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How Online Trolling Affects Your Health

Technology has benefited our lives in many ways, but it has also made it easier for bullies (or trolls) to cause misery online, thanks to the anonymity that the internet gives them. Trolling has become so common that most people have probably seen or experienced insults or name-calling from these bullies.

ABC Net notes that an online poll indicated that more than a quarter of Americans have admitted to having “engaged in trolling at some point.” Trolling is made even more complicated by the fact that many individuals who are trolled are not able to identify who the sender is.

Whether it’s a comment on social media, an in-game message, or a post on an article, these actions can be severe and damaging, causing people to become deeply distressed. It can result in an individual’s decision to quit social media as Ed Sheeran did because of trolls. “One comment ruins your day,” he told The Sun. Such comments can also affect an individual's mental health causing symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is the desired effect, because “no consideration is given to the victims by the people who troll online,” Bullies Out reports. Many individuals feel isolated by trolling and are reluctant to tell anyone they’ve been receiving these messages.

Being bullied can have a severe effect on an individual’s “physical, emotional, academic, and social well-being,” Bullies Out reports. “Many sufferers of bullying lack confidence, feel bad about themselves, have few friends, and spend a lot of time alone.” The results can be devastating, sometimes driving people to self-harm.

As for what causes a person to engage in trolling? According to ABC Net, trolls are motivated by "atypical social rewards.” They also tend to be male and have higher levels of sadism traits and psychopathy traits.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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