There was an article in the Independent recently highlighting the effect of cyber bullying and trolling on Paris Jackson.
This is not an isolated incident, as many celebrities have had experiences of cyber bullying or being trolled.
Why We Troll
I recently undertook a study on our behaviour online and why some of us troll. Anonymity was discussed but many saw the need to elicit their trolling behaviour on others. This allowed trolls to get their frustrations out into the world. Trolling not only the artist but their online social circle.
It seems that the trolls are trying to elicit a response, to “knock ’em down a peg or two” in order to claim some sort of power or interaction with that celebrity.
Many justify their cyberbullying or trolling behaviour with the saying, ‘sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me’. Is this actually true or is it simply justification for their abrasive aggressive behaviour?
Well, those words have caused so much pain for Paris Jackson that she has tried to end her life. Maybe words have more bearing on our happiness than many will let themselves believe.
Many of us do it even if it is alien from our offline persona. The suicide of The Troll That Got Caught, Brenda Leyland, exemplifies just how different our online behaviour can be to our offline persona. So much so, for Brenda Leyland, she made the decision to take her own life rather than face up to the reality of her online behaviour.
Sticks and stone may break your bones, but in our information age, words can be just as harmful.