I’ve got some great only tips aimed at kids, but they work just as well for adults. This checklist comes from the folks behind Firefox. The goal is to avoid being an online troll or becoming the victim of an online troll.
A troll is a person who posts insulting, inflammatory, unnecessary, off-topic, and often cruel comments on social media, in articles, or in online groups. You’ve seen them, those individuals who can turn a post about baking into a political rant? People who feel the need to say hateful things about someone’s appearance instead of just scrolling on by.
Here are some ways kids (and adults) can avoid becoming a troll.
Rule #1 – Positive comments only! You’ve heard that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I always like the quote that it costs nothing to be kind and even less to shut up all together.
You don’t have to complain about a movie or a song, or a book. You don’t have to say something is stupid or ugly. It’s okay to have an inside thought. People sometimes forget that there are actual human beings involved when they post things online. Kids and adults would do well to try the positive comments rule.
Rule #2 – People can see your pictures. When you post something publicly online, people can see it. They can screenshot it, they can copy it… they can misappropriate it to use as their profile picture. Think about what you post. That means you!
Rule #3 – Block aggressive trolls. You don’t need to respond to unkind people or troublemakers. Just dismiss them. While giving them a long argument may feel necessary, the best way to get on with your life is to leave them behind.
Rule #4 – Report bullies! Kids should let adults, teachers, principals, and others in authority know about online bullying. Adults should report incidents that cross the line to social media platforms and even the police if an actual threat is made.