Trolling - Trolling Overview - Knowledge Centre

Trolling Overview

What’s an internet troll?

Internet trolls usually aim to disrupt normal online activities by a persistent series of insulting or aggressive posts and messages. These inflammatory comments usually have no substance but often include cruel and destructive attacks on someone's physical appearance or personality, with the aim of making the target believe them.

Trolls rely on anonymity and deception and sometimes use grossly embarrassing and altered photos to humiliate their target. They get an emotional payoff from those who respond to their posts or messages.

Get more information about the definition of trolling.

See our advice for teenagers and advice for parents to help tackle trolling.

Dealing with an internet troll 

Fortunately cases of this type of internet abuse are quite rare but if you’re affected by an internet troll here are some tips on how to deal with it:

  • Don’t try to deal with an internet troll on your own. Tell your friends and family what’s going on and always report abuse or intimidation to the social network, site owner, or if it’s really serious, the police. 
  • Ignore the temptation to reply or retaliate as it is only likely to make things worse.
  • Consider blocking users that send abusive messages, or adapt your social networking settings to prevent the troll from accessing your profile.
  • Keep a record of any aggressive or intimidating messages, posts, pictures or videos you receive or see. Save or print them, making sure you keep a record of any details you have about the sender.
  • Never forward on videos or messages attacking someone else.

Reporting trolling abuse


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RT @armstrongjp: I was just on @BBCYork with @spanswicktweets on #trolling - there are some helpful tips and resources here…
Parents risking children's privacy by sharing hundreds of pictures online via @MirrorTech