I recently watched a video about internet trolls that was made by Shane Koyczan. He does a really good job of calling them out and expressing his years of being bullied.
I know it’s impossible to ignore them, because posting anything on the internet is like stepping on an anthill. No matter what you post, someone is going to bash it for whatever reason their twisted minds believe is justifiable.
I’ve been fortunate with my blog so far. Probably because I average about 3 viewers a day. I’m not exactly topping the results on search engines. lol
I know my day is coming, but I also know that it won’t bother me. I grew up with the internet. As is matured, so did I. I remember having to wait ten minutes for pages to load. Kids these days would go crazy if they had to wait that long just to see one picture of a giraffe. Online videos were only dreams.
But I digress.
As I was saying, I grew up with the internet. I learned how to survive the world wide web via chat rooms and forums. I know what to expect and who to pay attention to. Trolls are on my list of “Nice try, but I’ll continue on.” They are simply words on a screen.
With that said, however, I also know that the younger generation is finding more and more of its identity online. I heard of a rehabilitation center in China for teens who are addicted to the internet. One kid said he spent three days at an internet cafe! I know that’s an extreme case, but it goes to show how kids are depending on the internet more and more to give them their emotional fulfillment.
Add all that together, and you get a perfect storm for trolls. They know their words mean something to this generation. They know their words are desired as much as they are hated. They are wanted, yet feared. Most of all, they are hidden, separated from those they hurt. Nothing ties them to their victims except a keyboard and pixels.
The part of that video that struck me most was when Shane mentioned that trolls have been responsible for people’s deaths. I didn’t even know how to react to that. The most prominent feeling I had in reaction to that was worry.
I worried because I have two kids. The oldest is 7. She’s going to be using the internet and social media in just a few short years, and I worry that she will be overwhelmed and broken down.
I know that building her self-esteem and confidence will help, but I also know how easy it is to succumb to the pressures and mysteries of the internet. She doesn’t have the experience to know that the people trying to hurt her are only doing it for their own sick entertainment. She doesn’t know that investing her emotions into their words is a trap that not only hurts, but can kill.
Luckily, she doesn’t have much desire to use the computer yet. She has a couple educational games on it, but it doesn’t hold her attention. I just hope it continues until she’s old enough to make wise online decisions.
When all that is said and done, we have a son six years younger than her. That means we get to run the whole gambit one more time.
If you are reading this and you are a troll, please stop. It’s not funny and it ruins lives.
If you are reading this and you are NOT a troll, thank you. Feel free to leave thoughtful comments. :-)