Trolling and cyber bullying: Examining the long-term consequences

http://www.respectu.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/cyberbullying-keyboard.jpg
http://www.respectu.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/cyberbullying-keyboard.jpg

The evolution of the internet has contributed so much to making our lives simpler, faster, easier, and more enjoyable. However, like with any new technology, there will always be issues, and in the case of the internet, cyber bullying and trolling are among the worst. According to this article from The Guardian, not only do “one in five children say they have been victims of cyberbullying on social media during the last year”, but a survey of 11 to 16-year-olds says that “trolling” and “bullying” are the biggest issues they have faced. As Julie Zhuo points out, and as we have explored during discussions in the past few weeks, “anonymity increases unethical behavior”. That is, a lot of trolling and bullying stems from the fact that users feel safe posting from behind the anonymity of their computers.

http://nobullying.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/world-shaker-cyberbullying-infographic-421097.jpg
http://nobullying.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/world-shaker-cyberbullying-infographic-421097.jpg

I examined an article from nobullying.com, which listed 6 unforgettable cyberbullying cases. The first involved Ryan, who had academic and physical struggles in middle school. Next was Megan, who had ADD and depression, as well as issues with her weight. Jessica committed suicide after a nude picture of her got sent around to local high schools. Tyler was constantly bullied for being gay. All the victims that were involved in cyber bullying had one thing in common: they were extremely vulnerable. Online users (often former friends or classmates) took advantage of their weaknesses, whether physical or mental, and used that to make fun of them online.

The most alarming thing is that many of these kids ended up committing suicide, because they couldn’t take the burden of the bullying anymore. Of course these were extreme cases, but other effects of cyber bullying can include depression, anxiety, as well as psychological, physical, and emotional stress.

http://www.oboler.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/0cyberbullying.jpg
http://www.oboler.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/0cyberbullying.jpg

Furthermore, Mattathias Schwartz examines the point of view of trolls, and what goes on in their heads. He explains in The Trolls Among Us, that trolling is a “subculture that is built on deception and delights in playing with the media”. Trolls and cyber bullies get enjoyment out of other people’s frustrations, anger, and pain. Thus, I think not only is trolling and cyberbullying having obvious negative effects on the victims, but the bullies are also feeling more powerful and better about themselves. This is ultimately creating a divide in our society, where there could be pressure for teenage kids to either join a side: be a bully or get bullied. Or, kids who were previously picked on online get so frustrated that they take their anger out on others, and it turns into a never ending circle.

What do you think the possible long term effects of trolling and cyber bullying could be on individual kids? How could their lives be altered? How about the long term effects on society as a whole? Is there anything more that can be done to prevent cyber bullying? Would making users less anonymous on the internet help eliminate a good chunk of trolls and cyber bullies?  Is it even possible to decrease anonymity (because users can always make fake usernames, emails, identities, etc.)?

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40 thoughts on “Trolling and cyber bullying: Examining the long-term consequences

  1. cseejay March 1, 2015 / 1:08 am

    On a brief side note I think the most important thing I can teach my children (if I ever have any) is developing think skin, and to have good judgment when they should push someone (mentally or physically) back. Trolling or cyber bullying is absolutely awful, and I had the most difficult time with it when I became heavily invested in social media over a decade ago. Having thick skin and knowing what not to look at is the most important part of navigating around the Internet in my opinion. I have certain articles depending on the site that I just know will have trolls in the comment section. Unless you can laugh a lot of the negativity off, it can have an effect on certain individuals that aren’t as mentally tough. I think my dealing with cyber bullying comes from my experience dealing with bullying growing up in school, ignore it. If you can’t then find a way to ignore it, parents need to help their children develop thicker skin to issues like this. When it comes to how anonymous bullies can be, this also needs to be addressed. I’m not sure how, but they’re needs to be something that links a person to what they say online, so individuals can be held accountable for being an asshole. It’s difficult because anything that you tie to a social account, the risk is there that personal information might be used negatively or hacked into. I think it boils down to companies having a group of people who focus on complaints and closely monitor the comment section for issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 6, 2015 / 12:30 pm

      Your first sentence reminded me that some people in our class have children of their own, so it will be interesting to get their take on the subject.

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    • eakoonter March 8, 2015 / 3:31 pm

      I have to disagree about justifying when to push back. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Defending your life is one thing, but bullying is just wrong. Developing thick skin is good, but for reasons other than figuring the best way to attack somebody back. Maybe teaching your children to be the bigger person and to ignore the person would be the best way to guide them. Just a suggestion. Everyone parents differently.

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  2. Emily Rader March 1, 2015 / 11:59 am

    I definitely think that cyberbullying has lasting effects on people, just as face-to-face bullying does, if not more harmful effects. As a kid who was bullied heavily during my “ugly duckling” phase, I know how bullying stays with you long term. It breaks down your self esteem and at that young and vulnerable age, it takes a long time to build it back up. The biggest issue with cyberbullying is how the bullies can so easily remain anonymous and I think they also get braver and bolder with their bullying since they are sitting behind a keyboard and not in front of a person. When watching discussions about bullying or reading comments online, another scary aspect is when I see people making comments like “Well everyone experiences bullying at some point. It’s part of growing up.” I’ve heard this said over and over again and it’s very upsetting. Attitudes such as these are what alters society in a negative way by making it seem okay to bully others. Ultimately, it begins with parents. I think it’s extremely important for parents to teach their children how to use the internet responsibly, but also to accept others without making them a victim. If more parents taught their kids about the harmful effects of bullying, they would be helping society stand up against bullying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 6, 2015 / 12:33 pm

      To expand on your point that there are people that say “well everyone experiences bullying”, I have also heard of parents saying things like “bullying helps build toughness and character”. I completely agree with your post that some people don’t understand the severity and consequences of bullying.

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  3. lewenzel93 March 1, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    The long term effects of cyber bullying and trolling are hard to pin point exactly, but I have no doubt that they include depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, addiction, and more negative behaviors or thoughts. A huge factor behind what makes cyber bullying so effective is that it’s all so anonymous. Many people, even teenagers, wouldn’t say what they’re writing to that person’s face because they know it’s wrong. It’s simple to write something mean and post it and then go about your daily routine. But when it’s you on the receiving end of said mean comment, it’s natural to wonder if there’s any truth to what’s being said. You wonder how someone who may barely know you would go so far as to post something so cruel, so, it must be true. Or you might wonder if the person posting it is supposed to be your “friend.” Even more so, without a face or voice behind the message, your mind assigns your own face and voice to the message, which makes it even harder to believe there’s no truth to the comment. Decreasing anonymity would definitely deal a huge hit to cyber bullies, but I don’t think it’d make it go away completely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 6, 2015 / 12:34 pm

      I agree, somehow decreasing anonymity could definitely help alleviate the situation, I am interested to see if anyone has any ideas on how to do that.

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  4. jaemillz411 March 1, 2015 / 9:34 pm

    There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. ~ Ernest Hemingway

    This was a great post. Quite frankly I do not know if there is a way to stop trolling and bulling online because we have yet to stop it in real life. But the most effective way I can think of combating pure hatred is to ignore it. Hatred thrives on attention that is its power source. Some people think that negativity will get them attention and that causing people to hurt somehow makes them powerful. But, it does not, it only shows how little that person has to offer and their myopic view of the world. It is sad. I say we fight back with kindness and consideration for others and their feelings. Some long-term effects of trolling could be low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and/or the creation of more bullies. Our society cannot be passive about trolling because these are real people getting hurt. I believe that anonymity should left alone because it is not always used for bad. But people need to speak up. If you know someone is harassing people online it is our responsibility to tell the proper authority. There needs to be accountability.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. blcarr March 1, 2015 / 9:49 pm

    Cyberbullying is just like face to face bullying when it comes to having a lasting effect on people. I was never bullied due to my bad attitude and always ready to fight mentality but I’ve known some kids who were and they didn’t last too long due to incarceration or worse. Being bullied kills your pride and which leads to depression which leads to harming yourself and or others. The only difference with face to face and cyberbullying is that cyber bullies can remain nameless and faceless. Being a bully is just like racism; meaning, it is taught in the household by someone who was raised in it as a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 8, 2015 / 8:04 pm

      To your last sentence, I do agree that kids are generally an extension of their parents. Most of my friends who are really nice, kind, and friendly, have parents who are the same way. On the other hand, many kids that grow up to be not so great generally either have parents who are often missing in their lives, or their parents are poor citizens also. I am just not sure what can be done for kids who are cyberbullies who come from tough households.

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  6. asibo March 2, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    I think it’s very interesting that you have noticed a dichotomy in internet users in terms of trolling and cyberbullying. We often think about the tragedy of the victims of trolling and cyberbullying, those whose weaknesses are exploited, but naturally there are perpetrators of this sort of harassment, which often go under the radar without ever being apprehended and going on to commit such offenses again and again. Victims seem to have a vulnerability that is the result of a social stigma such as their sexual orientation or a mental health issue. Perpetrators on the other hand, as depicted in “The Trolls Among Us,” tend to be anti-social and misanthropic, rejecting society (and their families in Jason Fortuny’s case), rather than being rejected by society. This subtle difference appears to be the main dividing line between those who go so far as to become career trolls and bullies, looking to create chaos and push people to their deaths, and those who go so far as to end their lives under the mental and emotional strain.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Carly Hernandez March 2, 2015 / 3:17 pm

    I think that kids and teenagers when they are young are more likely to endure cyber-bullying and will probably affect them for the rest of their lives. All of us can remember being young and wanting to explore the web, especially in my case since social media and the internet became more popular when I was a young teenager. From the start of social media, the internet and the web, there have always been people bullying and trolling everywhere on different sites. Anonymity does not help either because it makes it that much worse; hearing things from someone you have no idea who it is. It could even be one of your friends. The long term side effects are much greater than people think they would be. Cyber-bullies aren’t always realizing in the moment what the impact of their actions could be. Others know exactly what they are doing and want to do it intentionally to the person or persons. Suicide, self-harm and depression are just a few of the possible side effects a person can endure when being bullied. I also think that since the cyber-bullies/trolls are on a computer and not in a real face-to-face encounter that it makes it easier for them to bully and there will be no consequences; which is almost true because you rarely see the cyber-bullies actually getting in trouble.

    To prevent cyber-bullying I think that we need to start teaching kids when they are young about the consequences and effects that it has. Since kids in elementary school now have phones and use social media, it is important to start right there in their school educating them. Anonymity should also be decreased in some way since it’s easier for cyber-bullies/trolls to commit their crimes this way. I think that it is very hard to decrease anonymity in even a small way because you’re right, people can make fake emails, usernames, etc. to use and people would never know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 8, 2015 / 7:53 pm

      Yes, I think that our school systems can often be behind in terms of catching up with technology. Middle and high schools could look at things like offering classes on proper social media use, posting online and its consequences, cyber bullying, etc. Not only would these topics be interesting for kids (I know I would have been interested in it during middle school), but they could help possibly prevent some cyber bullying in the future generations.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. rmpaulk March 5, 2015 / 9:44 pm

    I think the possible long-term effects of trolling and cyber bullying are depression, social anxiety, stress, lack of sleep, lack of empathy (on the bully’s end), suicidal and homicidal thoughts, and mental instability. We heard numerous news stories of people killing themselves because of cyber bullying, and things like school shootings due to it as well. I can almost guarantee that the bully’s never wanted either of those outcomes to happen, but they did. People’s lives can be dramatically altered by cyber bullying and trolling. People can be so depressed that they take their own life or fail to succeed in their lives. They could lose current and future job opportunities, lose friends, and lose their minds. They could also become homicidal, taking other lives, and ruin even more people. The bully’s or trolls could then go through the same symptoms of depression, lack of self-worth, etc., from the guilt of what their actions have caused. This could cause fear, untrustworthiness, and depression in society. We hear about so many school shooting today that it has become ridiculous. People are scared to let their kids go on the internet, they are afraid to speak their minds, and they are afraid of going to work and school.
    I honestly don’t know what can be done about preventing cyber bullying except if everyone was monitoring what others put on the internet. If there was someone in everyone’s life that would tell them it is not ok to publish that, or delete that, that they would actually listen to things could get better. Making users less anonymous could eliminate a good chunk of the problem, though. Yes, people could always create fake accounts, but it might at least deter the big chunk of trolls who are too lazy to go through the hassle. Make it where if someone is reported too many times for trolling on a website they are kicked off the site, and their IP address is sent to a database. That database would then alert other websites where that IP address is popping up that they have a history of trolling. This would eliminate another big chunk of trolls by them having no place to go. And if you think about it, these sites that are being alerted are every place they visit including school and work websites.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mvzang March 6, 2015 / 1:03 am

    The internet is the perfect place for this level of hateful speech to breed. People feel as though nothing can happen to them when they’re in the comfort of their own homes. It’s like driving down the street when you’re running late and you see a police car sitting on the side of the road. Are you going to speed passed that police car? I bet most would speed if that police car wasn’t there. It’s the same for bullies and trollers. In our article Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt, it mentions that “ordinary good people often change their behavior in radical ways”. This is sad in a way because I believe you shouldn’t say or write anything you aren’t willing to say out loud to a person’s face.

    Eventually something will have to happen, because we cannot have these young and easily influenced teens committing suicide over comments made by bullies. If they don’t end up hurting themselves, nasty comments made during their childhood years can lead to many psychological problems in the future. I believe with the advent of all these online communities, parents need to police their kids a little more closely. After all, it’s a parent’s job to know what their kids are doing whether it’s sending these nasty messages, or receiving them.

    As far as those anonymous people that thrive on the internet, I’m not sure I’m tech savvy enough to know how to implement something to catch these people. It would be nice to have a way to quickly indentify these people so when people lives are threatened, and photos of their home are being sent to them with threats of bodily harm, they can be prosecuted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 8, 2015 / 7:55 pm

      I agree with your post, parents play a key role in their kids lives, and since they didn’t grow up with cell phones, social media, and the internet, I think it can be hard for them to realize how drastic and severe cyber bullying can be. Opening the eyes of parents could be a good idea.

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  10. Brandon Coulter March 6, 2015 / 12:28 pm

    Although it may seem like a decent idea on paper, eliminating the ability to remain anonymous on the web is a very harmful strategy that will deter many individuals from posting any information on the internet. Unfortunately, this anonymity is the initial force that feeds the beast in trolling. The ability to remain anonymous with no identifier gives these trolls a firm wall that separates their organic reality from their online persona. With this in mind, they are then able to commit internet harassment and other internet crimes without any worry pr persecution and defamation. In cases such as this, it is exceptionally hard to combat these individuals considering it is relatively impossible to track them down short or directly messaging the user, to which a general distasteful response is then given from the harasser to the afflicted. This being said, in cases involving younger children and teenagers, it is seemingly much easier to identify those bullying the individuals into harmful actions, sometimes going so far as to commit suicide. This being said, not much action is taken to prevent the bullying from happening and to persecute those responsible for the horrible things that happen to the unfortunate receivers of the abuse. To tackle this issue early on by identifying and holding accountable those responsible from a younger age may in turn help with establishing a system of justice within their minds that holds them accountable for their actions and makes them realize the kind of true harm they cause towards those they abuse. For those individuals that are abused and bullied from a younger age into young adulthood that turn to internet harassment as a source of comfort, it can be seen that this sort of early criticism and harassment serves as a base point for their future anger. To end the bullying at a younger age will create a better outcome for both sides of the coin, turning possible bullies into much more understanding and supportive individuals while also allowing for those that would be bullied to accept who they are and mature into positive-thinking and psychologically-sound human beings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 8, 2015 / 7:58 pm

      As you mention at the end of your post, one thing I haven’t really thought about is that putting an end to cyberbullying would not only mean the kids bullied would live to have better lives, but also the cyber bullies. They wouldn’t have so much anger and hatred bottled up, and as you mention, “turning possible bullies into much more understanding and supportive individuals” can actually have a huge effect on creating a more positive society.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. ajmiros March 6, 2015 / 3:16 pm

    Your questions at the conclusion about the long term effects of cyber bullying are interesting. First, bullying or kids picking on each other has been going on since the start of time. Unfortunately there is a fundamental flaw in our society’s youth that leads some of them to pick on ‘weaker’ peers or those with forms of disabilities. In most cases, I believe this starts at home with parents. Parents who have a positive influence, provide a sound home life, and teach right from wrong will simmer the cases of bullying. The long term effects of cyber bullying are the same as the effects of old-fashioned bullying – kids are going to have emotional wounds that need time to recover from. In some cases, just as always, these ‘attacks’ can lead to physical harm. Most kids have someone to turn to and vent their problems or prevent further bullying – some do not. The ones that do not are usually the tragic cases of suicide or retaliation that hit our newsfeeds.

    Second, cyber bullying is just bullying that has changed with the times. Technology has made it easier for kids of all shapes and sizes to be an aggressor and use their online words to hurt others. No longer is it just the classic stereotypical ‘big kid’ bully that picks on those smaller and weaker. I feel that cyber bullying also gets greater attention because it leaves a trail of evidence. In the past kids could say things, they hurt, but almost drift away and are forgotten by others. The rate and opportunity for children to either be aggressors or victims of cyber bullying has greatly increased. However, this has always been the same fundamental problem of bullying that has faced school-aged children for decades.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. seananthony3 March 7, 2015 / 10:00 pm

    I don’t think there are any steps we can take to decrease cyberbullying without restricting the internet as a whole. Unfortunately, by requiring users to prove that they are who they say they are, you are eliminating a lot of potential new users. There was a website by the name of MyYearbook (I believe) and the only way to gain access to it was to verify that you go to a certain school. Due to these restrictions, the website was not as popular as it could have been so it removed the limit. Now, the website is completely different as a pseudo dating site.

    But how can we prevent cyber bullying? Stricter enforcement on websites such as Facebook would help. Instead of going after those who use last names they are more comfortable with, we should go after those that abuse their account to make pages attacking others. When Amanda Todd committed suicide in 2012 as a result of cyber bullying, a page I was following decided to use that to post very insensitive pictures for “humor.” The Facebook page is still functioning today.

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  13. adrianhormsby March 7, 2015 / 11:37 pm

    So Balasz, in answer to your question – Is there anything more that can be done to stop cyber bullying ? My answer is a resounding yes and here’s how it’s done. Let me explain, Red Sox Baseball pitcher Kurt Shilling recently posted his congratulations on his public blog (called 38pitches) regarding his 17 year old daughter’s success in making her College baseball team. Next minute there’ a plethora of sexually explicit derogatory comments from cyberbullies. As a concerned and loving father Kurt wasn’t going to take this lying down. Cyberbully jocks are both brazen and careless these days and despite the perception of anonymity, you’d be surprised how they can be tracked and hunted down and Kurt did exactly that. Guess what, one of them was an official Yankee’s ticket seller who didn’t realize that the Yankees have a zero tolerance policy, so he was promptly fired. Another one was a Brookland Community College student who was immediately suspended from school. Kurt has vowed to find every last one of them and call them out in public just as they disgraced his daughter in public. This is what Kurt had to say on the matter “Let me be very clear, I don’t know that I could put myself in a place where my daughter would take her life, but if that happened, I’m that father with nothing to lose. This was an attack on my family.” Some may say that we need to thicken up our kids’ skin and look the other way, but like Kurt I strongly argue that we need to expose these cyberbullies for the thoughtless cowards they really are. Go ahead read the entire story, it will change the way you view this issue entirely http://madworldnews.com/?s=kurt+schilling. We shouldn’t be sitting back and taking this like a bunch of wimps. Everyone knows this is unacceptable (just read the comments on the Kurt’s story) and leads to dire consequences for our kids, depression, social dysfunction and heaven forbid suicide. So why do we put up with this when it’s our own family’s safety and welfare are at stake? We go nuts about other things that threaten our kids, like lead poisoning, measles vaccines and car safety seats, yet we do nothing about cyberbullying that also threatens the lives of our children through suicide. So why are we burying our head in the sand? I’m with Kurt on this, ZERO TOLERANCE. Let’s call them all out on this. The quicker we all do this, the quicker these gutless cowards will wake up to the consequences of their reprehensible and disgusting online comments. We may not be able to change what goes on in their pea sized brains, but we can sure make them think twice about throwing out sexually explicit and demeaning comments to innocent young women online. Yes I got carried away on this, but I’m a concerned dad with three daughters of my own and a physician to boot. Are you with me?

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 8, 2015 / 7:50 pm

      My dad was actually watching CNN (or some other news channel) this afternoon and Kurt Shilling was on! I was wondering if someone would bring this up, and I agreed with his take as well as yours. Publicly calling out bullies can be a great tool to helping stop them.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. mwiedmeyer March 8, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    Cyber bullying is an even worse form of the type of bullying that takes place in school yards. The anonymity offered by the internet only makes normal bullies worse; there aren’t any negative repercussions or punishments for anonymous bullying unless it’s a very serious case involving death or injury. People see themselves as invincible when no one knows who they are. All of these anti-bullying campaigns recently instituted in schools have no effect when the bullying is virtual.
    Another facet of internet anonymity relates to age. Generally, bullies stop bullying when they become adults. It’s no longer seen as cool. Unfortunately, when someone’s identity is completely unavailable as it is online, age is no longer a factor. So now, not only do we have school aged children bullying each other, we have adults who bully as well.
    I’m sure that the anonymous nature of the internet exacerbates bullying. There’s no denying that. The problem is, eliminating anonymity online is impossible. There will always be websites like 4chan that exist on a completely anonymous basis, and people will go there with negative intent. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is inherent in humans, and where there is no accountability, there will be cyber bullying.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. galaradi March 8, 2015 / 3:58 pm

    Cyber bullying is a serious issue that concerns me for this generation. More and more kids have access to social media sites, and have been getting cell phones at a young age. Of course this will have negative consequences. Sometimes children can’t handle the responsibility of this online freedom they have. They can do whatever they want, search for anything, and talk to anyone. Lives can be taken and altered because of this.

    The parents have a huge role in raising their children the right way. Kids should have limited, controlled, and monitored online time. Giving children too much freedom can be extremely dangerous. Parents need to teach their kids their responsibility and the way they affect other kids by their words online. There needs to be a growing sense of awareness to parents, that their child is capable of harassing someone just for fun. They think it’s all fun and games. I don’t think the solution is making users less anonymous. People would find a way around that. I think parents have a greater responsibility in raising their children right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 8, 2015 / 8:07 pm

      I remember when Comcast (and other cable providers) first were able to put “child lock” on their T.V.’s, so kids could only watch certain channels. I think something similar for kids on the internet could be very useful, where they could only use the internet to play games, search educational websites, etc. Perhaps this would decrease bullying online.

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  16. jaemillz411 March 8, 2015 / 4:47 pm

    Some possible long-term effects of trolling/cyber bullying are depression, anxiety, suicide, trust issues, and potentially becoming a bully. Like you explained in the article, it is a circle. According to the article, The Trolls Among Us, trolling is a “subculture that is built on deception and delights in playing with the media”. However, trolls are not just playing with media, they are playing with people’s lives.

    I do not know if their computer screen is deluding them into thinking that trolling is a game, but it is not. These are real people with feelings that are being hurt. And enjoyment from inflicting pain is sickening. People affected by trolling probably have an altered view of the Internet; they could see it as the enemy, especially if no one holds the trolls accountable.

    For example, in the article about exes who post revenge post that can harm future job offers. Her livelihood is forever hindered because you were mad at how the relationship ended. People have to be extremely cautious about what they do in both public and private spheres of their lives because it can end up on the Internet. I do not know if it is possible to stop anonymity online because there is always a way to lie about who you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 8, 2015 / 8:00 pm

      One thing I haven’t considered is that maybe trollers and cyber bullies don’t realize how much harm they are doing. Some obviously enjoy making others upset online, but perhaps others don’t realize the kind of pain they put other kids in.

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  17. bubbastinx March 8, 2015 / 7:41 pm

    I honestly don’t know what the long term effects of cyber bullying are. I often times ponder this thing myself when I hear stories about someone who has committed suicide. Then I wonder if this person was bullied in person would they still continue out the act. Then I wonder if not being bullied would something else within their life be the catalyst for them to end their life prematurely.

    Anyhow, those were all thoughts, but I do know one thing for sure. Is that words hurt. Negative Images destroy people. I wish that we had more articles that maybe tied racism and cyber bullying together?

    Anyhow great article…

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  18. spgregor March 8, 2015 / 8:29 pm

    To me, the effects of any type of bullying are found in an individual’s personality. Those who are treated poorly will likely treat others poorly. Most people get upset with the world for treating them badly and therefore in turn treat the rest of the world badly. This can lead to generations of unhappy, hate-filled people who thrive on making others just as miserable as they are. If people ignored trolling and learned to move past these types of issues, then there would not be such an apparent problem.

    I strongly agree with the statement that if online anonymity were to cease, that the number of trolls would drop drastically. The majority of trolls hide behind a username and a medium to wreak havoc. The internet, in my opinion, will always have anonymity. We can make new social media sites and display more information, but lying is a part of human nature therefore will always occur. Quite honestly, trolling would be very difficult to stop entirely, and anonymity is only a small piece of the pie. People will find some new way to troll because they just have the urge to, and I don’t believe that any single modification to the internet can result in a drastic change of social behavior. It is up to us as a society to change and not allow it to be acceptable on any level.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. sneff16 March 8, 2015 / 8:46 pm

    What do you think the possible long term effects of trolling and cyber bullying could be on individual kids? The long term effects of trolling and cyber bulling could be low self esteem, depression, and possibly suicide. When kids get made fun of and bullied, they often think their whole life will always be terrible and can easily become withdrawn and depressed. Teens and adolescents often have a hard time realizing that there is life beyond middle school and high school. Making users less anonymous would help eliminate a good chunk of trolls and cyber bullies, however, I am not sure that will ever happen. I don’t think it’s possible to decrease anonymity because you can always create a fake profile. In order to make users less anonymous the government would have to create a law and it would have to be followed. The internet is too vast and too many people are good at hacking it the computer world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 8, 2015 / 10:52 pm

      I agree, I remember when I was a teen, I used to think the world revolved around me, and that everyone was always watching what happened to me. In reality, teens need to learn that the world is a huge place, and that something that happens to them in middle school (whether online or in real life) will not carry with them for the rest of their lives.

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  20. kevinpayton1 March 8, 2015 / 9:29 pm

    I believe there could be long-term effects on trolling and cyber bullying. When a child has their confidence attacked in such a manner it definitely will take a toll on their self-esteem. Lack of self-esteem can lead to more serious mental issues such as depression. There are those few kids who either is resilient and bounce back quickly from these encounters and there are those who have a solid support network to guide them through those times. But many times these kids take these feelings into adulthood where they may either find themselves reserved from taking part in social activities. And everyone has heard the story of the cop who used to get bullied as a child so now he takes it out on everybody. And yes he does exist; I have seen him in action. I don’t think that taking away anonymity would be a good idea, because then you began to start chopping away at the foundations of what the Internet is. It would be taking the stance on create more laws to solve a moral problem. The answer lies within users as a whole to become more active in counteracting this behavior. The theory of turning a blind eye is similar to the white person who didn’t agree with racism but would not speak out. Things only began to change when people as a whole saw the atrocities of minorities and decided to demand change. There is always away a technical way to combat something that was created and delivered online. When this technology is made readily available to the millions of social media sites, there will definitely be a decrease in the number of trolls and cyber bullies.

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  21. Ms.McCollum March 8, 2015 / 9:56 pm

    Cyberbullying and trolling are two of the same. We read an article that differentiated the two but all I see is a bully behind the screen. Of course anonymity does motivate the bully.

    As well as depression among children and anxiety I think the first thing to set in is a loss of confidence. When all eyes are on you it may be reaction to hide. If someone were highly active on social media they may stop after just one harsh comment. The post may be removed out of humiliation and then it could trigger more ridicule.

    I think that if more people called out cyberbullying the tides would be turned. I’ve thought there could be similar effects to the bully if people do this as the effects on the bullied; I think it could be effective. Things can become taboo faster with the internet and social movements spread fast. People do not like to be called out and if it happened more and people take time to care then it might help decrease bullying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 March 8, 2015 / 10:54 pm

      That is an interesting first line. I focused on trying to separate bullies and trolls, but at the end of they day they really do want the same things: attention, and to hurt others/make others feel bad.

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  22. thegradytrain March 8, 2015 / 10:06 pm

    As a whole, I think the effects of trolling and cyberbullying can be minimal if the perpetrators are ignored and responsible moderators are notified. Just the other day I got a notification that noted that a site I use frequently enough is now employing a system to handle cyberbullying on an individual level, you just have to send a report and a moderator will then address the issue. The problem is when the case is on a local level. On a local level, the effects can be much worse and harder to deal with.

    My thing with cyberbullying is that it is not inherently different from bullying in real life. So in order to handle cyberbullying I believe a similar approach to handling regular bullying is in order. Of course an approach like this to cyberbullying is only as successful as solutions to regular bullying, which is seemingly hit or miss. I know taking away anonymity is not a good plan to deal with cyberbullying, this is because it opens up a whole mess of issues. Everyone deserves privacy on the internet, even if they are bullies. It is possible to lock accounts on an IP basis or by machine basis, that is, the account and the devices it is accessed from are locked out of access for however long is judged by administrators.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. elrader2015 March 8, 2015 / 11:03 pm

    Cseejay, in regards to cyberbullying, I think the long term effects on kids who fall victim to it are heavily impacting. Being bullied is bad enough, but with the internet, bullies can take it to a whole new level with bolder statements in their attacks and also have the use of photoshop and other technologies to create embarrassing memes and things of that nature. Additionally, as we’ve seen occur in the past, people often create fake profiles to bully others or even pretend to be someone they aren’t just so they can hurt a person deeper as seen in the case where the mother of a teenage girl pretended to be a boy in love with the victim and broke the girls heart online, helping to lead to her suicide. Moreover, bullying before the internet usually ended after school where kids could find peace at home, but the internet now allows for relentless bullying that can reach a person at all times. For a child being bullied, this must be extremely difficult to handle and also exhausting. As a society, if something is not done to help end this problem, there will be many kids who grow into adulthood with much emotional baggage and other issues. To help end this, I think that parents and school faculty have a huge hand in this. Parents need to teach their children the importance of acceptance and not bullying, while the faculty needs to take their “zero tolerance” bullying policies seriously. It isn’t too difficult to find the identity behind a fake profile usually, especially in the case of kids who are younger to the web. Once discovered, though it may sound harsh, after a warning, I think online bullies should be expelled if the abuse continues. Implementing harsher punishments for online bullying would help this issue a lot, especially because if a caring parent caught wind that their child is at the risk of expulsion, they would act to ensure their child straightened up. I know that this is a large issue with complexity that is hard to overcome, but together we need to help stop cyberbullying so that we aren’t creating damaged individuals. A healthy and advanced society needs healthy and stable adults to promote a positive society.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. mstor763 March 8, 2015 / 11:09 pm

    “Possible” long term effects of trolling and cyber bullying truly can be anything. We obviously see articles of children uprising from the bullying and become the “bigger persons” while we read how others commit suicide due to the effects. In my opinion, suicide is one of the ultimate costs, but I can only imagine the lasting effect of depression that is stemmed from bullying. There are people who are mentally altered due to teen bullying and live with those repercussions the rest of their lives.

    In terms of society, not really sure. If majority of kids are bullied and then live with these effects the rest of their lives, well when they becomes the dominant age group in society, we can expect some issues we never really imagined before. But as with everything else that has happened in history, we adjust.

    The anonymity issue may solve a lot of issues in my opinion. When their name is attached to something, they are now held accountable and they will think twice of what they are saying (hopefully)

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  25. hessaj March 8, 2015 / 11:55 pm

    Everyone is different. Some people can take it, some can’t take it at all. Lasting effects can surely happen, whether it’d be a week, or for the rest of that year. Sensitive topics such as gender identity is popular in cyberbullying. I’ve seen too many articles on teenagers who have committed suicide due to cyberbullying. This is the longest lasting effect possible.

    Sadly, due to how the Internet is structured with social media, forums, chat rooms, etc., there will most likely never be an end to trolling and cyberbullying as long as the choice to be anonymous is still an option. The only solution that would reduce cyberbullying is to remove the anonymity when interacting with others. Having an opinion is one thing, harassing others is another. If the trolls had to reveal their identity in order to commit these acts, it could possibly drastically cut down how much “trolling” goes around on the Internet, at least for cyberbullying.

    Like

  26. akuelbs March 9, 2015 / 2:02 pm

    Cyberbullying and trolling rates are increasing with the advancements in technology making it easier to feel anonymous on the internet. Someone who feels anonymous on the internet thinks that no one can touch you and that their power is limitless. It is like people get this sense of being invincible and being untouchable like they are on their own pedestal and looking down upon everyone else. The problem i see with trolling and cyberbullying is that people who are good at remaining anonymous will remain anonymous and will continue to cyberbully people and troll until their heart desires and no one can stop them. Two things that could help this is currently 49 states have laws against bullying, with Montana being the only one who doesn’t, but out of all of those, only 18 cover cyberbullying. We need to urge people to take action against it and get congress aware of it to pass more laws. The other way would to make people have to identify themselves to sign up for websites. The problem that creates is how are you going to require people to identify themselves on these website. That is a problem that i feel we need to solve and we can begin to make the internet a safer place.

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  27. nebior March 9, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    I was cyber bullied as a child while playing online video games. I personally feel that the experience has made me stronger. I learned to not let other people’s hate affect me. I strongly support online anonymity because there are many positives that come along with the negatives of bullying and trolling. If someone wanted to talk about being homosexual or about an embarrassing rash that they have on their butt or any other scenario that may be difficult to talk to people about in real life then those people can get help, anonymously, online. The internet can be a safe haven for people looking for help that are too afraid to ask anyone they know in real life. Being able to get these answers can greatly improve a person’s quality of life. Bullying happens on and offline, but getting answers to these questions does not always happen offline. Those people may never even ask their questions, let alone get unbiased answers. Cyberbullying and trolling are far easier than bullying in real life and tend to be more severe than real life bullying, but I feel that they are necessary evils. As time passes, new ideas will arise to prevent online bullying just as preventions arose for real life bullying. Online bullying is still new and it will take some time to lessen the effects of it.

    –Ben Walker

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