How To Deal With Internet Trolls

Posted by / Thursday 26 July 2018 / Online
internet trolls

With a lot of our daily interactions happening online, it is easy to feel safe and confident on the internet. It’s important that your children feel confident and happy online, but aware of what they can do and how you can help them if things aren’t so positive.



An internet troll is someone who constantly harasses a person on the internet through unwanted comments, page posts, messages, response videos and replies. These responses are usually made to upset, taunt, anger or bully, in other cases, gain attention, blackmail or control.


Psychologists believe that people are less inhibited by what they say online due to the fact that there do not appear to be as many social conventions. This is called the ‘online dis-inhibition effect’.

This leaves trolls to feel they can pretty much say whatever they want to say without real world consequences because of the physical and emotional disconnect of a computer screen. Source: Six Causes of Online Disinhibition .

While not all trolls remain anonymous, it is easy to take the route of anonymity on the internet, which provides an even greater distance between the troll and the person they are abusing online. This then gives them the freedom to act in whichever way they want in order to get a reaction online.




If you or your child are dealing with trolls, this can be tough and difficult. Your child’s online space should be a safe one and they shouldn’t have to feel scared or ashamed every time they log in to one of their accounts. Here are some ways to deal with trolls, should you or your child ever be targeted:

  • Don’t feed the troll. Generally - people who exhibit this type of behaviour online are wanting to gauge a reaction from the victim. If you choose not to react to the hateful comments, it is likely that the cyberbully will become bored and move on.
  • Delete comments. If you find that someone has responded to content that you have posted in an offensive or negative way, make sure to delete the comment as soon as you see it. If it feels necessary, take a screenshot of it as well.
  • Block the user who is sending you harmful stuff. If you ever feel attacked in any way by someone on the internet, block them. If a user is blocked, it is impossible for them to interact with you on your page with that particular account.
  • Report the comments or responses to the app or website. If you report repulsive content on social media, it is likely that the comment, message or account reported will be suspended or even deactivated.
  • Contact the police. ‘Doxing’ is a term which means to search for and publish private or identifying information about a particular individual on the Internet, typically with malicious intent. If this is the case for you, go to the police.
  • Be aware of what you are putting up online. Try not to disclose any personal information about yourself, or things you would not want others to know or use against you.


 While in the midst of being cyberbullied, it might feel as though it is impossible to escape. This is not the case. There are many things happening in order to ensure that social media is a safe and reliable space for you to go to in order to connect with your friends and family:

  • Social media channels:

Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat have made it easier to report abuse or hateful and offensive comments online. Their goal is to have their platform be a safe place for people to go to and share things in a secure way.

  • Authorities:

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced the online hate crime hub to tackle online hate crime. It will ensure better support for victims and help drive up the number of prosecutions.

This hub will be run by the police officers for National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), and will work in order to enable these cases to be looked at and sorted effectively and efficiently.

  • Laws:

While some of the older laws regarding internet safety and protection are still in use, many believe that they need to be updated or new laws need to be put in place. Current laws are the Communications Act 2003 and the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and 1964.

  • What you can do:

Make sure you or your child deletes and reports negative or offensive activity on their page. Always seek advice and don’t go through these things alone - if you are a parent, you can support your child. If you are a child - always approach a parent, carer, teacher or trusted adult.

Find out more


Our Policy and Research

We work tirelessly campaigning and influencing government, fighting for children's rights.

Find out more

Spot the signs of bullying

Read our blog on how to spot the signs of bullying, and how to stop it.

Read our blog

Read our report

New analysis by Action for Children, The Children's Society and the National Children's Bureau.

Find out more