Online bullying has run rampant in recent years. Many people have taken the concept of online anonymity and taken it too far — they have lost all sense of humanity and think a faceless person behind a keyboard can say whatever they want. These cowardly and hurtful acts are real and they happen every day. As a society who spends an increasing amount of our lives online, coming across these bullying comments is inevitable. As such, there are a few things we need to keep in mind as we deal with these issues.
First and foremost, remember that we have not so affectionately nicknamed these cyber bullies as “trolls.” They are people who aren’t trying to offer any good to society, rather they stumble through the web leaving rubble in their wake. Accept that this is the reality, that their comments are not meant to be helpful. In all likelihood, they have very little actual information about who you are or what you are trying to say or do. Words or phrases, or a small sample of your website could be taken out of context and be twisted into a cruel attack on you. You know this is not the whole story and even true in the slightest. Remember to not let trolls affect your self-view.
So you’ve read their vitriol, accepted that these things are bound to happen, and then you must move on. Do not respond or engage. It is not worth your time and will only lead to their satisfaction. As a society, we need to take a collective stand to simply not engage with those who are trying to tear down the positive, helpful environment everyone else is trying to create. Arguing with someone who has no self control or respect for others will get you nowhere. You will always lose because you have humanity and will draw a line in the sand, they will not.
If their comments really did hurt or make you feel less than, it is important to talk to someone. Do not let hateful little comments eat away at you and keep those emotions bottled up inside. It is important to express your sadness and hurt to someone else who will listen and confirm that you are important, valuable, and worthwhile. Let your friends in and allow them to confirm that this faceless coward knows nothing about who you really are.
If the problem persists, especially from the same person, use the website’s software to block or report them. More and more websites are acknowledging the existence of cyber bullying and internet trolls and have taken steps to allow you to remove them from your online world. There should be a report and block option for comments where you can take action.
Above all else: do not take it personal. You can’t blame yourself or, even for a second, consider that these people’s comments are justified, warranted, or deserved in any way. Bullies aren’t out to offer constructive criticism, they are out to tear people down, to make them feel terrible about themselves. They feed of the downtrodden to prop themselves up. You must remember that bullies exist, they are more prevalent than ever online, their comments will be vicious and cruel, but they are not going to break you down or have any impact on your life. Our time is not worth feeding their hate.