It’s time for a fresh perspective on the subject of online hate. Who are these people? Why do they do it? How does it feel to be on the receiving end? And moreover, what can we do to change their ways? First, let’s start with this: picture an online troll. What do you see? A lonely person sat alone in the dark, their laptop screen casting a sad white light across their bitter face as they aggressively type “YOU UGLY FAT BITCH” under the photo of someone they’ve never even met?
It Could Be Anyone
Whilst this may be true for some ‘keyboard warriors’/’online trolls’/’haters’, it is also a hyperbolised image that has been popularised to make their victims feel somewhat better about the hate they are facing. The fact of the matter is that not all haters are lonely people sat in their bedroom, with Dorito crumbs jumping around their keyboard as they slam their fingers into its letters. More likely, it is that girl you stood behind in the queue for your coffee this morning, that boy running on the treadmill next to you, the friend you went clubbing with last weekend. It sounds scary but think about it – there are truly too many negative comments floating out there on the online sphere for them all to be coming from a few select dark and lonely bedrooms.
The Rise of Trolls
Unfortunately, social media has made it even easier for us to quantify not only our beauty, but our popularity – both of which can be a root of jealousy. Whilst we’re protected by our glass screens, it’s easier to direct that hate towards the subject of your jealousy. This can be in the form of of hate comments, fake accounts, mean DMs etc. and this is showing no sign of stopping.
Let’s switch this around quickly. Imagine you just posted a photo on Instagram, you liked it, felt good wearing that outfit and sent it to three of your closest friends for approval before you posted it. You came up with the perfect edit and caption. You post it and continue with your day. Later, when you go to check the comments, one in particular catches your eye; “KILL YOURSELF”. Stunned, you go to click on their profile, the words ‘follow back’ appear at the top of your screen, coupled with a blank profile picture and a bio in a language you don’t understand. You press block, you go back and delete the comment and lock your phone. You sit there and reassure yourself that it’s just a weirdo sat alone in their dark room; insecure, angry and bored. You get up and continue with your day, a vague voice in the back of your head questioning what about that photo had offended someone so much that they went out of their way to wish you would end your life. The answer never comes.
It’s Time For Some Perspective
To all the people out there leaving negative comments under a person’s photo, please imagine the above scenario next time you do and realise that it is so much easier and faster to simply scroll across a photo of someone you don’t like, rather than type out a toxic message in the hopes that they’ll read it. If something someone does offends you, or draws out your insecurities, unfollow them regardless of who they are – your best friend or that insta model with the perfect life. YOU are choosing to expose yourself to them, and it’s up to YOU to remove that source of anger from your life before you turn into that person creating fake accounts designed to make them feel the same anger you do. Two angry people is in no way better than one or even none. The world has enough upset in it without you adding to it.
Advice For The Victims
Learn to make the block button your favourite friend. Do not reply them as you’ll be showing that they’ve made enough of an impact on you to pick up your phone and waste your own energy on them. Do not name and shame them publicly by screenshotting their comment and sharing it to your public profile. This won’t stop them creating a new fake account and giving them more of a reason to hate you. Just block them as soon as you see their comment – without giving them any of the attention they so clearly need.
Karma is a Bitch
Finally, please also understand that with every ounce of hate you project out into the universe, it will come back to you tenfold and honestly, can you afford that when you can’t even afford to put the lights on in your room? Doubt it.
So what did you think? Have you ever faced online hate, or are you a hater without even realising it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and make sure to subscribe to get all my blog posts direct to your email!