We all love social media and the opportunities it gives us, but unfortunately as we all know there as some very nasty people on these sites who constantly target innocent people with vile comments.
These people are known as trolls, and they pick on anyone and everyone for no apparent reason.
You only have to go on the Insatgram pages of some of the most successful singers in the world to see what these trolls are writing on a daily basis.
But it is not just celebrities who are targeted. Anybody can fall victim to these heinous people who think it’s OK to post hate messages.
One of these victims is Alex Nagel who has a large following on social media but has recently been a target of online trolls, the young digital marketer who has starred in Britain’s Got Talent singers’ Bars and Melody’s video for their anti-bullying single ‘Hopeful‘, has now spoken exclusively to Celeb Mix about how sites such as Twitter can stamp out these hateful trolls, and how victims can get help.
You have recently been trolled on twitter, how do you think the site can help to stamp this stuff out?
Social media is an amazing way to stamp this sort of stuff out. It allows people to realise they aren’t the only ones maybe being trolled on social media or targeted. It allows victims to come together, communicate through tweets/DMs, etc. and talk their problems out. People are able to give each other advice and make each other feel better. It’s a great platform!
Do you feel the police sometimes don’t take these sorts of crimes seriously enough?
I think there should definitely be more severe punishments for trolls and online cyber bullies. I feel like nowadays your account gets suspended and then you can just make another one and continue. There should be a system where you can’t ever join again, once you have harassed and targeted someone why should you be given the right to return? Use it the right way or don’t use it at all.
So do you think trolls found guilty of targeting innocent people should receive life-time social media plans over their bullying?
It’s a hard one that is. I think if someone is trolling at a young age, we all make mistakes in life. As we grow up we mature and realise some of the things we did in the past wasn’t the best. I think maybe there should be a couple of years ban if you are caught constantly trolling and sending negative tweets. Then if it happens again, you are banned for life because you clearly haven’t learnt your lesson.
How do you think we can stamp out online bullying?
I think one way as previously mentioned is by having more serious consequences for people who do decide to cyber bully people. That will show people it’s not on and it will be seriously dealt with. I also think for people to come together and show they’re not going to give into silly cyber-bullies who clearly wants to upset them, show they’re strong and eventually the bully will get bored. It’s all about people coming together and showing they’re stronger than one individual. Ultimately though and sadly I don’t think you will ever be able to fully stamp it out. It’s better to educate people how to deal with it so they’re confident and fine with dealing with it rather than thinking about how to stamp it out because there will always be someone or a group who go against the rules and send hate. The biggest of celebrities get it non stop.
What advice would you give to others who are suffering?
I would say the main thing is don’t take anything to heart of what’s being said. You were just the unlucky one that they chose to target, it could have been anyone. Show you’re strong and their words don’t mean a thing and things will feel a million times better. Also one main piece of advice I would give is you must speak to someone. Suffering alone will not help you. Speak to someone who you know will help you stop this in the right way. Nothing will change unless you put in the effort to make a change.
If you could say anything to the trolls what would you say?
I would just ask them what’s actually going on in their mind that they think it’s okay to upset someone and harass someone? I feel sorry for you if you think that’s fine and maybe you need to speak to someone about these issues you have. It’s not right and you need to know that.
Do you think the dangers of cyber bullying should be taught in schools?
It definitely should! Students should know from a young age what to expect from being on social media. As much as social media can be an amazing tool and fabulous thing, there is also many nasty people on there. Knowing the basics eg block. delete. etc. just makes their lives so much easier if they ever encounter it. Students should be educated on how to deal with things like this. It’s all important life skills! Less of the algebra more of the real life situations I would say.
Do you think sites such as Twitter should have a higher age limit for signing up?
That’s a really hard one. For example Twitter is such an amazing platform for young people to communicate, voice their opinions , get involved in a variety of things and keep up to date with their favourite artists, bands. TV shows etc. However, it becomes an issue when young people are very vulnerable so when someone is trolling them it instantly gets to them. There’s been many stories of young people committing suicide because of internet trolls, it’s just devastating to read and hear. That person had a whole life ahead of them. So that’s a hard one. I would say there’s so many good things with social media for younger people but maybe they should be checked up on now and then to see that they’re okay, they are using it properly and nothing is negatively affecting them. Because once people are being targeted and harassed online they find it hard to talk to someone about it. That’s the problem how are you meant to know if your child/sister/brother/friend is going through the worst time on social media. It’s hard!
How do you think parents can help stop their child being a victim or the actual troll?
I think parents should constantly remind their children that there are nasty people on social media motivated at upsetting people. Letting them know that you understand that will make them realise they aren’t alone if they do become a victim of this. Parents can stop their children from trolling and targeting people by checking that they’re using the site the right way as well as educating them about why you shouldn’t troll online and what it can do to people. Educating is very important, the most important in my opinion.
What do you think drives people to write horrible messages on social media?
I think there are a variety of factors that drives people to write horrible messages on social media. Some could be as simple as someone doesn’t agree with your opinion so they voice their disagreement by being nasty and horrible. I once had someone really kick off at me because I didn’t like a song. All I did was block them, but not everyone knows to do that. Some people may take every negative comment to heart which is not what you should do. People also write horrible messages because they have been through it so they feel like they need to get revenge or let others experience how they feel. I don’t think this is the right way to think, but some people just can’t help but think that way. I think those people just need to be spoken to, because they may want to open up and talk to someone about their experiences rather than be nasty. There are many reasons why people may troll however I never think there is a right reason. There is always a way round it without being nasty or hurting someone else in my opinion.
You can follow Alex Nagel on Twitter @__AlexN_.
If you are or ever become a victim of trolling or any other kind of bullying please do not suffer in silence! Speak to somebody and visit standuptobullying.co.uk to get help with dealing with bullying.
And if you are one of the people trolling somebody please stop and consider your actions. Why are you trying to hurt somebody? Please go and speak to someone about your thoughts and actions and think before you type.
Have you ever been a victim of trolling? Share your story with us over on Twitter @CelebMix.