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It’s About Time We Stop Giving Trolls The Attention They Crave

Like many others, I too engage in social networking on a daily basis and enjoy as well as find it useful professionally and personally. But I have quite often witnessed many a people being ‘trolled’ and given death threats on various networking sites. I have also been subject to malignant abuse, both from strangers on Twitter to people whom I know are meek and just as abusive in person as they are online.

Let us define what a keyboard warrior actually is. The term is the combination of the word ‘keyboard’ i.e. the main tool with which the person expresses their passive rage and ‘warrior’ due to their tendency towards brute forces as a means of resolving a conflict. These people seem to be almost everywhere these days. Although it makes sense why you’ll only find such people online, as anyone can seem tough while hiding behind a computer screen. You’ll mostly find two kinds of keyboard warriors; those who start random fights for attention, and those who are addressing real-life conflicts because they do not have the courage to do so face-to-face. Neither is right nor admirable.

The point is, a keyboard warrior, encouraged in the safety of their bedroom and away from any harm, is someone who feels the need to post unnecessary rubbish on social media when they probably won’t even be able to say that on someone’s face. Not only do people appear to adopt an online persona which simply does not sit with the person behind the username, but some of these trolls and the waves of hatred that they spew, if left unchecked, can convert into an ocean of abuse which is beyond acceptable, either legally or morally.

The second type of keyboard warriors use social media as a platform to address real issues, but isn’t it more effective if they don’t just address these issues but act upon them as well? And most of the time, their opinions only trigger a certain target and have nothing to do with the problem itself. The age of the information era and the expansion of social media has undoubtedly enhanced the freedom of speech. But these people use this freedom and spew hatred instead, causing further disturbance through their abusive behavior. People often forget to draw the line between free and hate speech. To me, hate speech is defined by a person’s disregard for the respect of another through an attack on their gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnic origin or disability. Does the person blatantly call for prejudice and violence against another? Is their argument based on either assumptions or deliberate lies? If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, then it is safe to assume that this person is using hate speech to relay the message. And if you feel like you’re one of them, it’s time to stop.

This is where the question arises, how can you avoid them?

If you’re being attacked, try not to respond. Sometimes a reaction is exactly what these warriors are looking for. Try to save the evidence if things start getting out of hand so that you can find help if need be. You can also block the person, as it would save you from a lot of trouble. Give yourself time to come up with a reasonable response and try not to take it personally. And lastly, if someone you know is being bullied, take action. If you can’t stop it, support the person being attacked.

Most of us feel guilty when inflicting pain and spewing hatred, but sadistic people actually enjoy making others suffer. Once you start engaging with the haters, you’re actually letting them win. So the next time you feel like you’re being attacked, try not to reply to them, as the more you do, the harsher their comments get.

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