Cyber Space is a vast place with many screen names, fake profiles and avatars to hide behind. As we carry our electronic devices everywhere with us – I take mine everywhere – the bullying also comes with us, lurking and haunting. This leaves us wide open to attacks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In internet slag these bullying culprits are called “trolls” – they deliberately set about to upsets others by starting arguments or posting unnecessary inflammatory messages on blogs, websites, forums and chat rooms.
“Muscat – Where Can I Find” is one of the most active and popular Facebook groups here in Oman where users can ask the local community for help in searching for particular items, directions or advice. This page is a fantastic and valuable tool available to us but, like most websites these days, it has been subject to trolls thinking that they are clever to insult and ridicule others. The creator of the page, Nicholla Henderson Hall, explains to this trials of having such a dynamic page:
Most of us have probably at least been border line culprits ourselves at some point or degree as we exercise our ‘freedom of speech’ and push our opinions on others or take the mick out of other online users. I have been a culprit myself. Laughing at someone else’s expense on a Facebook page and watching them get rattled. At the time I thought that I was clever and witty as people ‘liked’ my comments. But what we seem forget at the time is that there is someone else on the other side of that screen with feelings reading our harsh words and opinions. My new rule of thumb – If I wouldn’t say it to the persons face then I won’t type it to them either.
As a Blogger I have chosen to put my life, my opinions and my identity out there for the world to see. I didn’t expect glorifying praise and admiration from the masses but I certainly didn’t expect to be targeted by internet trolls either. In the past two years I have had countless nasty messages and emails usually from ‘anonymous’ sources. For the most part I choose to ignore the hate, delete and then move onto the positive messages I receive every single day but something still nags me deep down inside. I just don’t understand the mentality of these people who deliberately take the time out of their day to spread hate and upset others. Maybe I never will understand but it still hurts to read the hatred directly at you.
Next time you think it is hilarious or clever to harass, intimidate or ridicule someone online then just take a second to think about how it might feel if the boot was on the other foot.
Don’t be that person.