This week, a guest post by Daniel LaMagna, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children summer intern.
This past summer I interned at the National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children. While researching for an online communication
mini-documentary the other interns and I were working on (Dr. Palfrey
and Miriam Simun kindly contributed!), I came across Matthias Schwartz’
fascinating New York Times Magazine article “Malwebolence- The World of Web Trolling.”
While this phenomenon is not directly related to online child safety,
it raises some interesting issues with regard to ethical questions of
Anyway, it’s obvious that these particular web dwellers (on
image/message boards) are a pretty nasty bunch. They seem to really get
their “lulz” (naughty troll “kicks”) out of making other people
miserable. As mentioned in the article, they don’t simply tease or
taunt or “verbally” abuse their “targets,” but also threaten and harass
them (both online and sometimes offline). If they want to be really
rotten, they’ll even steal someone’s identity (social security number
and all) and post it on an online public space for the world to see.
This, of course, is criminal activity, but they’ve found ways to use
the anonymity of the internet to avoid getting caught. Some espouse
philosophical theories/ideals to justify their actions, but I think
they’re just saying this to either:
1. Lie and confuse others just for the sake of it (for the lulz)
2. Rationalize their behavior
3. Sound complicated and “deep” (and way smarter than the rest of us)...