024)

Internet trolls are people who leave intentionally provocative or offensive messages on the internet in order to get attention, cause trouble or upset someone. They can be found on social media platforms, online forums, comment sections, and anywhere else where people can express their opinions online. They can be annoying, frustrating, and even harmful to your mental health if you let them get to you.

But why do people troll and what can you do about it? In this blog, we will explore the psychology of internet trolls, the signs that someone is trolling, and some effective tactics to defeat them.

The Psychology of Internet Trolls

Internet trolls are not what most of us would consider to be well-adjusted. Research has shown that many of them have personality traits such as psychopathy, Machiavellianism, sadism, and narcissism. These traits make them insensitive to the feelings of others, manipulative, cruel, and self-centred.

Internet trolls also have different motives for their behaviour. Some of them may troll for amusem*nt, to get a reaction from others, or to feel superior. Others may troll for ideological reasons, to push a certain agenda or to attack people who disagree with them. And some may troll for personal reasons, to vent their anger or frustration, or to cope with their own insecurities or problems.

Internet trolls are not like normal people who have constructive conversations online. They are not interested in learning new things, exchanging ideas, or respecting different perspectives. They are only interested in provoking and upsetting others for their own benefit.

The Signs of Internet Trolling

It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between a troll and someone who just genuinely wants to argue about a topic. However, there are some signs that can help you identify a troll and avoid wasting your time and energy on them. Some of the signs of internet trolling are:

- Off-topic remarks: Trolls often go off-topic from the subject at hand, to annoy and disrupt other posters.

- Refusal to acknowledge evidence: Trolls ignore facts and logic that contradict their views, and either double down on their stance or change the topic altogether.

- Name-calling: Trolls resort to personal attacks and insults instead of engaging in civil discourse.

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- Exaggeration: Trolls use hyperbole and extreme statements to make their points seem more valid or important.

- Contradiction: Trolls often contradict themselves or change their opinions depending on who they are talking to.

- Sarcasm: Trolls use sarcasm and irony to mock and belittle others.

- Repetition: Trolls repeat the same arguments or questions over and over again, even after they have been answered or refuted.

- False claims: Trolls make false or misleading claims about themselves or others, such as pretending to be experts or victims.

- Baiting: Trolls try to bait others into responding by asking provocative or controversial questions or making outrageous statements.

If you encounter someone who exhibits these signs online, chances are they are a troll and not worth your attention.

The Tactics to Defeat Internet Trolls

Internet trolls can be annoying and frustrating, but they can also be harmful to your mental health if you let them affect you. Studies have shown that exposure to online harassment can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and even suicidal thoughts. Therefore, it is important to know how to deal with trolls and protect yourself from their negativity.

Here are some tips on how to deal with internet trolls:

- Ignore them: The best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them. Trolls want attention and validation from others. If you don't give them what they want, they will lose interest and move on. Don't feed the trolls by responding or engaging with them.

- Use humour or love: Another way to deal with trolls is to use humour or love. Humour can help you diffuse the tension and make light of the situation. Love can help you show compassion and empathy for the troll, who may be suffering from their own issues. By using humour or love, you can disarm the troll and make them feel less powerful.

- Report them: If a troll is violating the rules or policies of the platform they are using, you can report them to the moderators or administrators. Reporting can help prevent further harassment and abuse from the troll. It can also help protect other users from being targeted by the troll.

- Block them: If a troll is persistent or abusive, you can block them from contacting you or seeing your posts. Blocking can help you avoid further interaction and exposure to the troll. It can also help you create a safe and positive online space for yourself and others.

- Seek support: If a troll is affecting your mental health or well-being, you can seek support from your friends, family, or professionals. Support can help you cope with the stress and emotions caused by the troll. It can also help you gain perspective and confidence in yourself.

Internet trolls are people who want to provoke and upset others online for their own amusem*nt or agenda. They are not like normal people who have constructive conversations online. They are often driven by personality disorders or psychological issues. You can spot them by their signs of trolling, such as off-topic remarks, refusal to acknowledge evidence, name-calling, exaggeration, contradiction, sarcasm, repetition, false claims, and baiting. You can deal with them by ignoring them, using humour or love, reporting them, blocking them, or seeking support. By doing so, you can defeat internet trolls and protect your mental health.

Or just give them a massive wedgie, when and if you meet them.

How to Deal with Internet Trolls and Protect Your Mental Health (2024)

FAQs

How to Deal with Internet Trolls and Protect Your Mental Health? ›

Other steps you can take include: Ignore: The goal of social media agitators (commonly referred to as trolls) is to elicit a response. In many cases, trolls move on if you ignore them long enough. Mute: If what someone is saying about you online is causing you distress, you can change your settings to mute them.

How do you deal with online trolls? ›

You can deal with them by ignoring them, using humour or love, reporting them, blocking them, or seeking support. By doing so, you can defeat internet trolls and protect your mental health. Or just give them a massive wedgie, when and if you meet them.

What is one effective way to respond to internet trolls? ›

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.

What is the mental illness of internet trolls? ›

The psychology of a troll. According to a study about internet trolls by Psychology Today, internet trolling is linked to what is defined as the “Dark Tetrad” of interrelated negative personality traits, which include the following: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism.

How to deal with IRL trolls? ›

It's natural to respond to unfounded personal attacks. Don't. Ignoring a troll (unlike most problems in life) is almost always the most effective response.

What mental disorders do trolls have? ›

Some researchers are suggesting that trolling behaviour is limited to a vocal and sociopathic minority, often emerging among individuals with “Dark Tetrad” personality traits, including psychopathy, machiavellianism, narcissism, and sadism.

What is Internet psychosis? ›

They described a 'hyperpersonal' relationship with a stranger, mistrust of the aims and identity of the other party, blurred self boundaries, misinterpretation of information, and undesirable personal exposure in cyberspace.

What are the warning signs of a troll on the Internet? ›

There are several signs that you may be dealing with an internet troll:
  • Attacking or criticizing something that you have posted, praised, or agreed with.
  • Posting personal insults meant to humiliate you in front of others in the discussion.
  • Increasing verbal aggression when the victim responds.

How to stop being a troll? ›

I suggest a few things: First, seek out a qualified therapist in your area with whom you can address these feelings/impulses. Next, whenever you find yourself trolling, take the time to remind yourself that the person on the other end is a real person, with real feelings, real family, friends, and loved ones.

What is the deal with trolls? ›

Trolling is when someone deliberately tries to upset others online. Trolling can lead to a pile on, when others join in the attack. Don't feed the trolls – responding is likely to make things worse. Report the abuse instead.

How do I get rid of trolling? ›

What should you do if you're being trolled?
  1. Don't respond.
  2. Block the trolls' accounts.
  3. Don't post online that you're being targeted.
  4. Take some time out from social media.
  5. If the abuse you receive makes you feel at threat or is otherwise unlawful - report it to the social media platform and the police.

Does ignoring Internet trolls work? ›

Many people recommend you simply ignore trolls and don't respond in any way, but this gives the trolls even more power as it gives them the power to silence you. Instead, ignore the troll but address the problem with the “audience” in a matter of fact way.

How would you deal with a person trolling? ›

“Someone is trolling me!”

Resist the urge to respond – it's likely to make things worse. Collect evidence, report and block. The eSafety Guide has information about how to do this on different online platforms.

How do you get rid of a troll? ›

Ignore them

There's a saying, 'don't feed the troll. ' Often, trolls are motivated by attention and emotional responses, which means replying to nasty or offensive comments is giving them what they want. Attempting to debate them will only make them troll more. It's best to ignore them.

Can online trolls be traced? ›

Identify and Report Internet Trolls

Even in the case of a tech-savvy hacker who conceals their identity behind proxies, it is still possible to uncover their true identity. Once you have successfully identified your online antagonist, you can pursue legal action against them.

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