Trolling is when a user anonymously abuses or intimidates others online for fun. They purposely post inflammatory statements, not as a way to bully or harass other people, but to watch the reactions.

Trolling and cyberbullying are sometimes used to mean the same thing, but they're actually a little different. Cyberbullies target someone and repeatedly attack them, while trolls set out to annoy whoever they can. Trolls want to provoke a reaction or response and it’s often not a personal attack because they don’’t really care who they upset.

How can I protect myself from trolls?

You can protect yourself and others against trolling by:

  • Ignoring the troll. Don't respond to nasty, immature or offensive comments—giving trolls the attention they want only gives them more power.
  • Blocking the troll. Take away their power by blocking them and if they pop up under a different name, block them again.
  • Reporting trolls to website administrators and if they appear again under a different name, report them again.
  • Talk about it. If a troll upsets you, please talk about it with trusted friends and family and remember, it's not you, it's them.
  • If trolls are upsetting a friend, tell them to ignore, block and report the activity. Tell their family and other trusted friends, and encourage them to seek support.

In some cases, trolling might also be considered to be cyberbullying (for example, if it’s serious material that is deliberate and repeated). Social media services should remove cyberbullying material reported to them that relates to a person under 18 years:

  • Report the cyberbullying material to the social media service it happened on. Most social media services will have a Help or Reporting section on their site. Our social media safety centres page also provides information about how to report material on various services.
  • If the reported cyberbullying content has not been taken down within 48 hours, you can make a complaint by reporting it to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.

Was this page helpful?

Sign up for newsletter

Stay up to date with online issues, new resources and the latest research

Please specify your interests: