If you’ve ever been the victim of persistent online trolling, then you know exactly how discombobulating it can feel. You might feel mixed emotions that range from confusion and anger to anxiety and sadness. And you wouldn’t be alone.
Research has shown that roughly four in 10 Americans have personally experienced online harassment and that 62 percent consider it to be a major problem.
You might ask: What causes trolling and what can I do about it? Well, before we can get to the psychology, we have to get our definitions in order.
Different aspects of the trolling phenomenon have gone by many names: trolling, harassment, cyberbullying, flaming, sh*t-posting, etc. While these terms are not exactly the same, they do have a common theme: they all describe bad-faith, unwelcoming behavior that occurs online to disrupt conversations, often by parachuting into discussions uninvited.
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