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Internet: Democratizing Utopia or Cesspool for Trolls? –part 1

PART 1 IN A SERIES: While the original ideal of the internet was a space for unregulated democracy-encouraging dialogue, it has devolved to a place where trolls get thrills by abusing people, while hiding behind screen names. When MBU Timeline’s staff writers read the Time magazine article Tyranny of the Mob by Joel Stein, they decided to blog about their thoughts and feelings regarding internet trolls. 

Cyber-bully Graphic by Matt Williams

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Trolls do Exist and Almost Everyone Has Seen One

JULIA PROVINCE

Before the rise of the internet, trolls were relegated to living under bridges in fairy tales, left to terrorize fictional princesses and knights.

Today, a different kind of troll lurks in cyberspace, and no one is immune.

An internet troll is no mythical creature but a very real person who attempts to incite fear, anger or humiliation via social media and other avenues online.

Virtually everyone who has paid the internet more than a cursory glance has either come across a troll while scrolling through comments, or has been the direct target of a troll themselves.

But just as trolls were a fixture of fairy tales, so are trolls to the internet.

Among 18- to 24-year-olds, a majority of 70 percent reported having fallen victim to an internet troll, according to one Pew Research Center survey.

Anonymity and the free-and-instant exchange of information which make the internet great, are also factors that allow for and encourage trolls.

Take away those factors and the trolls will disappear, but so will the vast utility and freedom of the internet.

Trolls will always be a present part of online interaction, but the less attention they receive the less they will infringe on productive connection online.

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Don’t Take it Too Hard, Trolls are Gonna Troll

BRITTANY GAMMON

Where do we draw the line with internet trolling?

Do we disable comments on Instagram, make private accounts or put up with it?

When is enough, enough?

“Full House” star Candace Cameron Bure has 1.9 million followers.

Bure posts daily and receives an average of 50,000 likes on her posts.

Her feed consists of posts about workouts, filming “Fuller House” and life with her family.

On one post Bure responded to a troll.

“@ezraquinn44 Before I block you, I just want you to realize how incredibly rude and disrespectful you are being to me and my daughter. Your speech is gross, unkind and a downright lie. Shame on you,” said Bure. Then she blocked the troller.

In the years of “finding ourselves” the Millennial generation has been bombarded with trolls.

It may be a comment on Instagram or Facebook. For some it may be a Snapchat.

The medium doesn’t matter.

Trolls will troll.

The comments are rude and inappropriate. Do you allow them to deteriorate you?

In my opinion, let people say what they want. Let them slam you and undermine you.

One person’s opinion doesn’t change who you are.

Thousands of people may hate you, but if you’re living for God, it matters nothing what they think. As Christians, we will always have people against us.

Let them be against us because that means we are going against the grain of the world. We are only responsible for our actions.

Yes, I have been trolled and yes, it does hurt.

At some point, however you must move on. Don’t read them. Don’t let the words tear you down.

You are you.

You have a purpose.

As a recent New York Times article alluded, adults are experiencing trolling as well. They seem to be more aggressive in their retaliation.

Why are they suddenly taken aback by the crude, profane world we live in?

Deal with it, but don’t snap back.

Maybe it is because they grew up without it in the digital world.

Don’t use empty words to harass others.

Grow up and be a kind human.

It is overused but, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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Trolls are Monsters, Whether in a Story or On a Website

ASHLEY VAN CAMP

The Google definition of “troll” is, “a mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.”

Trolls today take on a whole new meaning and their ugliness is in their attitude. Time magazine expressed how internet trolls are more like “monsters who hide in darkness and threaten people,” and are only doing it for a good laugh.

A good laugh for something that’s not so funny. Trolls will revert to clever pranks, harassment, violent threats, and doxxing.

Just like people, the internet has different types of personalities.

According to Tyranny of the Mob, a Time magazine article from Aug. 29, the internet was “once a geek with lofty ideals about the free flow of information. Now the web is a sociopath,” and I could not agree more.

A sociopath with trolls running it, tearing down anyone and everyone.

Even those who are celebrities are not safe.

“Ghostbusters” co-star, Leslie Jones, who has experienced being trolled, says “it’s not done to express an opinion, it’s done to scare you.”

Maybe it is a good thing mythical, cave-dwelling trolls are not running around, tormenting people.

It might be a relief to some that today’s trolls are just people behind a computer screen, but regardless of the type of troll you’re talking about, they’re both considered monsters and capable of causing crippling damage.

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