Let’s face it, some people are just mean, some are just outright cruel. Some of those same people, also known as trolls, like to spread their hatred, by destroying the reputations of people and products. They’ve found a new place to spread their special brand of hate; the internet.

Internet trolls have no boundaries; no one is safe from their antics. Trolls start fights with whoever will fall victim to them. They even torment people with illnesses, and people struggling with a loss. Forums are their favorite places, this is where they interrupt the conversation by ridiculing others and throwing mean off-topic comments into the conversation.

Every minute of the day a troll is making someone miserable. These trolls can be anyone, of any age or gender. From teens to seniors, trolls are able to have anonymity to hide their true identities while showing the ugliness in their hearts. They take cyber bullying to a new level are usually tech savvy.

Chances are if you’ve spent any time online, you’ve encountered a troll. There is always a reasonable person trying to make them see the error in their ways. Don’t be that person; it’s a waste of time and will get you nowhere and will only fuel their fire. Without an audience and public platform, trolls have no outlet. Unfortunately, this means you can find trolls in the following place; news sites, blogs, games, social networks, forums…you get the picture. They thrive on kids and teens because they are particularly vulnerable.

Trolls are everywhere online and you might very well be a target to one, at one point or another. Once you are online you have no control over this. You can decide whether you will be a victim or not. A troll’s objective is to humiliate and demean their target. You have the choice to take it personally or recognize that you have options moving forward. Depending on the platform there are several ways to shut a troll down without taking any emotional abuse.

When dealing with trolls on a public site, remember that the other participants can see the troll’s attacks. Call them out on their behavior, don’t ignore them because this gives them the power to silence you. When you call out their behavior be sure not to stoop to their level, instead try something along the lines of “Hey guys, looks like we have a troll on our hands. Let’s not let them derail our meaningful discussion with their unproductive comments.”

Another reason for calling out trolls is that there are always more where they came from. Calling them out early, let’s the others know that their hateful and disruptive behavior will not be tolerated in your space. You can also alert the sites moderator or use the “report abuse” button, which can usually be found directly on the discussion page. Discuss the abuse with people offline who love and support you, and can reassure you that these comments are just a bully being a bully.

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