Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Troll: Hiding In the Screen

Trolling has been an issue in society for hundreds of years, but the Internet has made it an even more complicated issue. The Internet in many was has easily allowed us to manipulate the way we present ourselves to one another. Sites like Facebook, MySpace, MOCOSpace, YouTube, Twitter, etc. have made internet trolling more common and sometimes difficult to pick out who is real and who is not. These sites ask for age, gender, location, and birthday, basically personal information that can easily be changed in the cyber world.

Many people lie about these things which can cause problems or no problems at all. A lot of the time people find it easier to lie and be a different person on the internet. Many people portray someone they wish to be or be someone or say they do something they always wanted to do. The internet makes this a simple task to become someone else. You never know who could be watching you if you don’t know really know that person, and sometimes even if you do, they may not be who you think they are.

According to Julie Zhou, “Trolling, defined as the act of posting inflammatory, derogatory or provocative messages in public forums, is a problem as old as the Internet itself, although its roots go much farther back. Even in the fourth century B.C., Plato touched upon the subject of anonymity and morality in his parable of the ring of Gyges.” Nowadays the internet has helped diminish the morality and increase the anonymity of these online trolls, nonetheless it is still an issue in today’s society as it was in the time of Plato.

To me, trolling is someone who is portraying to be someone else and basically being an internet bully. Trolls like to lash out at innocent victims in a result of their own frustration.

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of being anonymous online? Some advantages are the fact that remaining anonymous gives people the courage to say things that they never would be able to say in person. The screen is a safety net. Maybe they don’t feel confident to say things in person because they are scared of the reaction of others. This is why it can be an advantage to being anonymous. Sometimes being anonymous is good, and other times it can have a negative effect. After reviewing one of the YouTube videos, the comments really showed that this is true concept.

To my knowledge the commenters did not care what they said to the videos, or articles that I reviewed. Some comments were mean and negative in content while others provide positive feedback to the authors.

The web has produced the phenomenon of ‘trolling’ because it is easier to be someone different and do and say things through a screen where their real identities can be protected. Being behind a screen brings out the people that like to be instigators and purposely say things that they know will cause a dispute between other people on the website.

It’s hard to tell when we are being deceived online because it’s so simple to make fake accounts using Google pictures and other forms of fabrication. We have to be safe on who we choose to be our friends on the sites and so forth because it’s not the troll who is affected, it is the people that he manipulates. These trolls chose their victims and harass them in their own amusement. This is why we have to be cautious on our actions and recognize signs of danger.

So how do we take control of internet trolling and its negative effects? You have to be smarter than them. Recognize how they work and catch them and prevent them from doing wrong before they do it, whether it is to you or someone else. Don’t let these trolls trick you in their ways. Stay alert and always be sure you know what or who you’re dealing with.

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