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5 Top Tips for Dealing with Online Abuse and Trolls

1. Don’t feed the Trolls;
In essence what this means, is don’t respond. Trolls and those that chose to be abusive do it to get a response, so don’t give them one.
You will rarely if ever persuade them of the error of their ways, nor will you win the argument and are unlikely to leave feeling better. They often have a small following, so by responding, sharing etc you are exposing them to a far wider audience and to some degree legitimising their views.

2. Secure a copy!
Quite often, the troll with delete their abusive comment. If that is on Twitter as an example, it is lost for ever and there in effect no evidence of its existence nor of whom send it. Taking a photo, screen saving etc all secure that message as evidence and if reported can help to identify the sender.

3. Report it!
If a message is abusive, threatening or offensive, report it via the platforms reporting system, and also report it to the Police. It is very often the context of the message that causes it to become so offensive, the legal term is grossly offensive. If this applies, you will need to articulate why it causes you such offence, what is it about this message that is so harmful. Describe the context and provide the platform of police with as much details as possible to ensure they can see it from your perspective.

4. Me mindful what you post!
We’ve all been it a situation where we have been incensed by something someone said or a comment or argument on the internet. Pause, take a breath and resist responding, possibly inflaming the situation or saying something that you may regret.

5. It is rarely personal, but seek help where appropriate
Ordinarily the message, whilst hurtful, it isn’t personal. The troll almost certainly doesn’t know you. However, if it does become harmful and you feel down, talk to a friend of family. If necessary, seek expert advice. One of the reasons that Defuse Global has psychological support as one of its key services, is because I have witnessed the deeply traumatic effect that online abuse can have. If you need to take a break from the online world, do so.

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