Internet Trolling_ MGP

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Dangers of the Internet and advice for those who suffer/want to prevent ever suffering from bullying, i.e., cyberbullying. Besides the text, there are interesting pictures as well as a vocabulary box and a few smallish exercises

Text of Internet Trolling_ MGP

  • Trial bytorment-There's a disturbing newkind of bullying on theInternet called 'trolling'.What is it and who a-:e thevictims - and the trolls?

    t:oJust how destructive is internet

    trolling? A 15-year-old Britishteenager, Tom Mullaney, kiJIedhimself in 2010 after a bullyingcampaign on Facebook. "TheInternet should be able to stop thetrolls," said his grieving fatherRobert.

    Ali of which raises a verydisturbing question: "What has theInternet done to us?" asks writerTim Rayment in The Times.

    Like thousands of others, fromordinary teens to world-famous celebrities, BritishOlympic champion swimmerRebecca Adlington is no strangerto internet abuse. The 23-year-oldrecently admitted she received aTwitter message (a Tweet) calJingher a 'whale' with a 'shark fin nose'- and which included obscenitles",

    "It's awful," says Adlington."They are to do with how I look,

    which has nothing to do with myperformance in the pool" And lastspring, British pop singer AlexandraBurke asked for police protectionafter a Twitter troll taunted" her withmessages like: "I'm coming, and 1'11murder you!"

    American singer MiJey Cyrushas also received death threats andslurs" on her Twitter account. Sheurged Twitter to monitor her site andan army of fans carne to her defence.

  • '-~ Online activities at:

    Troll threatsBy definition, says Rayment, a trollis someone who disrupts" onlinecommentary with insulting messages."But it has become shorthand" for aliforms of internet abuse," he says.

    And the BBC .eXf'lains,"Trollinghas swept across web&i.tesin recentyears. Online forums, Facebook pagesand newspaper comment forms arebombarded" with insults ar threats.Supparters argue it's about humour,mischief and freedom of speech. But formany, the personal nature of the abuseverges" on hate speech."

    And if 100 other people join in, eachone might be showing off to the rest ofthe group, he adds. "Each person makesonly a few posts, or even one. But theeffect is bullying."

    Troll traitsMany psychologists think that strongfeelings of anger and a sense ofhelplessness about one's own life are thekey traits" of a cyber-troll. It's much saferto vente one's anger on a stranger thanto express it to a friend, parent or teacher- where one faces the risk of personalpunishment.

    " What has the Internet done to us?"Why do trolls think they can threaten

    others so freely? Rayment thinks it'sbecause new technology is often soimpersonal. "We don't see the effects ofwhat we say. Because Tweeting is instant,we don't always stop to think." Raymentcites the threatening force of a Twittermessage: "If you compress" anger into140 characters, the format of a Tweet, itgains power from such short powerfullanguage."

    "You can vent your spleen" onsomebody who is not the real target,"says psychologist Cary Cooper atLancaster University. "I'm stunned"by some of the things people say onTwitter. When you're eyeball to eyeba11with somebody, yOli don't hurt them thesame." Adds Rayment: "There is no riskof a punch through a computer screen."

    But technology specialists point outthat there's often a fine line between


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    I REAllIY _ :

    I(i\) On CU and ONLlNE! AUDlO TRACK 4: Listen to Paige Chandler,~a victim 01 cyber-bullying

    "I was bullied ali my life, and I know howalone people feel when they're bullied. I wascalled names on websites and people wroteanonymous comments about me. It was horrible.I never wanted to go to school and I wouldn't goonline because I knew I would have to face it alI.

    I let my school know and showed them theevidence, because I kept ali the chat-Iogs. Andthey spoke to the bullies. As an online cyber-mentor, my role is to give advice to teens fromdifferent countries on what to do about trollingor refer them to a special online counsellor.

    I tell them not to reply to what people aresaying, because that's actually what the bullieswant, and to keep a log of what happened, andto show it to someone in authority."

    ~ ~ someone who is simply posting rudemessages and someone who is genuinelythreatening. The Internet Relay Chatsite offers suggestions for online forumusers or teen social network pages, whichinclude these 'dos' and 'don'ts':

    DO ... TAKE A STEP BACK:Sornetimes t~e sender may just bevery frustrateitThe receiver needs toavoid getting too angry and perhapseven respond in a positive way.

    DON'T ... REPLY:Troll behaviour directed at you willusually stop if you don't give themany attention. Don't feed the troll.

    DO REPORT IT:If the abuse seems very threatening,the receiver should report the troll toa proper authority, such as the websiteowner.

    Rebecca Adlington chose 'to out'" herTwitter troll when she re-tweeted themessage for her 51,000 followers to see.But the Leeds Metropolitan Universitystudent she named has denied sendingthe message and blamed it on a friend.

    Adlington received "a stream ofsupportive Tweets from her followers,"reported The Daily Mail. One fan wrote:"Becky, ignore him, because you knowhow talented you are." Still, the championswimmer refused to go online during thissummer's Olympic Games.

    Much more serious, reports TimRayment in The Times, is the case of trollSean Duffy, 26: "He lived a 'miserable life'at home drinking alcohol alone at hishouse in Reading." Duffy made spoof"

    10 November / Decernber 2012 CURRENT

    videos and posted online messages onwebpages in remembrance of teenage girlswho had died. In September 2011 he wassentenced to 18 weeks in jail.

    The British legal system is gettingtougher on trolls. But as media lawyerAthalie Matthews says, "Social networkingsites have to take strong measures toenforce their terms cind conditions, to banpeople and throw them off."

    Meanwhile, researchers at theUniversity of Central Lancashire aredeveloping a system to help identify trolls,the BBC reports: "Linguistic" expertsare working with police and children'sagencies to develop an automated" systemto recognise language patterns. Theaim is to track people who post abusivemessages." ~

    But given the vast" and impersonalInternet, policing it seems nearlyimpossible, and many wonder if trollinghas simply become a fact of high-tech life.

    WORDSMARTWhat's the difference? Can vouexplain the difference in meaningbetween these words from the text?

    1 insulting threatening

    2 to follow to stalk

    3 impersonal anonymous

    Answers ~ Page 23

    *WORDWISEtorment (n): great pain, distress or worryobscenity (n): something indecent oroffensiveto taunt (v): to provoke or ridicule someoneslur (n): aninsultgrieving (adj): the leeling 01deep pain andlossto disrupt (v): to interrupt and often upsetsomethingshorthand (n): a quick way 01expressingsomethingto bombard (v): to overwhelm with a greatamount 01 somethingto verge on (v): to border on or reach thepoint 01 somethingto compress (v): to shrink or presstogether in order to shortentrait (n): unique characteristicto vent (v): to let out or release an emotionlike anger in wordsto vent your spleen (v, phr): to expressyour anger; the spleen is a body organ thatremoves dead red cells Irom the bloodstunned (adj): shockedswearing (n): using offensive wordsspoof (adj): a comic version of somethingto out (v, inf): to expose someone bynaming themlinguistic (adj): relating to the study 01languageautomated (adj): something that instantlyhappensvast (adj): huge

    Now go to page 22 fora language activity

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