The internet, particularly social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, has created new ways for its users to socialise, interact and stay connected with one another. With the popularity of the internet at an all-time high, an explosion of content is being published online for others to view, like, share and comment. Instead of respecting each others views, there are people out there who engage in hate crusades just for the fun of it without considering the potential effects it may have on the victim.
Believe it or not, trolls were once fairytale creatures known for dwelling under bridges and occasionally scared goats. Nowadays, trolls are defined as anti-social individuals who cause interpersonal conflict and shock-value controversy online. Trolling, a form of cyber bullying, spreads hatred, racist, misogynist and vulgar comments online, particularly on blog sites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, discussion forums and online chats.
Disturbingly, it seems that it’s women who are being targeted by these so called trolls. Sexual insults posted online often reflect attempts to “put women in their place”, the same way verbal and sexual abuse attempts to keep women fearful in the domestic sphere. If women aren’t afraid to leave their front door, why should online threats and abuse stop women from posting their opinion online?
In 2012, Amanda Todd posted a 9 minute video onto YouTube describing her experiences of bullying, depression, blackmail and assault. A month after posting the video, Amanda Todd had committed suicide which received widespread and international media coverage. Numerous Facebook pages were set up in her honor, but instead of posting sympathetic messages, the pages were targeted by nasty and hurtful messages from people who intended to bully her after her death. Anonymity online is one of the greatest problems with social media and the internet in general as it has become the key to cyber bullying. People are hiding behind their computers and saying whatever they want without any consequences.