Why Do People Post Offensive Comments Online?

There’s an estimated total of 44 million social media users in the United Kingdom at Statistica’s last count, which was in early 2018.

That’s 66 per cent of us who are selfie-ing, Story-ing and Snapchatting every day, and while many would now count a scroll through Instagram as part of their everyday routine, most would also agree it’s not long before they spot a mean comment left by a stranger, to another stranger.

The word troll became much more than a grouchy fairytale character back in 2014 when its Oxford Dictionary definition was updated to incorporate ‘a person who makes a willfully offensive or provocative online post’.

Nowadays, it’s normal for news sites to have anti trolling systems in place for their comments sections, and the likes of Chrissy Teigen, Gigi Hadid and Amy Schumer are just some of the stars that openly call out online tormentors.

The Duchess of Sussex, before she joined the royal family, even spoke out about how online negativity affected her, and TV presenter Caroline Flack suffered trolling in the months before her unfortunate death, but what is the motive behind posting these repugnant messages?

Well, research has shown that trolls tend to have an inability to form healthy relationships offline, and they’re not always the sad, bitter loners that we might expect, and not always men, female trolls are on the increase, but their relationships will certainly lack stability and they may feel that they’re not valued enough by their families or partner.

Often, they lose a feeling of responsibility and self-awareness, a process known as deindividuation, and their anonymity means that they do not need to regulate their behaviour online.

It’s comparable to the way people might behave in a raucous crowd or as a football hooligan, normal rules of social engagement are lost in the masses.

Trolling is deemed a more specific kind of behaviour. It’s people who engage in inappropriate behaviour by posting damaging content purely as it’s an end in its own right.

The reasons for this are due to various factors, including seeking entertainment value and certain personality traits such as sadism and psychopathy. And they’re driven by status. Attracting attention, hurting or upsetting people, even getting online support from other trolls, which gives them a feeling of self-worth and importance that is likely lacking in their day to day offline lives.

As for posting hurtful messages to celebrities and those in the public eye, it’s the visibility that reinforces the behaviour, and it amplifies all these elements of course.

It’s part of the excitement and entertainment that even those trolls who choose not to be nameless find even more acceptable, as they can easily see provocative and spiteful remarks made by others.

But we shouldn’t react to these rude people on social media because it’s so easy to encounter rude people and react to the racing heartbeat and flushed face that they’ve caused you, and when it happens you must understand it isn’t about you.

And it’s the anonymity factor that contributes to online incivility and the actual lack of eye contact that enables them to be particularly offensive to people.

These people are continually negative and critical, so their attitude is bound to affect the way they view others, and people with low self-esteem frequently conceal their own insecurities by flexing their verbal muscles, being rude and insensitive, in an endeavour to make themselves feel strong.

Published by Angela Lloyd

My vision on life is pretty broad, therefore I like to address specific subjects that intrigue me. Therefore I really appreciate the world of politics, though I have no actual views on who I will vote for, that I will not tell you, so please do not ask! I am like an observation station when it comes to writing, and I simply take the news and make it my own. I have no expectations, I simply love to write, and I know this seems really odd, but I don't get paid for it, I really like what I do and since I am never under any pressure, I constantly find that I write much better, rather than being blanketed under masses of paperwork and articles that I am on a deadline to complete. The chances are, that whilst all other journalists are out there, ripping their hair out, attempting to get their articles completed, I'm simply rambling along at my convenience creating my perfect piece. I guess it must look pretty unpleasant to some of you that I work for nothing, perhaps even brutal. Perhaps I have an obvious disregard for authority, I have no idea, but I would sooner be working for myself, than under somebody else, excuse the pun! Small I maybe, but substantial I will become, eventually. My desk is the most chaotic mess, though surprisingly I know where everything is, and I think that I would be quite unsuited for a desk job. My views on matters vary and I am extremely open-minded to the stuff that I write about, but what I write about is the truth and getting it out there, because the people must be acquainted. Though I am quite entertained by what goes on in the world. My spotlight is mostly to do with politics, though I do write other material as well, but it's essentially politics that I am involved in, and I tend to concentrate my attention on that, however, information is essential. If you have information the possibilities are endless because you are only limited by your own imagination...

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